The milk of human kindness toward refugees has soured. Donald Trump has declared that the United States, which was once the preferred destination of people fleeing from religious persecution, will shut its doors to refugees from the civil war in Syria and does not want anyone from specified, largely Muslim, countries.

One of the countries named in Trump's list was Iraq, although this was a country into whose internal affairs the U.S. had launched an armed invasion and in which U.S. special forces are assisting the Iraqi in their efforts to retake the oil city of Mosul. Another was Afghanistan, which has suffered over a decade of civil war and where American forces have intervened. The life of anyone who helped U.S. forces in that country is in danger.

The European Union last year received over a million refugees largely from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia, all countries suffering from civil conflict or appalling misgovernment. They came either via Turkey to Greece initially or across the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya. Many were fleeced by people smugglers who arranged their journeys in return for extortionate prices in leaky old boats, often without life jackets. Thousands have drowned before they could be rescued by coast guards or vessels organized by NGOs.