I have neither posted on this blog regarding the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, nor updated the Brexit situation recently – let this stand for both!
Last June’s Brexit vote to leave the EU triggered unstoppable rage amongst those who wanted Britain to remain. For months they issued bloodcurdling warnings about “hard Brexit” – leaving the EU’s single market which they claimed would produce an economic apocalypse. Yet this week the prime minister, Theresa May, suddenly came out for precisely that.
Remaining in the single market, she said, was simply incompatible with leaving the EU. And she issued a not-so-veiled threat that if the EU tried to punish Britain for leaving, the UK would block EU access to its economic supply chains, the City of London financial center and even British intelligence.
This speech provoked apoplexy among both Remainers and European leaders, who furiously denounced what they claimed were unwarranted and destructive threats. But for months the EU has been threatening Britain that it will punish it severely for Brexit. All Mrs. May has now done is state that Britain will defend itself against such aggression.
There is a great difference between making a threat and defending yourself against an aggressor who is threatening you. The first is reprehensible, the second essential. Mrs. May’s threat to hit back hard was intended as a deterrent to defend her country’s interests.
On President Trump:
The incoming president has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign of vilification. His remarks, which have sometimes been truly off-color and often inconsistent, have nevertheless been twisted to turn him from someone about whom one might reasonably have anxieties into a monster.
This onslaught culminated in BuzzFeed’s dossier of character assassination against him, which it published even though its editor-in-chief Ben Smith admitted that it “contained errors” and there was “serious reason to doubt the allegations.”
At his first press conference Mr. Trump denounced CNN, which had run with the dossier, for producing “fake news” – the very charge leveled by the Left against his own supporters. Since publishing this dossier was clearly a journalistic travesty, Mr. Trump turned the Left’s weapon into a boomerang and thus rendered it worse than useless.
Among the media and anti-Trump commentators, this provoked outrage. There was no acknowledgment of the wholesale breach of journalistic ethics by a hostile and biased media. Instead, Mr. Trump was said to be riding roughshod over democracy. But he was just fighting back against the media’s abuse of its power. This was in fact a moral response. People doing bad things need to be held to account in order to stop them doing more bad things.
The distinction between aggression and self-defense, however, is simply not understood by the post-moral Left. But Mr. Trump’s strategy of hitting back very hard against aggression suggests a crucial change for the better in the way America will deal with the world.