CNN's Douthat: Immigration 'Disaster' in Germany, But U.S. Should Accept More

Appearing as a guest on Monday's CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, New York Times columnist and CNN political commentator Ross Douthat admitted that there can be such a thing as too much immigration as he warned of a "slow-motion disaster" in Germany because of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow a million immigrants into the country.

But when asked by host Costello to clarify the differences between Germany and America on the immigration issue, he still came down on the side of allowing more refugees from the Middle East into the U.S.

During a segment focusing on whether GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump should condemn white nationalists who are endorsing him, host Costello brought up Douthat's recent article from the New York Times. Costello:

Ross, I want to touch on Germany for just a second because you wrote an interesting op-ed in the New York Times titled "Germany on the Brink." You write of Germany's open door policy, quote, "It threatens not just a spike in terrorism but a rebirth of 1930s-style political violence." You go on to say that Angela Merkel must go. Please explain.

Douthat saw a "potentially dangerous" future for Germany as he began:

Sure. I think that what's happened in Germany over the last year and a half is potentially disastrous for the long-term future of the country. And I think that it's important to note that Germany is in a very different position than the United States regarding refugees and migrants and so on. Whatever you think about the wisdom of taking Syrian refugees into the U.S., the numbers here that we're talking about, tens of thousands, are very small and unlikely to have any effect for good or ill in the country.

In Germany, Germany has taken in more than a million migrants over the last year or so. A large percentage of them are young, late-teenage and early twenty-something men, so you have a highly skewed demographic ratio.

The New York Times columnist then warned:

And it's entirely possible that if this continues, you'll have a deep transformation of Germany's entire society over the next 10 or 15 or 20 years. Basically, you have a situation where you could imagine half of the German population under the age of 40 being immigrants, children of immigrants and so on within 20 or 30 years. And I think that you can already see what's happening in Europe, this is unlikely to be politically stable.

Douthat then worried about the possibility of backlash by fascists in Europe:

It's empowering Europe's version of, you know, I mean, you talk about the white nationalists making robocalls for Donald Trump, Europe actually has political parties with groups in fascism that are gaining in the polls in countries like Denmark and Sweden and France and so on. And this is only likely to continue if this level of immigration continues. It's very unlikely that Europe can sustain this kind of influx.

After right-leaning guest Ben Ferguson offered his criticism of Chancellor Merkel, Costello invited Douthat to reassure her that it would still be fine for the U.S. to accept refugees from Syria. Costello:

Well, and I'd like you to reiterate once again, Ross, that the United States never intended to allow a million immigrants or migrants come into the United States.

The New York Times columnist came down on the side of more immigration in the U.S. while warning of a "slow-motion disaster" in Germany:

No, and the U.S. is just in a very, I mean, we're in a completely different geographic position. We don't, you know, I mean, what Germany is facing, and it's obviously an incredibly difficult challenge. You have people crossing the Mediterranean in boats, coming in through Greece and Italy and so on who are trying to get to Germany.

There are, you know, land passages that take them there. And the ability to screen refugees at that scale, it's just much more difficult to do that than it would be for the U.S. So I think it's totally reasonable to say the U.S. should take a few more Syrian refugees while also looking at Germany and saying what's happening over there is a slow-motion disaster basically.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, January 11, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

10:43 a.m. ET


CAROL COSTELLO: Ross, I want to touch on Germany for just a second because you wrote an interesting op-ed in the New York Times titled "Germany on the Brink." You write of Germany's open door policy, quote, "It threatens not just a spike in terrorism but a rebirth of 1930s-style political violence." You go on to say that Angela Merkel must go. Please explain.

ROSS DOUTHAT, NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. I think that what's happened in Germany over the last year and a half is potentially disastrous for the long-term future of the country. And I think that it's important to note that Germany is in a very different position than the United States regarding refugees and migrants and so on. Whatever you think about the wisdom of taking Syrian refugees into the U.S., the numbers here that we're talking about, tens of thousands, are very small and unlikely to have any effect for good or ill in the country.

In Germany, Germany has taken in more than a million migrants over the last year or so. A large percentage of them are young, late-teenage and early twenty-something men, so you have a highly skewed demographic ratio.

And it's entirely possible that if this continues, you'll have a deep transformation of Germany's entire society over the next 10 or 15 or 20 years. Basically, you have a situation where you could imagine half of the German population under the age of 40 being immigrants, children of immigrants and so on within 20 or 30 years. And I think that you can already see what's happening in Europe, this is unlikely to be politically stable.

It's empowering Europe's version of, you know, I mean, you talk about the white nationalists making robocalls for Donald Trump, Europe actually has political parties with groups in fascism that are gaining in the polls in countries like Denmark and Sweden and France and so on. And this is only likely to continue if this level of immigration continues. It's very unlikely that Europe can sustain this kind of influx.

COSTELLO: Ben?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Angela Merkel, what she did is put the national security of her country at risk for personal political gain. She thought it was going to be a good political move to say, "We're a welcoming country, come on in, and they were not checking who was coming in," and if you want to help people, the last people on the list should be men ages 18, 19, 20, 21. They should have been helping seniors and children, specifically women. They didn't do a good job of policing this.

And now you see the people in Germany who are genuinely terrified by what happened on New Year's and other attacks that have happened, and I think this only plays into the political conversation we're having in this country now when Donald Trump says we don't know who these people are we're letting in, you can't really background check them, we don't really know what their motives are. Germany is a year ahead of us right now, and it's pretty obvious that they got duped, and a lot of people lied to get into that country, and they were wrong.

COSTELLO: Well, and I'd like you to reiterate once again, Ross, that the United States never intended to allow a million immigrants or migrants come into the United States.

DOUTHAT: No, and the U.S. is just in a very, I mean, we're in a completely different geographic position. We don't, you know, I mean, what Germany is facing, and it's obviously an incredibly difficult challenge. You have people crossing the Mediterranean in boats, coming in through Greece and Italy and so on who are trying to get to Germany.

There are, you know, land passages that take them there. And the ability to screen refugees at that scale, it's just much more difficult to do that than it would be for the U.S. So I think it's totally reasonable to say the U.S. should take a few more Syrian refugees while also looking at Germany and saying what's happening over there is a slow-motion disaster basically.

2016 Presidential Crime Foreign Policy Europe Middle East Syria Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism Religion Islam CNN CNN Newsroom New York Times Carol Costello Donald Trump Angela Merkel


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