No quick fix: Why the Mediterranean migrant crisis may not be curbed anytime soon

One might argue there is only one sure response to a humanitarian crisis that has now claimed nearly 1,750 lives since January: Do something. However, the Mediterranean Sea’s migrant crisis between North Africa and Europe has proved a harder case to crack, with only one sure answer appearing: There is no quick fix.

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A Question of Compromise… Or War

It’s not every day that U.S. senators pressure the leaders of a hostile power to abandon American-led negotiations aimed at removing a potential nuclear threat to the United States.

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But, so it goes. Indeed, 47 Republican senators signed a letter last week warning the Iranian government that any deal it reaches with President Barack Obama may be null and void once he leaves office in less than two years.

“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” the letter states. “We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.”

Bingo! That is exactly what’s going on—negotiations. However, is that what the 47 Republican signatories really want?

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Why America responded to Ebola with more fear than fact

It starts with familiar cold-like symptoms: mild cough, runny nose and fever. However, these symptoms can develop into more alarming conditions: red sores, oral white spots or diarrhea. It is extremely contagious; on average, 90 percent of those exposed will become infected. Similar descriptions have circulated since the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa. However, this is not Ebola. These are potential symptoms of measles.

There’s no arguing that Ebola is a very dangerous disease. However, University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical History Professor Gregg Mitman says there are many other illnesses that prove a bigger risk for Americans.

“In terms of the biology, measles is a much more contagious disease,” Mitman said. “So if you’re talking about risk perception based on a rational calculus, then people should be much more concerned about measles than Ebola.”

So, why is Ebola grabbing headlines while more conceivable diseases are not? Mitman says the answer lies not just in the virus’s graphic symptoms, but in the stereotypes, history and politics surrounding disease in Africa.

Photo by  @mjb and reused here with Creative Commons license.
Photo by @mjb and reused here with Creative Commons license.

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