Contemporary global mass migration

The new geopolitical dimension of security politics

Heinz Brill


The global mass migration has a number: according to an estimation of the United Nations, 232 millions of people were migrants in 2013. Migrants are people living in a country where they were not born. According to information issued by UNHCR, about 60 millions of people are fleeing from poverty, hunger, war and violence, political persecution, and lack of social prospects at the present time. These factors cause and intensify each other and are – apart from the “central factor affluent incline north-south” – the most important causes for flight. In this combination, experts talk about push and pull factors as the most relevant migration motives. In order to master this global crisis, which tends to be increasing, US-President Barack Obama demands a so-called “refugee-summit” for September 2016, which is to take place in the course of the UN Plenary Assembly. Many states show sympathy for the Mediterranean Union, although they have not rated the chances of success of this Union as being very high. Nevertheless, France has made several gains with its sensational attempt: The EU, which had focussed its attention above all on its neighbours in the east and south in times of the Balkans Crisis and the extension to the east, now is increasingly riveting towards the south on the dangerous and crisis-ridden region on the European counter coast of the Mediterranean Sea. After years of stagnancy, a new kind of Barcelona-Process and a revival of the “Mediterranean Union” are supposed to be increasingly included in operative politics. Why geopolitics as decision support for operative politics has been disregarded in the course of this predictable crisis situation is incomprehensible. The foresight of interests, conflicts and trends in world policy is considered to be one of the most important tasks of geopolitics, because prudent governing means anticipation. In order to be able to anticipate, knowledge about conflict causes is useful, which - according to official reading – “break out as a surprise time and again”, which, however, are relatively early foreseeable in their phases of development. Expertise (decision support) for operative politics given by so-called “think tanks”, whose geopolitical contingent in the German-speaking area is still small, are far too often not taken note of by the politically responsible people, or are simply not commissioned. For this reason, official politics is afflicted with daily business “symptoms”, like in the present refugee policy, instead of taking strategic and anticipatory measures in good time. Nevertheless, the waver of geopolitical thought and action does not protect from its consequences. The present forecasts on the number of migrants and their influence on the domestic stability in the countries of destination have to be noticed and accepted as a strategic challenge by the security-political elites and planning staffs, because the armed forces will have to fulfil missions for mastering and controlling the increasingly trans-continental mass migrations, for which they have not been trained so far, although the security-political aspects of “migration” have become a topic of the 21st century.