Flashback to 2014: Ian Bremmer's Prescient Remarks on Syrian Refugee Crisis


In this video from 2014, Eurasia Group CEO Ian Bremmer scolds the United States for its hesitancy in accepting Syrian refugees.

Syria's refugee crisis became a major international issue in 2015, as the flight of hundreds of thousands to Europe forced the continent's leaders to scramble to find a solution. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel called the need to settle Syria's refugees a "humanitarian imperative" and agreed to let in as many as 800,000. In the United States, however, President Barack Obama's more modest plan to take in 10,000 Syrians has elicited enormous domestic criticism, and the issue has unexpectedly become central to the country's 2016 presidential campaign.

One person who foresaw the emergence of immigration as a hot-button issue is Ian Bremmer. Last year, at an event in which he offered his predictions for Asia for 2015, the Eurasia Group CEO scolded the United States for its hesitancy in accepting Syrian refugees and compared the country unfavorably to Sweden. "It kind of kills me that the Swedes have taken the global lead in allowing in Syrian immigrants," he said. "It kind of kills me." He continued:

We have a statue of liberty. Our country has been built by the labor of immigrants. Half of Syria has been displaced. Eleven million people. Why are we not doing vastly more than the Swedes into bringing these refugees into America and providing them with opportunities and integrating them into our society? Why are then we not using this pulpit to get other countries to be the same?

Bremmer will join Asia Society president and CEO Josette Sheeran and Morgan Stanley Investment Management head of Emerging Markets and Global Macro Ruchir Sharma at Asia Society in New York on Tuesday, December 15 to offer their predictions for Asia in 2016. The conversation will be moderated by Asia Society Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski.

Watch the above video to hear Bremmer's comment on Syrian refugees.

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Matt Schiavenza is the Senior Content Manager at Asia Society. Previously, he worked as an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he helped launch and then oversee the China Channel.