So this “Muslim ban” thing… is a ban or not?
Does it even have to do with Muslims or not? In the Washington Post, scholar Tom Nichols writes:
Trump promised a Muslim ban during the campaign. But the executive order now running into multiple challenges is not actually a Muslim ban: It affects the citizens, regardless of faith, of several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa but has no relevance to persons of Islamic faith who carry the passports of almost 200 other countries. Nonetheless, pundits and critics — and some Trump surrogates— are happy to call it one. This sends a message to Trump’s voters that he is a decisive leader who has fulfilled his promise, even though he has done no such thing. “I love it when they bash him, because it tells me he’s doing the right thing,” a Wisconsin retiree told the New York Times.
So… all this complaining that Trump has issued an illegal executive order that discriminates against religion, when the order does not in fact discriminate against religion, ends up pleasing those Trump constituents who would welcome an illegal discrimination against religion.
The president fired all the ambassadors! He’s issuing executive orders! He’s putting political cronies into trusted positions! He’s declaring his inauguration to be a special national day! Well, of course he is. It’s what presidents do in their first weeks in office. It’s what Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did, too.
With that said, there’s plenty of cause for worry. I wrote at length for more than a year about why I thought Trump should not be president, and nothing since has eased my concerns about his temperament or policies. I am grieved at the needless insults to our allies in NATO; I believe the phone call with Taiwan was reckless; I am appalled at the closeness between an American administration and the Russian enemy regime led by Vladimir Putin. I could go on. As a scholar of international security affairs, I wish we were talking about these issues on their merits. Unfortunately, our national debate is instead consumed with overreaction and hysteria, which not only cloud important questions but in the short term paradoxically play to the president’s advantage, no matter how much his opponents wish otherwise.