I'll be back on the radio this morning talking about my brand new book coast to coast with the great Glenn Beck, at 10am Eastern/7am Pacific. But on Thursday I kept my regular date with Hugh Hewitt, serving this week as the warm-up act for Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. With so many of these guys on the show Hugh began by asking me how much a presidential candidate should be expected to know:
HUGH HEWITT: Donald is not happy with me this afternoon because he thinks I asked him some "gotcha questions" about Soleimani and the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. Do you think those are "gotcha questions?"
MARK STEYN: You're a loser, Hugh! That's my answer to you (laughs).
MS: They're not "gotcha questions" - and you were very hard with Ben Carson when he didn't know that the Baltic States were in NATO. There are things that you should know... I would like if a candidate was well-informed on these things, but you know, on the other hand, sometimes there are things that are more important. George Bush, Sr. could tell you the name of the deputy tourism minister of the South Sandwich Islands and he rather touchingly thought that would impress people when he was on the stump in Iowa, and it turned out not to matter.
Hugh agreed that a president needs to be able to see the big picture, and in this case the big picture is pretty yu-u-u-uge:
HH: It's a disaster because the Quds force, it's like – I know Godwin's law, you never go – but, it's re-armament of the bad guys who are depleted in every way, shape, form, and in every bank account.
MS: Well, I think it's worse than that. I don't like the Nazi and the Munich comparisons because it's like Hitler is the only historical figure Herman Cain can even name. So I don't like to go there, but there's actually a difference. The Germans were careful until the war to observe – more or less – the norms of civilized relations between sovereign states. When Lord Halifax flew into Germany and accidentally gave his hat and coat to Hitler thinking he was the butler, he didn't have to worry that the British Embassy in Berlin would be seized and the diplomats held hostage. That's Iran. Iran seized those diplomats. Iran blew up a community center in Argentina. Iran took out a hit contract on Salman Rushdie and murdered his publishers. Because it is not like other states, even as other bad states. It's not like Russia. It's not like China. And the idea that giving these people a green-light and a hundred and fifty billion dollars and thinking that it will not shift the balance of power in the region in the worst way, unlike anything seen since the Ottoman collapse 95 years ago, I think it's just delusional.
We then discussed the refugee tide lapping Europe:
HH: From Turkey float thousands of people towards Greece. From Libya flow thousands of people towards Italy. This is what the Obama "lead-from-behind" doctrine has brought about. But what ought Europe to do as a united response because it's just massive?
MS: Yes, and they will be overwhelmed... They are supposed – Continental Europe, I'm excepting the British Isles because they are not part of that – to be a part of this thing called the Schengen Agreement, where basically if you can get into one European country, you can get to all the others. So the idea is get a foothold in relatively poor Southeast Europe and head northwest to where the welfare gravy train is... And this is the "camp of the saints" scenario that a great French novelist laid out forty years coming true. You can basically read that novel, and what's interesting is that not only is the description of the landings spot-on, but the passive reaction of the political class and the intellectual class he also got right, too.
HH: I don't know the novel, Mark. What is it?
MS: It's Jean Raspail. It's called The Camp of the Saints, and the saints are the refugees basically from Africa and other parts of the developing world that wash up on the French coast – the Cote d'Azur – on the topless beaches of southern France, and the French intellectual class and political class have no idea what to do about it. They can no longer muster the argument to defend the integrity of French soil, and in the end it ends with the government collapsing and the saints just swarming ashore from the beaches and taking over France. And, when you listen to the way Angela Merkel is talking, she's talking exactly like the feeble politicians did in Monsieur Raspail's novel forty years ago.
As I said up top, I'll be on the radio across America with Glenn Beck in a couple of hours at 10am Eastern/7am Pacific and then taking a break from book promotion duties for the Labor Day and/or Labour Day weekend, but back at it on the telly on Tuesday.