As he completes his third week in office Donald Trump has already stunned the world with his “shock and awe” campaign to keep promises made when he was a candidate. The mere fact of a politician doing what he said he would do seems to have unsettled the nerves of his opponents. What is called “Trump Derangement Syndrome” is already reaching critical proportions.
Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ordering a start on his Mexican border wall, ordering an investigation into voter fraud (if conducted properly, almost certain to uncover widespread unlawful voting by non-citizens both legally and illegally present in the U.S., since no proof of citizenship is required to register), insisting he wants to get along with “killer” Vladimir Putin, and cutting short a call with Australia’s prime minister over Barack Obama’s idiotic promise to take in Muslim refugees that our mates Down Under don’t want themselves—all of these have infuriated the usual suspects.
But the declaration of war was his order to impose restrictions on entry from seven majority-Muslim countries designated as trouble spots by Obama with nary a peep from the progressive watchdogs of “tolerance” and anti-“Islamophobia.” As Srdja Trifkovic has noted, Trump’s order is the first step in instating an ideological test to bar jihad ideologues from the United States. (See Trifkovic’s “The Real ‘Muslim Ban’” and my “If He Doesn’t Like Trump’s Exclusion of All Muslims, Obama Must Exclude Advocates of Sharia and Caliphate”).
If Trump prevails on his exclusion order, he has the high ground to crush his opponents in both political parties—and they know it. That’s why the reaction has been both hysterical and cynical. Mainstream media, inveterate enemies of Trump and the American people, rarely mention the list of countries was Obama’s. (Frankly, it’s a bad list. Iran is on it—how many terrorist attacks by an Iranian, or by any Shiite, have we seen in the U.S. or Europe? But look who’s not on it: Saudis (9/11), Pakistanis (San Bernardino), Palestinians (Fort Hood), Afghans (Orlando). For that matter, where are the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the criminal pseudo-state of “Kosova”?) Still, you have to start someplace, and the order can be refined as it moves forward.
If it gets a chance. In a barefaced political move, a federal district judge in Washington State enjoined the order, and his injunction was upheld by three judges of the Ninth Circuit, the worst in the country. (As they say at the Supreme Court: “This case comes on appeal from the Ninth Circuit. Other reasons for reversal include . . . ”) Trump can ask for review by the full Circuit en banc (a futile undertaking) or more likely turn to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, which is far from certain, a probable split of 4 to 4 (at best) would affirm the injunction. Or, as some consider likely, pseudo-conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, of same-sex marriage infamy, could side with the terrorists-welcome crowd, handing Trump a 5 to 3 defeat.
Either result would kill Trump’s order. He could always withdraw it and reissue it in modified form crafted to survive judicial scrutiny, but the lesson would be clear: questions of who can safely be let into the U.S. will no longer be governed by the duly elected president, whom the Constitution and federal statute empower to make such assessments, but by unelected judges’ according to their personal preferences. This is the antithesis of the rule of law.
Clipping Trump’s wings early to prevent his protecting our country from dangerous intruders is only one element of the threat he faces. Of even greater menace is the effort to create what amounts to a “color revolution” regime change on America’s streets, in a replay of the tried-and-true method used in other countries: Philippines, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine (twice), Egypt, Lebanon, just to name some that succeeded. Now the same Deep State and George Soros team are setting their sights on overturning the will of the American people to restore and preserve our country.
Violence against political speech of the wrong kind is being legitimated and mainstreamed by the media. Black-clad “anti-fascist action” reincarnations of Mao’s Red Guards and Röhm’s brownshirts beat up and mace peaceful citizens. So-called journalists openly mull whether the president should be assassinated. A celebrity fantasizes about blowing up the White House.
Americans are more divided than any time since 1861. The term “civil war” is heard more and more, both in the “cold” variety and the prospect it could turn hot. Half of America hates the other half. We have become virtual aliens to one another who don’t agree on even the most basic principles of God, man, and the purpose of life. Secessionist movements are gathering unprecedented levels of support (notably in California—please, please, please let them go and take their 55 Democratic Electoral Votes with them!).
Taken together, there’s reason to be cautiously pessimistic. Trump beat his GOP rivals, he beat Hillary, and maybe he can beat the confederacy of scoundrels mobilizing against him. But it’s far from a sure thing. It’s a fight in which he’s virtually alone, with few trustworthy allies within his own party and even in his own nascent administration. (This is a particular concern in the national security area, which I will touch upon at another time.)
If Trump is to win, he needs to stick to his own instincts and vision. Compromising in the hopes of wooing those opposed to him would be fatal. Those who can be reconciled will be won only by delivering on his primary pledge to restore the economy and jobs for working people.
Actually, Trump is not totally alone. There are still the tens of millions of people who voted for him and who disdain his enemies as much as Trump’s enemies hate him.
For the media, the “antifa” thugs, the fantasists of assassination, it may now seem all in good fun to trash every rule of civil and moral restraint in their quest to bring Trump down. But they should think twice, and then think again. The side that starts a civil war isn’t necessarily the side that finishes it.
Jim Jatras is a former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership. He is the author of a major study, “How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice.” Twitter: @JimJatras. A Serbian version of this commentary appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation.