Indispensable

lincoln

Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln.

I would characterize President Lincoln as one of two indispensable leaders we have been blessed to have had. The first was President Washington, without whom there would be no United States of America.

The second, and so far last, was Lincoln, without whom America would look far different (and worse) than it does.

As for “greatest?” Impossible to judge between Washington and Lincoln. And, fortunately for us, we don’t need to.

Trump vs the Queen?

There is apparently a movement in Britain to prevent President Donald Trump (love that this name can give liberals the yips) from a state visit to Queen Elizabeth.  The libertarian-leaning folks at Spiked note “Better an elected president than an unelected monarch.”  Hear hear.  This is just so.

The sentiment in Britain among some, at least, is that The Donald just isn’t classy enough to break bread (or tea and crumpets) with Her Majesty. Those who think about such state meetings, as the folks at Spiked do, know better.

Yes, Donald Trump can be rude and crude. As they say, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature. In large part, it’s why we Yanks elected him: he is the very opposite of a polished mainstream politico. Does he know which fork to use for the oysters? Don’t know; don’t care.

Bigger question: will he learn the art of political leadership? Right now, he is clumsy, but with good intentions. My English cousins should not complain; Trump appears to be profoundly pro-Anglo.

Unlike his predecessor, who acted very much like a hostile colonial, resenting the fact that Britain used to own Kenya.

Calexit?

The secession movement in California seems to be gathering momentum. It might be funny, all these granola types (nuts and flakes) on the Left Coast having a whiny tantrum over the election of President Trump. But, some Californians seem to be serious about this.

I’ve read many arguments against secession. For me, they come down to what has become “received opinion.” As in, all the right people agree, so it must be true that secession is illegal, against the Constitution. The least convincing is the oft-repeated mantra that the Civil War decided this question once and forever.

All the Civil War truly decided was that the Confederate States were defeated in war. That they had seceded and failed to prevail on the battlefield did not change the legal argument.

As fun as it would be to contemplate, California should not secede Bad for the remaining United States; worse for what would quickly become an impoverished socialist state.

Lastly, our Declaration of Independence states “That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…” Did this only apply to the original 13 colonies? Or, by logical extension, to all the other 37 states added since the Revolution? And, bigger question, are the words in the Declaration binding? If these are not, what other words may be considered as non-binding?

Hard questions, hard times.

Federal Election Takeover?

The Daily Caller has a scary piece, titled “Democrats And Republicans Unite To Rescind Last-Minute Obama Order Seeking Federal Election Takeover.” What’s scary is, of course, not Democrats and Republicans uniting. It is a Department of Homeland Security order that seeks to start the process of a federal takeover of all elections in the United States.

This was a deadly and serious attempt to federalize all elections. Now, if I were a Russian hacktivist working for Vlad, I’d be drooling at the prospect of having a fully-automated, centralized and online election system for all elections in the United States. One-stop shopping, comrades!

Don’t doubt that the “progressives” would wish to impose “progress” on us poor benighted Deplorables living in the hinterlands. For our own good, mind you. Part of that “progress” would be full “modernization” of the election process. In every precinct in America. Fines and full-blown federal Department of Justice goon squads to parachute in for enforcement.

One may only hope that the Trumpkins understand enough about Federalism and have sufficient literacy in our Constitution to know that this move, which would very quickly be followed by other encroachments, would be something only a far-left administration would ever contemplate.

Small and Insecure?

There has been a lot of carping about President Trump’s visit to CIA Headquarters, and his apparent “Me, Me, Me” talk in front of the Agency’s Memorial Wall. For example, today’s Wall Street Journal lead editorial noted

Mr. Trump also couldn’t resist turning the event into an extended and self-centered riff about the size of his campaign rallies, the times he’s been on Time magazine’s cover and how the “dishonest” media misreported his inaugural crowds. He all but begged for the political approval of the career CIA employees by suggesting most there had voted for him.

Such defensiveness about his victory and media coverage makes Mr. Trump look small and insecure.

That was also my first assessment. But then, Trump did make the CIA HQ his first visit of a government agency. That’s got to count for something. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline captured it thusly:

From the CIA’s perspective, which is better: (1) a president who visits the CIA right after taking office and pledges to back the agency but, as is his wont, also strays off topic and talks too much about himself or (2) a president who doesn’t visit the Agency right after taking office and instead immediately starts a process for releasing terrorists, many of whom resumed their fight against America?

Indeed. Trump just gotta be Trump. He is insecure, and who in his place would not be? He catapulted into the most powerful job in the world, with zero relevant experience. He’s learning. The best news? Trump’s instincts are those of a patriot. And he is a very, very quick study.

Friend, for now

In City Journal, Judith Miller writes, “America needs the coalition of 63 states that Obama and his predecessor assembled to reclaim territory that the Islamic State has seized in Iraq and Syria.”

Why? Has that actually worked? Or, rather, has it not brought a multi-sided civil war of horribles against irredeemables? Where there are no good guys, just some not as bad as others. Any of whom who will turn on any foreign power in a heartbeat, once their own sectarian objectives are met.

America has few true friends in this world. And no true friends among Islamic nations, just allies of convenience. Generally speaking, such nations are friends only in the old tribal sense of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Unspoken in this age-old formula is “friend, for now.”

Peacemaker?

Donald Trump made another off-hand boast: If Ivanka’s husband can’t broker Middle East peace, no one can. My vote is with “no one can.”

There can never be peace when one side refuses to acknowledge the other side’s right to exist. Well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) foreign powers have been trying to apply the civilized world’s standards to the Arabs since Israel’s creation in 1948.

The fundamental problem? It is a Jewish nation. The world’s only one; its total population is just over 8 million. By way of contrast, there are 57 member states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, with an estimated population of 1.6 billion. Or, if you prefer, on the order of 2,000 Muslims for every Jew in Israel.

While Israel may have been allowed to join the United Nations upon its declaration of independence, I’d guess that in 1948 this was largely a result of collective guilt over the Holocaust. If it were put to today’s United Nations, I would be most surprised if it would approve membership for a Jewish state.

What might it take for the Islamic world to make peace with a Jewish state? At the least, it would take a tsunami of a cultural change. Not just a religious Reformation. But the Islamic world would have to undergo a Reformation and a political and cultural Enlightenment that implants the ideas of freedom of conscience, liberty, and tolerance in the hearts and minds of a large majority of the population.

Could it happen? Of course it could. Anything is possible. Will it? Not in the lifetime of anyone now alive. Islam’s problems are political and cultural, deeply ingrained. A big part of the problem is that Islam is not just a religion. It is also a dictated (by the Koran and Hadith) way of governing, and, depending on who one asks, there ought be little-to-no daylight between the state and the mosque.

Yes, they are adept at using modern tools and toys. But while they use the technology of today’s world, they are mired in the Dark Ages politically and culturally.