Otto Warbler, Rest in Peace, and Now…

Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo ATTENTION EDITORS – FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. 

May he and his family find peace

 

And may those that did this rot in hell.

Was it perhaps a bit foolhardy to go on a tour to North Korea? Yeah, probably it was. But you know what, Otto was damned well an American, and Americans, especially young Americans are like that. He was, I was, and I’ll bet you were too. It’s part of who we are. Nobody else is like this, maybe the old Romans were, and for a while, the Brits came close, but that supreme self-confidence is bred into us like it is no other. And it’s why we have accomplished so much.

And you know, I’m getting awfully tired of these clowns here, and all over the world that think Americans are going to quit being Americans and simply become docile European transplants. It ain’t going to happen this week, ain’t going to happen next year, and it probably ain’t going to happen this century either. P.J. O’Rourke nailed it for me and many others when he wrote:

I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying ‘Cheerio.’� Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.”

Of course, this guy should have punched me. But this was EUrope. He just smiled his shabby, superior European smile. (God, don’t these people have dentists?)

He’s right, you know, try it. If you can get past the strongest military the world ever saw, then you get to take on the people, with 300,000,000 arms and trillions of rounds of ammunition of our own. Americans left, right, and center are pretty much all like that. You mess with us, at your peril, it don’t matter much if you’re a Mexican drug lord or Vladimir Putin. America, in large part, whatever our deluded elites say, remains America, and America damned well intends to remain free.

Now this poor kid, Otto, supposedly he took a propaganda poster (there are reputable stories out there saying that is bullshit, but whatever). A Nina Bookout over at Victory Girls said

Many people are going to want to blame somebody…ANYBODY…for Otto’s death. But the plain truth of it is, the North Korean government is the one to blame. They didn’t have to make an example of that young man the way that they did. They could’ve and should’ve just made him leave the country. Instead they chose to thumb their noses at the United States and ‘make an example’ out of this young man.

What did the Obama Administration do? Nothing. And they ALSO told the Warmbier family to keep their mouths shut because doing otherwise would make the Norks mad.

Well, guess what? That didn’t stop the Norks from torturing and killing Otto. And that especially didn’t stop them from sending this young man home in a heinous, in-your-face kind of way to all Americans.

What can President Trump do in retaliation? What should he do? The country is already starving. So economic sanctions probably won’t work. Their missile program on the other hand, needs to be shut down and shut down BIGLY. The North Koreans’ cyber warfare capabilities are increasingly problematic as well. Shut them DOWN!

Do I want President Trump to do something just so we can all feel better? NO. But a hostile nation state held an American citizen captive all because of an incredibly stupid poster! That same hostile nation state, by far the worst dictatorship regime in the world, tortured an American citizen. Otto’s death is completely due to the evil that is North Korea. In my opinion, President Trump should make North Korea understand the grave consequences of their actions. Otherwise, they will decide to inflict worse on other American citizens without impunity. The Trump Administration has a great deal to consider over the coming days in that regard.

 

I agree. A bit over a hundred years ago, an American citizen (actually, he had renounced his citizenship to save his property in the Confederacy, but nobody noticed) was held captive in Morroco, not even by the state. An American President had the entire Atlantic Flotilla off the coast of Morroco, including seven battleships. This is how a confident America acts. It doesn’t kowtow to a tinpot despot, who tortures Americans until they are in a coma and then send them home, so all the world can see what they’ve done.

That other President was Theodore Roosevelt, of course, and the Secretary of State, John Hay, who had been Abraham Lincoln’s private Secretary sent this cable.

This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.

Perhaps we should learn from history instead of living through it again as farce.

 

You Had One Job

Sometimes, no matter your job title, you really have just one job. Theresa May was selected as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to execute Brexit, and that was what was expected. I like Mrs. May, then and now. I think she is a steady, dependable woman. But I also think she may a bit detail obsessed, it’s a fault many share.

She decided a few weeks ago she needed a bigger majority in Parliament to carry out Brexit properly. It made a fair amount of sense, the Tories have a lot of ‘Remainers’ and maybe she could weed a few out while increasing the majority. So OK.

But why in the hell, during the campaign were we talking about a Dementia Tax, or, of all the useless distractions, fox hunting, why the stupid slogans, let alone the American style presidential conceits, ‘Team May’ and ‘Theresa’s local candidates’, (we might have some lessons to teach, but the hubris of our Presidential candidates is about the worst thing one can pick up from us.) Why issue a manifesto written by a cabal, that your government hasn’t agreed to, especially one that will cause you to have to make a U-turn. ‘Strong and Stable’? Hardly. More like Hubris meet Nemesis.

And then you suffer a couple of Islamic terrorist attacks, and you let an opponent (who spent a considerable portion of his career supporting the IRA, Hamas, and Hezbollah) take the initiative because you once perhaps cut the number of police.

Of course, part of that is that is that because you’ve (or pretty much anybody else in Westminster) never had the guts to stand up to the racists that run the BBC, you have to be oh so politically correct. So you can’t tell the people the truth. The truth that because you let in all those bearded 13-year-old refugees, and their parents, and their sisters, and their brothers and their aunts, your security services have no idea where the potential terrorists are now, not even the ones that aren’t citizens.

But your police are pretty good at catching Christian pastors who teach what your father did, that homosexual sex is a sin, maybe if they weren’t doing that, they could catch a few of the terrorists. You keep saying that you want to help those ‘just about getting by’. Well, the best way to do that is to get out of the way, and out of their wallet, and let them spend their money on what they want and/or need, instead of sending it to Inland Revenue to fund those who will not work and live off the working poor.

And just how much does the NHS spend on medical tourists, let alone those who shouldn’t even be in Britain but are anyway. Not to mention bloated administration that couldn’t care less about administrating effectively.

But, that is what you let happen, and so now you didn’t increase your majority, you lost it, and now you have a hung Parliament. As Cranmer noted this morning…

With no majority in the House of Commons, the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ fades away and grammar schools whither. With no majority, it’s hard to see how Brexit will now mean Brexit (that is, out of the single market and customs union; free of the European Court of Justice; the end of free movement; out of the CAP and the CFP; and the restoration of parliamentary supremacy). You don’t boast about being a ‘bloody difficult woman’ if those bloody difficulties lead to greater division and more instability. With Brexit in jeopardy and the clamour for ‘soft Brexit’ growing, it is difficult at this stage to see where the necessary leadership will come from.

Steven Hayward adds this…

[B]ut at a macro level there is one big thing in common with the major election results of the past year, starting with Brexit, then Trump, but including the French election (the major parties shut out of the final) and even the Italian referendum on constitutional reform—a rejection of the establishment. Bad news for Angela Merkel I think.

He’s right of course. He’s also right that there will probably be still another election in the UK within a year.

The really sad thing is: The British people deserve far better than this sorry spectacle.

F*** you, I’m Millwall

Ferrari Press Agency…hero Roy Larner was left in intensive care after confronting the three terrorists on London Bridge suffering several stab wounds. Pals have now set up a justgiving page to help him. See Ferrari copy

On my post A Most Resolute People? an old acquaintance from CP&S, the Raven, had this to say.

Oh Neo, this isn’t a fair comparison- the people in the later picture are being evacuated by the cops. You’ll find plenty of picture of people online who are looking a lot more cheerful while they are being evacuated (including one chap nursing his pint to safety). I’m sat in an office overlooking London Bridge and Burough Market as I write this: no-one is ‘reeling’, but plenty of people are getting on with their jobs and giving the Islamists the finger.

Well, she (I think, I always thought the Raven was female, but I don’t know that, so if I’m wrong, I’m sorry) had a point. I did select those photos to make a point, and I did see others, including the chap with his beer. Only excuse is that we all do it, to strengthen our words. Not much of an excuse, really, but I’m unlikely to change.

But she gave us another comment yesterday, that included this link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4575570/Millwall-fan-tells-fought-London-Bridge-terrorists.html

And we’re going to talk a bit about it. But first

A football fan was left with shocking injuries after he was stabbed eight times by the London Bridge terrorists as he fought them off with his bare hands to allow fellow drinkers to escape.

Brave Roy Larner launched himself at the trio on Saturday night who he said had run in to the Black & Blue restaurant in Borough Market shouting, ‘This is for Allah’ and ‘Islam, Islam, Islam’.

As staff and customers panicked, the 47-year-old shouted, ‘F**k you, I’m Millwall,’ before trying to punch the attackers, who have been named as Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.

His actions are said to have saved lives as people were able to escape while Mr Larner fought the terrorists back, getting slashed in his head, chest and hands in the process.

Mr Larner, 47, from Peckham, south London, is recovering from surgery after being slashed ‘in the head’ multiple times by the assailants.

Speaking from his bed at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, he said: ‘I’m a bit better. I’ve had surgery. They reckon I might have to be in here a week.

‘I just did what I had to do.’

He was pictured propping himself up in his hospital bed with a ‘learn to run’ manual his friends had given him – which they said displayed ‘our south east London sense of humour’.

Love the book, waste of time though, he wouldn’t run from trouble anytime, anywhere. Thank God for him and those like him. The are the foundation of our societies. They’ve petitioned for him to be awarded the George Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross, and the highest award for valor awarded to civilians. He damned sure deserves it. Rollin’ on in alone against three knife-wielding fanatics is beyond brave, perhaps next time a few could follow? Please?

For me, that highlights something, he’s 47, a bit younger than me, but mostly the same generation, and old enough to remember what could be called ‘the football wars’ when the English fans took apart whole towns. The old Viking Berserkers didn’t have a lot on them, other than better weaponry. His mom was a baby during the Blitz. They’ve made it through some tough times.

You didn’t see any Millenials in that charge, and you wouldn’t here either, except perhaps for our veterans. A lot of it is how you’re raised to see yourself. If you raised to be a (pardon me) special snowflake whom no one will ever offend you will not react as one raised to believe, ‘F**k you, I’m Millwall’. Or ‘f**k you, I’m a Briton and Britons will never be slaves’. Same thing really, just a shorter form.

Jessica used to speak of the movies of John Wayne, especially those done with John Ford as part of the myth of America. She was, and is, right. Very few of us raised watching those (and that likely includes Mr. Larner, as well) ever thought life was supposed to be fair, or that we wouldn’t have to fight, sometimes at long odds, for our life and our freedom. Amongst my friends, I doubt he’d be buying many beers, anymore.

This fits Mr. Larner as well as it fits so many of us.

Hope he gets that bauble, he is the kind of man that built first England, then Britain, and then the world, and kept it free.

“Advance, Banners, in the name of England and St. George.”

 

Swamp Status: Rising, with Alligators

Are you enjoying watching the Democrats run around hysterically demanding investigations and impeachment of Donald Trump? I find it rather funny actually, not least because the sound and fury does signify something. It conceals a scandal. Not that it has anything to do with Trump, except that he might expose it. It belongs exclusively to Barack Obama and our intelligence community. Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today.

In 1972, some employees of President Nixon’s re-election committee were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters to plant a bug. This led to Nixon’s resignation and probably would have led to his felony prosecution had he not been pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.

But if a single bugging of the political opposition is enough to bring down a presidency — and maybe lead to an unprecedented criminal prosecution of a former president — then what are we to make of the recently unveiled Obama administration program of massively spying on political opponents in violation of clearly established law?

Because that’s what was unveiled last week.

When the FBI wants to wiretap a domestic suspect, it goes to court for a warrant. But when listening in on foreigners, the National Security Agency hoovers up a vast amount of stuff in bulk: Conversations between foreigners, conversations between Americans and foreigners, conversations between Americans who mention foreigners, and sometimes just plain old conversations between Americans.

There are supposed to be strict safeguards on who can access the information, on how it can be used and on protecting American citizens’ privacy — because the NSA is forbidden by law from engaging in domestic spying. These safeguards were ignored wholesale under the Obama administration, and to many Republicans, it is no coincidence that intelligence leaks damaged Democrats’ political opponents in the 2016 election. […]

A report from journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter last week, based on recently declassified documents, exposed what went on. As Solomon and Carter write:

More than 5%, or one out of every 20, searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards President Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa. …

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying that the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor,” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans. …  The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard Americans’ privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

As former anti-terrorism prosecutor and national security expert Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, this is a very serious abuse. And potentially a crime. If such material were leaked to the press for political advantage, that’s another crime.

McCarthy observes: “Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.”

There is considerably more at the link. But the point Glenn makes, and I completely agree with is this: If this is even medium close to true, and everything I’ve read says it’s much closer than that, then we can no longer afford our intelligence agencies as they are presently constructed. They are a more clear and present danger to our freedom than our enemies.

What we are seeing in the press is no more and no less than a chimera, a smokescreen deployed to protect the guilty, and damage or destroy the innocent. There is very likely no misconduct whatsoever in the Trump administration, particularly at the White House level. But there is more than plenty in our intelligence agencies, sadly it is not designed to work to America’s benefit, but is directly opposed to her interests.

The members of the community that participated in this despicable scheme, from Obama on down need to be indicted, prosecuted and incarcerated, if proven guilty. Nothing else will suffice. That is the overriding mission entrusted to President Trump, and it is a huge one, against very vociferous opposition. Can he do it? I don’t know. Nor do I know if he has the guts for this mission, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t. But maybe that why he is President and I am not. I hope so.

But he must, America itself depends on it.

Hat tip to John at PowerLine

Quo Vadis, NATO?

We’ve spent the weekend looking back on the heroics that led to Memorial Day. It is meet and fit that we do so, for in many ways that is where the American character was forged. From the loyalty of immigrants, to the battle heroics, the superb leadership, and the mastery of logistics, the Civil War was our graduation into the ranks of the great powers. From 1865 it has been self-evident that the United States could not be invaded by any other power, it could be defeated tactically, but only at existential risk to the power doing it.

From 1865 it has been self-evident that the United States could not be invaded by any other power, it could be defeated tactically, but only at existential risk to the power doing it. That is the grounding of the American hegemony which has existed since 1945 and it is a different ethos than any that has come before. That is because it has never looked simply to American advantage, but has sought mutual benefit, and in most cases that seeking has been rewarded.

That is the grounding of the American hegemony which has existed since 1945 and it is a different ethos than any that has come before. That is because it has never looked simply to American advantage, but has sought mutual benefit, and in most cases that seeking has been successful.

This has been especially true in Europe, which has been since Roman days subject to intramural wars. That ended in 1945, and it ended due to American leadership.

But that leaves the question: Quo Vadis? Where do we go from here.

Kori Schake wrote recently in The American Interest about this in an article entitled NATO without America. The article makes many good points, quite a few of which are not obvious.

[A] palpable sigh of relief emanated from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels and the capitals of 27 NATO members when Donald Trump finally had a good word to say about history’s most successful and enduring alliance. He did not, of course, go so far as to acknowledge NATO’s genuine achievements: agreeing in 1949 that an attack on any allied state would be considered an attack on all; creating in 1950 a structure of military commands that facilitates operations and creates a common strategic culture among members’ militaries; integrating West Germany as a military power into a cooperative framework in 1954; holding at bay bristling Soviet aggression for 45 years and Russian revanchism since; voluntarily sharing the burdens of a common defense—including nuclear weapons responsibilities; using America as a counterweight to potentially ruinous intra-European competition; reunifying Germany in 1991 without setting off alarms among European countries and Russia; imposing an end to the Balkan wars in 1995 and keeping the still-hostile parties from shooting at each other since; expanding the perimeter of security that encourages prosperity and accountable governance to Eastern and Southern Europe; preventing the Qaddafi regime from carrying out its apparent plan to massacre Libyans in March 2011; fighting for 15 years in Afghanistan; and continually finding ways to adapt a Cold War institution to new security challenges. […]

President Trump is certainly ruder than previous American leaders have been in decrying the shortfalls of our European allies, but the aggravation has long been widespread and is still growing. Americans of all political stripes believe it is long past time for Europe to stop indulging in post-Cold War defense cuts. Every American President of the past thirty years—actually longer, for the plaint goes back to the early years of the Nixon Administration—has dreamt up a NATO initiative to cajole greater defense expenditures out of our European allies. […]

Referring to the invocation (largely at British instigation) of Article 5 after 9/11.

But even if the support of some allies was grudging, they did nonetheless pledge on September 12 that the attack on us was an attack on them, and offer any and all support the Bush Administration wanted in the unnerving aftermath. That Americans were consumed with doing as quickly as possible all that was needed in those unimagined circumstances in no way diminishes the magnitude of commitment evinced by our allies.  […]

But most European governments conduct their national security policies at a much greater distance from their militaries, celebrating their concentration on “soft power” tools in lieu of force. Not only do they privilege those tools, they often consider their policies, and themselves, morally superior for the choice. One need only listen to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker or read of the European Parliament passing legislation condemning U.S. intelligence agencies to share President Trump’s aggravation with Europe. We sentimentalize the Transatlantic connection at our peril.  […]

In some ways, we have created a ‘welfare state’ with regards to the defense of Western Europe, but it is very hard to see what the alternative was. We have become the ultimate European power, and the ultimate outcome of European culture, for better or worse. For all we wish that the Europeans would do more, well at least Germany isn’t invading Poland this week. We could certainly use better allies, but who, exactly might they be?

The Saudis are often maligned as being as great a threat as al-Qaeda or ISIS. This not only ignores the great changes in Saudi national security policy, especially after the 2005 terrorist attack in Riyadh, but also the important political and social changes enacted under the influence of the Emirates’ successes and a reformist leadership in the Kingdom. America’s partners in the region have gone on a defense-spending spree, driven by concern about Iranian efforts to destabilize Sunni governments and infiltrate Shi‘a ones. Even with those changes, however, impediments to deeper cooperation remain […]

Jordan, in particular, has been heroic in its generosity to Syrian refugees and courageous in its policies toward the Assad government. The United Arab Emirates  leads in the development of serious military forces and in cooperating with U.S. operations, as it did in Libya. Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE have been stalwart in their commitment to the war in Afghanistan and are being cajoled into a common front against ISIS. Even so, the countries of the Middle East pose challenges that European allies do not. […]

[I]t also merits emphasizing that NATO and “Europe” are not the same. Very often when American exasperation boils up at Europeans, it is the European Union we are reacting to. Not only do the EU’s ambitions outpace its achievements, its advocates and officials often seek acclaim in the present for intentions to accomplish things in the future. But while most NATO allies are also in the European Union, they behave differently in each setting because the institutional cultures of the two organizations are markedly different.

American leadership in NATO creates opportunities that we will never have in other venues. The integrated military command (IMC)  in NATO is the way we go to war, because the NATO allies are the countries we most frequently fight alongside, and the long-practiced procedures of the IMC facilitate understanding. Allies show up using equipment compatible with American equipment, talk on radio frequencies already known to American forces, share intelligence across linked systems, and drop bombs that can be shared if one country’s forces run short. […]

[R]ussian aggression is reviving interest in European security, but not diminishing other claims on American attention. Part of the reason why Trump’s criticism of European defense resonates is that challenges in Europe look manageable with the power Europeans could muster on their own. Could Britain, France, Poland, and Germany really not bring enough power to bear to defeat a Russian invasion of a Baltic state? If not, should they not quickly mobilize greater military forces—or more creatively use the nuclear and conventional forces they already have—instead of relying so heavily on American guarantees? Russia is not the peer of any of those countries (with the possible exception of Poland), much less all of them combined.

This plaint misses an important point. In aggregate, Europe’s military assets look formidable, but only the United States can bring them together in an effective fighting ensemble. We are the mainframe, so to speak, and the allies plug into that—whether we are talking about intelligence, logistics, lift, or half a dozen other crucial functions in contemporary warfighting. However well equipped they look on paper, our allies strain to coordinate their assets without us.

In any event, Americans would be wise not to scorn Europeans for clinging to us when they’re worried. Few states have the ability or domestic support to act without benefit of allies or international institutions. The United States does. But allied support matters for our domestic political purposes as well: Americans are more confident that our government is in the right when we win the support of other states that share our values. It matters especially now, when the international order is fraying. The world looks less safe, and the rules less respected, than they did a decade ago.

There is quite a lot more at the link, which you should read and digest. But the point is valid. Without the US at the center, as we have been for 70 years now, Europe has real problems in executing anything especially at any distance from home. It’s easy for us, as Americans, to forget that while we easily switch from considering the Balts to the middle east to Asia, only we, and before us, Great Britain, have ever truly been world-wide powers, able to project force almost anywhere on earth. The other are all regional powers of one sort or another, but they can be and are increasingly worldwide partners, because their militaries are constituted to work within the distinctive American pattern.

That makes them uniquely valuable, and it makes us essential to them, forging a win for all of us.

That was the Week that Was

It’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it? The horror of the attack at Manchester, the reactions following, the reactions to the Trump tour of Europe, and yes, the irresponsible and potentially criminal handling of intelligence by American officials. How do we make sense of all this information?

I’ve been fairly quiet this week, listening, and thinking, and have drawn some conclusions.

First Trump. He just might turn into one of the best Presidents we’ve had in a long while, especially in foreign affairs. His speech in Riyadh bears more attention than it got. So does his response to Manchester. Beyond the conventional and necessary expression of sympathy to our friends and allies, he made an excellent point, which we should adopt, when he said, as Scott Adams reports.

President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).

If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong. It’s a big deal. This is – literally – weapons-grade persuasion from the most powerful Master Persuader of our time.

As I have taught you in this blog, President Trump’s clever nicknames for people are not random. They are deeply engineered for visual impact and future confirmation bias.

In this case, the visuals will be provided by future terror attacks. That reinforces the “evil” part, obviously. But more importantly, the Losers will be doing nothing but losing on the battlefield from now until “annihilation.” They are surrounded, and the clock is ticking. Oh, and the press isn’t allowed to watch the final battles. In other words, we won’t need to build new holding cells on Guantanamo Bay this time. No press means no prisoners, if you know what I mean. (American soldiers won’t be shooting the prisoners. We have allies for that sort of thing.)

As you know, “annihilation” of the Losers in Loserdom won’t stop the loser’s ideas from spreading. You still have to kill the ideas. And that takes persuasion, not bullets. President Trump just mapped out the persuasion solution: Evil Losers.

Think about that for a while. Do it while you cry into your Kleenex™, taking your Excedrin™ for your headache, and seeing the USA in your Chevrolet, send me a Xerox™ me of your results, and don’t forget the Kodachromes™ of your trip. Marketing: it’s what we do, it’s what Trump does, his name has always been his brand, and he’s done it again. ISIS now equals Evil Losers™. It’ll stick because it’s true, and it’ll stick because they’ll demonstrate that it continues to be true. A genius move.

Then there is the trip, Riadayh, Jerusalem, Rome, to start. Think there might be a theme there? Sure there is: the home of the three so-called Abrahamic faiths. Truth to power in Saudi Arabia, reinforcing something that the King believes, that his people must modernize, but he, like England, for instance, is awash in Wahabi fanatics. It ain’t going to be easy, and at least he’s trying, and the direct flight to Israel demonstrates that the Saudis recognize that Israel is part of the solution, and that one cannot separate the US from Israel, Great Satan will always stand with Little Satan, not only the government but the people.

Then on to Rome, where all of us Christians have a stake, Catholic or not, this is the last, and foremost of the Patriarchates formed by the Apostles themselves, and arguably, even for Orthodox and Protestants, the one formed by the man that Jesus himself said about, “Upon this Rock.” The current incumbent is in some ways disappointing. In the exchange of gifts, Trump gave him a first edition collection of the works of the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, a highly appropriate gift, I think. In return, he received copies of Amoris Laetitia, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’. Am I the only one the who finds it a bit reminiscent of Obama giving Queen Elizabeth an I-pod with his speeches? That’s what I thought.

But writing in the aftermath of Manchester, our friend, Francis Phillips wrote in The Catholic Herald about Dietrich von Hildebrand.

In response to the Islamist terrorist atrocity on Monday night in Manchester, in which 22 innocent people died and 59 have been injured, some severely, so many questions arise: why wasn’t the suicide bomber apprehended earlier (there had been several complaints to the police about his behaviour)? Are sporadic acts of Islamist terrorism now a fact of life in Europe in the future? Is the misplaced ideology of multiculturalism to blame for this act of outrage and others like it? Can we confidently make a distinction between Islam that is peaceful and Islamism that isn’t?

These are natural human questions. But as Christians we have to ask other, deeper and more personal ones. I have been reading the chapter “Blessed are the peacemakers” in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s book Transformation Christ as a way of moving beyond the highly disquieting news in the media with all the anxious questions that flow from it.

As the author says, to imitate Christ necessarily involves a love of peace and “a horror of all forms of discord, disunion and dissension”. But that in itself is not enough: to love peace is to act in a way that will help to bring it about. “Ignoring objective evils does not establish true peace”; nor does a “passive tolerance of evil”, through moral cowardice or sloth. At an individual level this means that we have” to draw [our enemy’s] attention to the wrong he has done us.” It also means engaging with the wider society and for the same purpose.

As von Hildebrand points out, “Cowardly acquiescence is not the love of peace”. True peace can only be found in close communion with Christ. This relationship alone will give us the strength to “possess, irradiate and spread peace.” We cannot always avoid suffering in this world but we can at least show others what the peace of Christ means in our lives. It calls for courage as well; in particular the courage to point out that what society calls “tolerance” is often the opposite. Christian values are not always the same as “British values” – as Christians have learned to their cost.

Indeed so, Christianity, and its allied secular powers have not built the modern world by ignoring evil, nor will we maintain it by doing so.

Then there are the inexcusable leaks to the New York Time of evidentiary material from Manchester. The British (and American) people deserve far better from our bureaucracy, as does our President. Hopefully, dismissals and prosecutions will follow. Something else bears here, as well. The Senate would be well advised to get off its ample rear (or head, it’s hard to tell) and confirm Trump’s people, a lot of this, I’d bet has to do with unreconciled Obama appointees.

On the other hand, it might have had a bit to do with waking up a few British folk about how much HMG covers up, to the point that I am hearing the word Londonistan again. And amongst my friends, I sense a resolve to solve this problem, one that I (and they) fear that their government does not share. And that is a most charitable way of putting it.

If I were asked (I won’t be!) my advice to Mrs. May would be three words from Britain’s heroic past…

Who Dares Wins

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