Foreign Affairs had an interesting article that explored a new way to deal with national sovereignty and refugees. After reading the piece which had a heavy focus on Jordan with a side scoop of Turkey and Lebanon as the places to enact the new deal I was left with the thought that it was falling short.
The essential factor of the proposal is that host countries,those countries who have refugees flooding in, could establish enterprise zones with two key elements. The first example establishes an economic zone that has a mix of host nation nationals and refugees be apportioned to jobs within the zone. This option allows the host country to defend its sovereignty and provide its own people work and housing options. It offers the refugee class educational,housing and employment that help foster sustainable self sufficiency whether they stay in the zone,move on or ideally move back to a stabilized country that they initially fled from.
The second example sets up an economic zone that houses businesses from the troubled nation. Ideally these businesses are highly viable entities that need the security of being in a non-war torn environment. The refugees provide the companies an external indigenous workforce. In this example when conditions improve in the crisis country the companies can move their business and people back “home”.
I find this a fascinating concept and interestingly enough it is not unprecedented. As per the article previous utilizations have centered on agricultural projects exemplified by the use of Guatemalans in the Yucatan. Some would look at that example and chide that its far from a success story. I am not one of those people.
Again my primary disappointment with this plan as it were is that it accepts being geographically limited. I get that the notion of a zonal plan assumes a degree of geographical restraint,but I don’t think it needs to.
Why can’t a European nation,Canada,Australia or the United States adopt this plan? I readily concede that the nations I’ve mentioned are as a rule expected to financially back the plans on the more local basis. The thing is though a million plus refugees are heading to Europe and Canada and neither place can honestly absorb them. “Host” nations should want to alleviate human suffering but not at the cost of perpetuating it and/or diminishing their sovereignty. Crisis countries are assured to stay in crisis whence their nationals leave and set up a life that assures they never return and in turn play a role in improving the crisis country.
Crisis states are a global reality and the best role for others to play is not welcoming the folks that flee but to promote stability.