John Derbyshire: Collapse Of Trumpism—On War AND Immigration?
[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on VDARE.com.]
I can’t think of any way to put a smiley face on it: This was a really bad week for National Conservatives.
Well, the second question: can he be trusted if he wins?
And the answer is: absolutely not! You can’t trust any of these characters.
It’s entirely possible that he could be another Schwarzenegger, that he could be content to reign rather than to rule. We don’t really know what he’s going to do when he gets into the White House.
But we did know what Jeb Bush was going to do. And we did know what Marco Rubio was going to do — even if he had the grace to lie about it in the campaign.
Still, I don’t think any of us thought the cucking would come so swiftly. Not even a hundred days in office — not even eighty — and our man, our best hope, has gone D.C. native.
Am I depressed? You bet I am. You should be, too. I am sunk in fatalistic despair, awaiting news of U.S. Marines storming the beaches of Iran, Jeff Sessions being pushed out from the Justice Department to make way for Al Sharpton, and an Executive Order mandating compulsory quotas for transsexuals in all law enforcement agencies.
Well, let’s take a look at what happened to occasion this despair.
- Tuesday Steve Bannon was removed from his position as a principal on Trump’s National Security Council.
There was a case you could make for Bannon not holding that position. There is no necessary or logical reason why a President’s political strategist needs to be a member of any specific advisory unit. Bannon was on the NSC, though, and now he’s not on it. That looks, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels like a demotion.
- Thursday, we heard that our administration had bombed — more precisely, cruise-missiled — a Syrian air force base, supposedly the one from which the Syrian government had launched a poison-gas attack on a rebel town earlier in the week.
Our bombing of the base was, the Administration made plain, retaliation for the gas attack — an attack which killed no Americans and harmed no American interests. So I guess we can kiss goodbye to “America First.”
Concerning Bannon’s demotion, there are plenty of rumors and speculations. It’s hard to evaluate them without good inside information. The attack on Syria, though, is a complete repudiation of Trumpism as we were given to understand it.
If President Trump himself is to be believed, the bombing was inspired by his own feelings of outrage at seeing pictures of little children who had been killed by the poison gas:
Clip: Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children.
It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.
Politico, April 7, 2017
So apparently the driving motive here was the President’s feelings—wo-wo-wo feelings. We thought we’d elected a practical, deal-making, hard-headed National Conservative to the presidency. It seems that we actually elected a 14-year-old girl.
Of course, it’s a shame for little kids to be killed. And poisoning by gas is a nasty way to go. But the world is full of horrors. Why is this particular one any of America’s business?
Let the President explain:
It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons
Is it? Chemical weapons, like nuclear weapons, are awful, and we should certainly do what we can to stop them getting into the hands of bad actors.
We can’t do much, though; not even as much as we can do with nukes, which at least require some substantial expertise and industrial infrastructure. Our best defense, as with nukes, is deterrence.
And deterrence works. When Britain declared war on Germany in World War Two, the British government issued millions of gas masks to the civilian population. Gas had been used as a weapon in the previous big war; everyone assumed it would play a major role in the new one.
It didn’t. Germany knew if they used it on Britain, the Brits would use it right back. Deterrence worked.
Even terrorists have kept away from gas. Sarin gas, which seems to have been what the Syrians used against their rebels, featured in the Tokyo subway attacks of 1995. It hasn’t featured in terrorist attacks since, though.
And all of that assumes that Tuesday’s gas attack in Syria actually was perpetrated by the Syrian air force against rebels. As many commentators have observed, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, has pretty much won his civil war. He was in no need of desperate measures. As an intelligent guy, he surely realized that using gas would make for a lot of really bad publicity. Even if he’s crazy, which I don’t believe, he’s not that kind of crazy.
So maybe the whole thing was a false flag by … who? The Rebels? ISIS? The Saudis? The Israelis? I wouldn’t rule it out.
And if it was a false flag, the whole world now knows that if A is fighting B, and B is losing badly, and B figures that it would help for Uncle Sam to drop a few bombs on A, then a little staged atrocity theater will do the trick.
I wonder who else has taken that message to heart?
Is President Trump really such an emotional ninny as to attack a foreign country because some images from their civil war upset him? Ghastly things happened in our own Civil War, God knows; but I never heard that the guy in charge of Syria at the time, Sultan Abdulaziz the Unfortunate, thought it was any of his business.
Of course, the Sultan didn’t have high-definition TV. Perhaps that’s what makes the difference.
And listening to the President speaking there, he doesn’t sound very Trumpish. On the news commentary websites, everybody and his brother have been posting Trump’s tweets from four years ago, when it looked as though Barack Obama might do something or other in Syria. Sample One:
We should stay the hell out of Syria, the "rebels" are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS?ZERO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2013
We should stay the hell out of Syria, the rebels are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO
What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.
The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria, fix U.S.A.
What happened to that Donald Trump — the one I voted for last November? How did we end up with George W. Bush the Second, with all this World Policeman stuff and God language and emoting?
One possibility being aired: The President has been captured by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is one of his senior advisors. Well, that Thursday night address was definitely more girly than guyish and more Gen-X than Boomer. And speaking as the father of a princess myself, I know how susceptible we can be.
Still I expected more strength of character from Trump. This is a grave disappointment.
Clutching at straws, I’m trying to think of some reason, some National Conservative reason, President Trump might have done this.
One possibility: the Nixon strategy. President Nixon believed it was good for potential adversaries to have some doubt about whether perhaps he was a little bit crazy and unpredictable. Perhaps Trump wants Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un thinking: “Wow, this guy fires off his cruise missiles any time he’s upset. Better be careful!”
That really is clutching at straws, though. I’d much rather have Putin & Co. thinking: “Wow, this guy fires off his cruise missiles in response to any slightest attack on his country or its citizens.”
I suspect that what they are actually thinking is: “Wow, this guy’s just as keen as that dumbass George W. Bush was to spend trillions of his people’s dollars and thousands of their lives on pointless wars in the Middle East. How can I play this idiot to my advantage?”
As vexing as the Syrian bombing itself, is the opportunity cost: the things our President is not doing while he’s dabbing his eyes at images of dead Syrian babies.
A big thing he’s not doing: he’s not acting on immigration—one of his strongest issues on the campaign trail, and one that differentiated him from all the other candidates of both parties.
Here are two stories from the immigration log this week, stories of a kind I hoped I wouldn’t be reading any more once a Trump administration had settled in:
- First story. We all know that without millions of illegal aliens, crops would be rotting in the fields. Well, apparently things are worse than that. Without the illegals, American schoolchildren will be rotting in their classrooms.
This story is from the Guardian, Britain’s far-Left White-Submissivist newspaper (A White Submissivist, in case you don’t know, is the opposite of a white supremacist): Dreamers need not apply: city’s teacher shortage overlooks the undocumented. By Amanda Holpuch, April 5, 2017.
The city: Charlotte, North Carolina. A young woman there, Madai Zamora (right) 23 years old, has been studying to become a teacher. As well as studying, she has also been doing some low-level teaching at Charlotte schools — low enough not to require a teaching license.
Which she can’t get, as she is an illegal alien. Yes, she’s a DREAMer, enjoying temporary relief from deportation under Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA). However, North Carolina, in common with most other states, doesn’t issue teaching licenses to illegals.
Quote from the Guardian’s Holpuch:
What makes the situation even more desperate is that Charlotte actually has a teacher shortage. The school district superintendent, Ann Clark, has issued personal calls for teachers, going so far as to ask people at community meetings “to email, text or call [the teachers you know] and invite them to teach in Charlotte.”
The shortage is country-wide. U.S. classrooms were short of 60,000 teachers in 2015, according to the Learning Policy Institute. By 2018, the number is expected to rise to more than 100,000. The shortage is most severe in maths, science, special education and in bilingual and English-language education.
Just as I said: Students are rotting in the classrooms all over the U.S.A.
Of course, you may say that there wouldn’t be so many of those students if we hadn’t been importing high-fertility Third-Worlders for the past thirty years — people like, oh, Ms. Zamora’s parents. If you do say that, you are plainly a hateful hater filled with hate.
You may also say that basic economics offers a rather straightforward prescription for any kind of shortage: raise salaries. If you say that, you are unmasking yourself as an innumerate ignoramus.
Concerning DACA, Guardianette Holpuch tells us “The White House has not announced its plans for the programme.”
That’s correct; they haven’t. Why not?
Since immunity from deportation under DACA is only good for two years, then has to be renewed, the solution seems straightforward: stop renewing. DACA is entirely an executive-branch initiative; Congress and the courts have nothing to say about it.
The executive branch doesn’t even have to take any action, other than to instruct the relevant employees to practice in-action. Just stop renewing.
But it hasn’t happened.
What’s the problem here, Mr. President? This is the kind of thing you were elected to do — this, and refraining from getting us involved in unnecessary military actions abroad.
- Second story: Tiffany Li, 31 years old, of San Francisco, is a Chinese immigrant. She has two daughters by a man named Keith Green. They had lived together in an upmarket property she owned.
Then she got involved with another man. When Green found out she threw him out of the house — Green, not the boyfriend.
Ms. Li was known to fear losing custody of her daughters by Green. Keith Green disappeared some months ago. His body was later found with a bullet wound to the neck.
The lady has been charged, along with her boyfriend and an associate of his, with the killing of Keith Green. The three go to trial in September. Meanwhile Ms. Li is out on bail.
And there is the story: Ms. Li’s bail was set at $35 million—and she came up with it, offering $4 million cash and pledging properties around the Bay area worth tens of millions, properties belonging to herself, her family, and their business associates.
Real-estate pledges only count as fifty cents in the dollar when reckoning bond payment, so that $31 million balance after cash needed $62 million of real estate pledged. That’s what she came up with: $4 million cash, $62 million real estate. [Murder suspect posts $35M bail, upsetting victim’s family, by Paul Elias, Associated Press, April 6, 2017]
Apparently, she is well-connected in China. Given the state of affairs in China, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, that means she has an essentially bottomless supply of cash to draw on — not to mention a bolt-hole to flee to now that she’s out on bail.
He two co-defendants remain in jail. It seems she didn’t want to cover their bail, too. Why should she? They’re just a couple of dumb American yokels who don’t even know how to get rich.
It’s hard to see what the U.S.A. gained by admitting her as a permanent resident. Or rather, it’s all too easy to see what we gained: We gained another infusion of the kind of shameless, rampant corruption that the Chinese Communist Party allows and encourages, and that ordinary working- and middle-class Chinese people in China complain about bitterly.
On the scale of things our new administration ought to be doing, exercising a little more care — make that a lot more care — over who gets settlement rights in the U.S.A. ranks way higher than dropping cruise missiles on some faction in Trashcanistan because they used poison gas on some other faction.
A couple of secondary questions:
- Rather than burdening ourselves with more vetting and scrutiny of the million or so legal residents we admit every year, why not simplify things with an immigration moratorium?
Wives and dependent children of citizens; certified, credentialed geniuses; foreigners who have risked their lives on our behalf; others only by explicit, named, hand-signed-by-the-President executive order.
We have a third of a billion people; why do we need to import more?
- Why are there apparently no restrictions at all on foreigners buying up our real estate?
With our own young people loaded down with student debt, should we really be jacking up property prices out of their reach so that some Chinese crook can launder his cash through San Francisco real estate?
These are the kinds of issues — issues about our country, our kids’ future — that we elected you on, Mr. President.
Can’t we let Syrians take care of their own business while we take care of ours?
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He’s had two books published by VDARE.com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.