hill94_Marcus Yam_Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Trump’s Immigration Trap

The Trump administration's harsh crackdown on migrants illegally crossing the US-Mexico border has drawn rebukes from across the political spectrum. And yet, if Americans were forced to pick between Trump's cruelty and something that looks like uncontrolled immigration, they would side with Trump in the end.

DENVER – Donald Trump’s presidency reminds me of nothing so much as the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. At the height of the violence, a Serb friend said to me that, “I don’t like [Slobodan] Milošević. I don’t like his methods, his cruelty, his crudeness, and his sadism. But at least someone is doing something.”

That last clause captured the essence of the entire conflict. My friend was willing to look past all of Milošević’s abuses and brutality if it meant that Serbia wouldn’t be a victim anymore. According to this nationalist narrative, Serbia had been forced to accept that it was just one republic among six, even though Serbs, who were spread out across Yugoslavia, comprised almost half of the country’s total population.

Of course, the idea of Serbia as a victim ran counter to the views of the other republics. To them, Yugoslavia, far from being a conspiracy to hold down Serbia, was actually a conspiracy to enshrine Serbia’s position as primus inter pares. After all, Serbia controlled the army, the secret police, and the ruling party.

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