The Clinton administration has suggested that Germany deserves
a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. The resurgence of
Nazism in Germany and current German intolerance toward refugees
suggest that such an honor and recognition may be premature.
Germany's decision to change its progressive immigration law is
an affront. The Germans shut their borders to the needy and the
persecuted and reduced benefits to refugees already in Germany.
Instead of attacking racism and xenophobia, the Kohl administration
used the neo-Nazi attacks against the "new immigrants" from Eastern
Europe and the "old immigrants" from Turkey as a pretext and
imposed stiff eligibility requirements on foreigners seeking asylum
in Germany. They claimed that Germany's posh benefits and loose
eligibility requirements attracted economic refugees from the Third
But Germany's problems with immigrants are not caused solely by
Germany's economic benefits and liberal immigration policies. The
recent German difficulties have been caused by misguided and
shortsighted economic and political policies.
Germany has always had foreign workers and immigrants. In the
1960s, during the German economic "miracle," millions of Italian,
Turkish, Spanish, Yugoslav and Greek guest workers, including this
writer, toiled in German sweatshops and mines. American support
under the Marshall Plan and foreign workers helped rebuild Germany
into an anti-communist bulwark. In a climate of plentiful jobs and
high wages, racism and xenophobia were almost unknown. Why then do
we see this resurgence of racism and hatred?
Some political analysts attributed Germany's convulsions and
the new racism to the resentment of foreigners by East Germans and
to the liberality of the German welfare system. They miss the
point. German racism and xenophobia are the results of an
aggressive, two-pronged, economic policy initiated by the German
government in 1989.
The leading prong of that strategy was a crusade by the German
government to wipe out the socialist legacy of East Germany. It
started by renaming Karl Marx Stadt - Chemnitz. Somehow, the
Germans were embarrassed to have one of their cities named after a
Second, the German government ignited a firestorm in the East
when it dismissed all professors in East German universities,
without regard for tenure or accomplishment, and replaced them with
politically correct, right-wing West Germans.
Third, the Kohl government caused immense hardship and
resentment when it re-established pre-World War II property rights
in East Germany, evicted the East German tenants and returned land
and properties to their West German "legal" owners. …