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I really, really do not want to waste a lot of time on Donald Trump's Saudi Arabian visit; however, for the record, which is still important, it was a nightmare.
The images could not have been more ghastly.
The substance could not have been more repulsive.
The nation-to-nation exchange could not have been more shameful: Yet another American president, a decade and a half after 9/11, lying to himself and the entire world to declare that Islam is wonderful, it's just extremism that's a mortal threat, in exchange for hundreds of millions of Saudi petrodollars in arms deals. The $100 million pledged by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to "empower women entrepreneurs" through a World Bank "initiative" (slush fund?) Ivanka Trump is associated with was particularly ugly. It turned the president's daughter into a pitchwoman for these very nations whose Islamic laws and culture recognize women as chattel. How they must have rolled on the tent floor after the pathetic American delegation was en route to Israel, a nation Saudi Arabia does not recognize.
There is also the peril of further deepening ties with the Sunni Muslim world such that the fate of this great nation remains tied to the tails of warring Islamic tribes in the Middle East.
A dear friend and astute observer, John L. Work, has posted something which, ever since I read it, has been echoing at the back of my mind, at least when my guard goes down and I'm unable to repress it. I have known John for many years, first as a favorite email correspondent writing to discuss my syndicated column; later, when he became a blogger for Frontpage, I got to know him much better after an editor working for David Horowitz directed John to stop linking to my work and John resigned rather than "follow orders" (sorry to mention the H word; the corruption, however, is emblematic). Last week, John wrote about a conversation he had with another dear friend, medical doctor and Islam expert, Andrew Bostom, author of seminal, post-9/11 works on Islam, jihad, and Islamic anti-Semitism.
"We lost the argument," Andy said to John -- the argument about what Islam is and what it is doing and what it will do to us. This is true, and John recognized in Andy's comment an important marker in the timeline.
In political terms, we almost seemed to be gearing up to win, or at least duke it out, for a short while there, gaining momentum as Brexit, then Trump racked up relevant and improbable victories. When Geert Wilders likely crested in his second-place finish in the Netherlands, however, a door seemed to be closing. Marine Le Pen's massive defeat in France was its resounding echo. Trump now exhorting Islam's potentates to condemn and cast out "extremism," just as his predecessors more or less did before him, was the reassertive, steadying helm of Islamic apolegetics -- the creed of dhimmitude. Dhimmitude does prevail. We lost that argument. This is the reality to face even while refusing to partake in it.
When Donald Trump came along, a national figure for the first time at least signalling the truth about Islam, citing the terrifying polling showing the support of American Muslims for sharia, later boldly articulating the perils of the spread of sharia (Islamic law) in this country through Islamic immigration (which he and, overwhelmingly, his primary voters wanted to halt), he burst through the lockdown on honest talk of Islam that the Establishment had enforced ever since 19 Muslims (15 Saudis) on the jihad took down the Twin Towers on 9/11. With such a president, things might have gone very differently ... and so long as Trump remains in office, it is at least conceivable that they still might.
But such a turnabout would require fundamental changes inside the White House itself -- and inside Trump himself.
There is a Twilight Zone aspect to the last several months, which already feel like an eternity.
Like other supernatural phenomena, these months contain a mystery:
How did they rewire the Donald Trump we Deplorables voted for?