President Trump’s commitment to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border continues to polarize both Congress and bilateral ties with our southern neighbor. While Democrats argue walls don’t work and even many Republicans question the $21.6 billion price tag, both concerns are overwrought. While critics say there is no utility in a border wall, countries around the globe have come to rely on them.
Consider the latest: On Jan. 7, Turkey announced it had completed half of a more than 100-mile wall along its border with Iran in terrain far more difficult than the Rio Grande Valley.
Of course, the United States may not want to be like Turkey or Iran, both anti-American dictatorships with some of the world’s worst human rights records. But border walls exist in Africa, Asia, and even Europe and they are not simply the tool of dictatorships. Democracies, too, embrace walls.
Consider all the countries which have turned to walls to increase security:
India and Pakistan: The two nuclear powers, with 1.5 billion people between them, have fought four wars since 1947, and continue to face each other down in Kashmir, a territory both countries dispute. In order to prevent Pakistani terrorists from striking inside India, the Indian government built a series of fences and walls to keep Pakistani terrorists at bay. Had it not, it is quite possible that the two countries might be at war right now.
Morocco and Algeria: Morocco built a 1,700-mile system of berms, fences, and ditches to stop the Polisario Front, an Algerian-sponsored terrorist group, from infiltrating the Western Sahara. It took seven years to build, but the result was so effective that Algeria agreed to a cease-fire, ending the Western Sahara war that had raged since 1975.
Israel and the West Bank: The Israeli border wall — well, actually more of a fence in most places — remains hugely controversial because many journalists and United Nations officials condemn anything Israel does, no matter how much precedent exists outside Israel. But, Israel’s fence reduced terror attacks by more than 90 percent, something decades of diplomacy failed to do. Read more at AEI. This article was originally published in the Washington Examiner January 23.