As the tumult continues over President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel from terror-prone nations — what the left is calling, incorrectly, the “Muslim ban” — few seem to have noticed that Trump has made several strategic gains.
Those gains are secure even though the courts have issued a temporary stay on the executive order; even though the left is using protests to fundraise and mobilize political support; and even if the order is eventually revised to be more lenient.
The first and most important thing that Trump has done is put the world on notice that the United States is now serious about preventing terrorism from reaching our shores. The commotion and outrage at the nation’s airports, predominantly in liberal cities, has generated massive international publicity and will, by itself, act as a deterrent to at least some would-be jihadists.
The second achievement is that even though President Trump’s executive order is not a “Muslim ban” — indeed, it does not even cover 87 percent of the world’s Muslims — it turns out to be useful for people to think that it is. Yes, the left is lying; yes, a “Muslim ban” is more difficult to defend, politically. But the taboo against addressing radical Islam, and Muslim societies, as the source of the terror problem has been shattered — permanently. And, ironically, the more the left makes false claims of a “Muslim ban,” the more it suits the ultimate purpose of putting pressure on the Islamic world to confront its own demons.
The third achievement is that Trump has restored the credibility of American power. He delivered on a campaign promise — and in an unexpected way. That emphasizes that Trump means what he says — and, at the same time, that he is unpredictable. (No more Obama “red lines” that aren’t.) Ironically — again — the more the left rants about Trump being some kind of maniac, the more that helps. We want our enemies to fear us.
Whatever the other merits or flaws of the “Muslim ban,” we are clawing our way back to geostrategic advantage. The left does not understand that. For once, their mendacious dishonesty is useful.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.