ROME—A few months after the Arab Spring kicked off in a market square in Tunisia in late 2010, the blue wooden boats started dotting the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea. They were headed for the island of Lampedusa, a tourist enclave that has since become synonymous with Europe‘s disastrous approach to migration. More than 20,000 refugees crossed the sea in just two months, and then things got worse. As the Arab Spring burned its way across North Africa, the boats started coming from different directions: Libya, Egypt and then Syria. By the end of 2011, nearly 130,000 people had made it to Italy. The years that followed saw an uptick in irregular migration and the death of more than 10,000 people desperately trying to cross the sea. The carcasses of dozens of boats, many still strewn with clothing and water bottles with Arabic writing, dotted the island’s coastline as Italy begged Europe for help and Europe largely ignored not only Italy but the crisis at large.