Subscribe to EIR Online


In Washington, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier Quotes FDR, Calls for Open Borders, Mideast Marshall Plan

March 1, 2016 (EIRNS)—German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking today at George Washington University, quoted Franklin Roosevelt and called for open borders. “The worst thing we could do is seal ourselves off,” Steinmeier said, referring to the refugee crisis in Europe as well as to the immigration debate here in the U.S.

He began by addressing the refugee crisis in Europe. He quoted from Roosevelt’s famous Inaugural Address that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, but then referred to what followed where Roosevelt said that fear “paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

“We need to engage and address the roots of this problem,” Steinmeier said.

“The proponents of fear do the opposite. But we can’t flee from the problem. The world is too interconnected,” he said. “And building walls is a bad idea, no matter who pays for them,”

he said, with a clear dig at Donald Trump.

He underlined the importance of Russia. “Part of this leadership will be our dialogue with Russia,” Steinmeier said.

“We can’t be without Russia. We need to engage Russia. We need to remember the lessons of our fathers and grandfathers [who were posted to the borders of the Soviet Union during the Cold War].” ‘

Regarding the Syrian ceasefire, Steinmeier said,

“Every hour that the ceasefire holds is important for the world as well as for the people who are directly affected by it. We must give protection to the refugees fleeing this war. It is not only a humanitarian duty, but it is also written into the EU statutes and the Geneva treaties. The U.S. has always been known as a country that has given refuge to those fleeing war and oppression. We will succeed in this if we attack the root causes of this migration,”

The first question came from EIR’s representative, who asked him if he didn’t agree that we needed a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East, which could build initially upon the important initiative by President Xi Jinping to extend the Belt and Road Initiative to the Middle East, and thereby eliminate the root problem of lack of development in the region.

Steinmeier gave a rather lengthy, but somewhat cautious, reply to the question. He noted that the conditions in devastated Europe after World War II were much different than in the Middle East today. In Europe there was a qualified labor force which could immediately be put to work. In Europe there was already an industrial development that could be built upon. This was not the case generally in the Middle East. While there was some capacity in Iraq of that nature, it was not the case elsewhere. And even in Iraq, much of its territory was still under ISIS control. Many people had already left in the migration to Europe. While economic assistance was needed, particularly food and lodging, there was still a military situation in much of the region.

“We must first create a situation in which people can be brought back to their countries. We must use all our forces to try to put these countries back together.”

Back to top