Effective territorial walls

Gideon Rachman — an economic journalist for whom I have a great respect — is writing in the Financial Times that “Population pressures in Africa and the Middle East will drive immigration far into the future. ” This is very much the view of historians.  And they’re absolutely right.  Some migrations in the past have been unstoppable.  But those that weren’t successful and were not recorded, historians never hear about.

I’ve been collecting cuttings on migration written or said by people with similar views to Rachman for some years.  I’ve come to the view that migrations are eminently stoppable.  What’s interesting about the African migrants in the past two or three years is that almost all of them come from countries in which there is active warfare — or, sometimes, forced conscription of young men.  Only a small percentage of migrants come from peaceful countries even though their standard of living may be quite as low.  Cultural attachment is very strong.

Walls and razor-wire fences effectively keep out the bulk of any masses.  A few may get through if there are not enough guards or inadequate technology.  The Chinese and the Romans built walls that were practicable for hundreds of years at a time, and the Israel wall around the West Bank has been effective against terrorists for the past 20 years. The Israel-Gaza and Egypt-Gaza walls are also effective.

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