Tensions are boiling over in Hungary as refugees clash with police today. Austria’s generosity could reward its far right parties. As contours of the crisis begin to unfold in their larger implications, Clemens Wergin writes that Germany needs to face a reckoning.
It was not for a lack of alternatives. In 2013 one of Germany’s most seasoned diplomats, Wolfgang Ischinger, and others warned that Syria risked becoming another Balkan crisis, and advocated a no-fly zone inside Syria and humanitarian corridors. Mr. Ischinger, hardly a hawk, even called for limited military intervention to force a diplomatic solution, as was done in Bosnia. Needless to say, the German government disagreed, opting instead for a diplomatic approach, without the military teeth.The spread of the Islamic State and the beheading of American citizens last summer set off a fierce debate in the United States about the limits and the costs of President Obama’s policy of disengagement. Unfortunately, the refugee crisis has not caused a similar reckoning in Germany so far.