“The Great Wall of China, built 2,000 years ago, is 13,000 miles long, folks. … And they didn’t have … tractors, they didn’t have cranes, they didn’t have excavation equipment.” – Donald J. Trump
When the question arises, as it often does, “Was the Great Wall of China a success or failure?” one may answer one way or another, but undoubtedly any response to such an inquiry would have to contain something along the lines of “it’s complicated.” You’d have to compare Qin walls with Ming walls, you’d have to weigh the cost, in material dollars and human life, against the effectiveness of the Wall(s) in meeting its objectives, you’d have to consider variables such as strength of armies defending the wall at any given time, you’d have to take into account that when invaders evaded the wall they were still slowed on their path to potential conquest, and so on and so forth. It’s complicated, really complicated. Of course, it was all for naught when Ming general Wu Sangui just opened the gates for the invading Manchus, but alas, that’s not what this post is about.
See I have mixed feelings about the Trump wall, but, like many other things, regressive liberals have pushed the conversation to a point where I have to defend it. It’s not so much that there shouldn’t be a debate about the wall, it’s just that arguments against it have been simplified into: “wall, bad, no wall, good.”
Shouldn’t the conversation really surround the question “is the wall a good idea?” That’s the question I ask myself. It’s a legitimate question. Will the wall really stifle the cartels? Will the wall stop drugs from coming into the country? Will the wall have a national security application in the distant future (possible migrant crises?), Can the wall be built cost/time efficiently? If we believe the answers to those questions are “mostly yes,” then the wall is worth a try. After all, we’ve failed to secure our border for the three or four decades that border security has been a national issue.
And yet, if you support the wall today you are a hateful bigot according to leftists. This is despite the fact that ten years ago a wall was not seen as such a radical idea, despite that there is almost 700 miles of fence and wall along our southern border already, and despite the fact that Hillary Clinton once supported a border barrier and stated that she is “adamantly against illegal immigrants.”
Leftist rhetoric pertaining to the wall is derived from one thing: leftism… obviously, it has nothing to do with a rational debate about the wall. Few wall opponents stop to consider what they are arguing against. Though, many on the right don’t ask the critical questions about it that they should be asking either before shouting, “BUILD IT!”
In any case, you certainly don’t see much outrage concerning border barriers around the world. The verdict on most of the border walls around the world is still out; it’s just too complicated to discern success or failure. Though, no doubt some have been more successful than others. What is most disconcerting to me, is that many of these walls have taken way longer to complete than initially estimated, have run into numerous obstacles along the way, and cost an outrageous sum of money to build. Then again, they seem to have some success in keeping people out.
Let’s go through some of them, just to highlight the fact that they exist, and that you don’t hear much condemnation of them. If I make any mistakes on these walls, or if someone knows more about any one of them, please chime in:
You of course have the Israeli West Bank barrier. There are actually lots of cries about this wall [fence]. Though, the wall is in all likelihood a significant part of the reason that Palestinian suicide bombings dropped after it was erected.
What about the barrier between the Gaza Strip and Egypt? Yup, Egypt built a steel barrier on its border to prevent Palestinian smuggling. That said, this barrier has not proved fully effective as tunnels ran rampant under the barrier before Egypt flooded them. Some known tunnels still remain and others could exist.
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8405020.stm and http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3923797,00.html)
Then there is the barrier between India and Bangladesh, 2,116 miles of fence built by India to keep narcotics from being smuggled in. This barrier has been pretty effective it seems, though it has caused problems for people living in the border area.
(http://indianexpress.com/…/indo-bangla-border-fencing-work…/ and http://www.aljazeera.com/…/soaring-divisions-india-banglade…)
Or how about Europe, where numerous border fences keep out migrants from Northern Africa and the Middle East? Oh I KNOW that no one is going to call the EU racist right? Not sure these walls have worked so well though…as we can see.
(http://www.express.co.uk/…/Europe-border-fences-migrant-cri… and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/europe-border-walls-trump_u…)
Or how about the sand and rock wall Morocco built on its border with Western Sahara to keep out the Sahrawi Army? This wall is one of the most successful ever. Perhaps that’s because it’s basically an electrified minefield.
(https://witness.theguardian.com/…/5236d119e4b0c9a064…/496270 and http://theweek.com/…/worlds-longest-minefield-isnt-where-th…)
The 310 mile barbed wire border fence built by Botswana to keep Zimbabweans from escaping to Botswana (or officially to protect their cattle from diseased Zimbabwean cattle) is an electrified fence though the electrical function has never been turned on. Notably, this fence hasn’t done so well…but possibly only because, again, the electrical function has never been turned on.
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8343505.stm and http://www.ipsnews.net/…/economy-zimbabwe-no-barriers-too-…/)
And there are plenty more border barriers around the world.
My goal here is not necessarily to advocate for the wall. What I’m trying to say is that its impossible to know how successful a wall on the US-Mexico border would be, and that it’s a way more complicated issue than it’s made out to be by those on the left crying “hate” and “racism.” Clearly many countries around the world felt it necessary to construct border barriers and some have proved to be somewhat effective. So, the word “wall” in itself should not be triggering.