Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
A job begun is half done, as the Romans used to say. Restoring our nation’s pride in its exceptionalism, and keeping our government’s obligation to put our country’s interests and security first, is job number one for the new president. After just one week in office, President Trump has made a good start at dismantling the internationalist order that for nearly a century has tried to weaken and subordinate national sovereignty and identity to globalist institutions. The hysterical response of the global elites and this country’s fellow-travelers tells us Trump is drawing blood.
Trump’s executive orders and comments on securing our southern border, renegotiating NAFTA, and banning refugees from jihadist-infested countries––from a list drawn up during the Obama administration by the way–– drew the usual blustering dudgeon. Mexico’s complaints about Trump’s comments were laughably hypocritical. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said, “Mexico does not believe in walls.” Of course they don’t believe in their northern border because Mexico uses illegal immigration into the U.S. to get rid of people for whom they have no jobs or opportunities, and from whom they secure $25 billion a year in remittances, more than the revenues from the sale of oil.
But the last border you want to try to cross illegally is Mexico’s southern border, notorious not for any wall, but for the brutality, including torture and rape, inflicted on those caught. Even Mexican-Indian citizens are apprehended and abused as suspected illegal aliens from Central America. This animus against immigrants is no surprise, given the harsh protections of citizenship enshrined in Mexico’s constitution, which makes illegal entry a felony. And there are numerous draconian restrictions on legal immigrants, such as prohibitions on owning property and serving in government or the military. Or consider Article 33, which states, “The Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.” Compare that with the extensive legal protections for even criminal illegal aliens in the U.S. The Mexican president is merely mouthing globalist pieties in order to serve his own country’s national interests.
The same hypocrisy is evident in the mainly European complaints about Trump’s moratorium on immigration from certain countries. Last week foreign immigrants from such places who had been detained at airports were blessed with restraining orders by two federal judges in Virginia and New York. The ACLU applauded this slap-down of Trump’s “unconstitutional Muslim ban,” a willful distortion of the plain text of the executive order. And as a globalist outfit congenitally hostile to its own country, the ACLU seems to think there is a Constitutional “civil liberty” for anybody from anywhere to enter the U.S.
But isn’t Trump violating the ban on “religious tests” in the Constitution, as many commentators say in their condemnation of Trump’s actions, because the countries on his list are overwhelmingly Muslim? But as usual, they’re flat wrong: Article 6.3 says “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” It says nothing about immigration. The president can block entry into the U.S. of any group he determines represents a threat to the nation’s security, or even that he finds politically troublesome––like the Cubans intercepted at sea, whom by law the U.S. regularly admitted, but Obama began sending back to a thug regime a few days before he left office.
Abroad, criticisms of Trump’s actions were equally hypocritical and self-serving. According to the AP, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault intoned in response to Trump, “We have signed international obligations, so welcoming refugees fleeing war and oppression forms part of our duties.” There’s suicidal internationalism in a nutshell. And the statement is duplicitous, since the majority of the immigrants fleeing the Middle East are mostly young male economic refugees, with a significant admixture of jihadist terrorists. And even those not bent on mayhem will likely not assimilate to the customs, mores, and national identity of the country that lets them in, thus becoming a recruitment pool for jihadist proselytizers.
Outgoing socialist French President François Hollande, who enjoys an approval rating of four percent, scolded Trump for stoking “populism,” the biggest dirty word in the transnational globalist lexicon, and “extremism,” which is just a synonym for populism. Hollande continues, “When he rejects the arrival of refugees, while Europe has done its duty, we should respond to him.” These comments are preposterous, given the “extremism” of the slaughter wreaked in France’s streets by unassimilated Muslim immigrants and their children. And don’t forget the no-go immigrant “zones” police enter only with massive force, the appropriation of public spaces by Muslims for daily prayers in defiance of France’s treasured laïcicité, and the relentless violent assaults on French Jews. Is that how the French “does their duty” to their own citizens?
But Hollande is simply kowtowing to the global supranational elite, who find national identity a barrier to their power and sappy “we are the world” sentiments. And like Mexico’s president, he is a hypocrite, particularly in his comments about Trump’s “protectionist measures,” given that 40 percent of the entire E.U. budget goes to agricultural subsidies, with France as the biggest beneficiary. Scratch any globalist’s high-flown rhetoric, and you’ll find a grubby nationalist interest.
Then there’s Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who preached, “’Love thy neighbor’ is part of this (American Christian) tradition, the act of helping others.” How did that work out for the thousands of women groped and raped in Cologne, or the 12 Berliners mown down in December by a jihadist driving a truck? Not to mention the daily harassment, crimes, and assaults perpetrated by Muslim immigrants. And it’s particularly rich to hear the gospel preached by someone from a country that has abandoned Christianity and replaced it with pacifism and la dolce vita. Of course Gabriel was being sarcastic, exploiting Christian doctrine in order to perfume the idealistic transnationalism of the E.U.––one that has served Germany’s economic interests very well, even as it has ravaged the southern E.U. countries.
Forget all the moral preening and appeals to lofty principles supposedly animating all these complaints. What Trump’s election and the Brexit vote have done is to open wide cracks in the international order, exposing its failures and hypocrisy. That’s why the European ruling class and their progressive American acolytes are full of nervous bluster––because they see the return to nationalist identity and pride growing in their own countries as a challenge to their power and privilege. In France, Hollande will likely be replaced either by Marine le Pen, an unabashed nationalist and patriot, or François Fillon, a cultural conservative and economic liberal who for all his E.U. happy-talk has sworn to push back against statist bureaucracies. Other E.U. states as well have populist parties fighting back against the entitled E.U. elite and calling for a restoration of national identity. These movements, if electorally successful, will widen the cracks Brexit opened up.
In the larger perspective, the internationalist order is tottering because it was built on a fundamental incoherence and distortion of human nature. A transnational political-economic-legal order comprising sovereign nations will sow the seeds of its own destruction. The diversity of the world’s nations and their interests, cultures, and beliefs means there is no unifying shared set of principles to bind such diversity. There are only treaties, which can be abandoned by any nation at will, and shifting mutual interests. There is no “one world,” no “citizens of the world,” no permanent “harmony of interests,” only provisional ones that change with circumstances. The first obligation of a country’s leaders is to serve their own people’s interests, which are different from, and often contrary to, those of other countries. And to do this means first securing the borders that define a nation’s territory, and controlling immigration in order to protect the nation’s sovereignty and particular identity.
Since the heady first days of the Soviet Union’s exit from history, international idealism has been met with challenges it serially failed to answer, particularly a resurgent Islamic jihadism. Thus many citizens of the West are returning to their own national identities, foundational principles and beliefs, and unifying cultural mores to create the solidarity necessary for defending themselves against those who want to destroy them. Immigration and border controls are the obvious place to start this renewal.
Trump was elected partly because he grasped this historical moment. Now he has begun the job of turning campaign rhetoric into fact. Let’s hope Congress and the people help him finish the job.