In the early hours of Saturday morning, US, UK and French forces struck Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. We'll see what, if anything, comes of that.
One notes that Germany did not participate in the attacks - which is odd, considering that the most significant event in German life this last half-decade has been the arrival of millions of young, male so-called "Syrian" so-called "refugees" fleeing the chaos of "their" benighted land, and inflicting a whole lot on their Teuton hosts. On the other hand, unless I've missed a walk-back, Mutti Merkel's official position remains the more "refugees" the better. So presumably she won't be satisfied till everyone flees everywhere and settles in Germany.
~As some Canadian readers have spotted, in June the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms will be presenting me with the inaugural George Jonas Freedom Award - which is a great honour for me but doesn't quite compensate for the loss of the dazzling clarity of George's writing. When he died two years ago, I quoted this passage:
The new kind of immigrant doesn't simply compete with the host population for economic opportunity and space (which can be shared) but for identity (which cannot). Immigrants can and do create jobs, but can't create identities for the host population, only compete for the existing identity of a nation. This makes certain "small" matters, often dismissed as merely symbolic — permitting turbans on construction sites, say, or ceremonial daggers in schools — actually more important than ostensibly hard-nosed economic issues. A flag — a piece of fabric on a stick — is just a symbol, but a demonstration in America conducted under an American flag is materially different from one conducted under the flag of Mexico. The first is a country trying to share a problem; the second, a problem trying to share a country.
George was born in Budapest and fled after the 1956 uprising. Toronto is full of Hungarian émigrés (the late Peter Munk, for example, whom I discussed here) and, from my entirely unscientific shooting of the breeze on the matter, they have very mixed views of Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party. As well one should: a civilized person should always retain mixed views of politicians. Nevertheless, unlike Chancellor Merkel, Theresa May, Justin Trudeau and most other western leaders, Orbán grasps George's central point - the central point of western life two decades into the new century: that once you turn a nation trying to share its problems into a problem trying to share a nation, there are no easy roads back.
That's why Orbán and Fidesz retained their parliamentary super-majority in last week's elections: Hungarians see Angela Merkel crowing, "We can do this!", and have no wish to join the Great Experiment. The way things are going we'll all be Syria, so at least the bombing runs will have less far to travel.
~Meanwhile, from George Jonas' adopted land, we have big breaking news from the CBC:
Survey Suggests Canadians Reject 'Man Buns' on RCMP Officers
But I thought the Mounties always get their man-buns.
~Back in Washington, the biggest news on the domestic front is the slow-motion resignation of Paul Ryan. He's announced he'll be stepping down as Speaker of the House, and as a congressman, after November's election. Seven or nine months' notice of your resignation as Speaker is completely preposterous. And, given that neither he nor McConnell have plans to enact any legislation between now and his last day in office, it's also a near parody of Congressional inertia.
Congressman Ryan seems a pleasant fellow. I don't know him, but at the Independent Women's Forum gala last fall he bounded up on stage to present an award to his friend Diane Hendricks, spotted me in the crowd, and said, "Hey, Mark Steyn! I've read your books." Plural. Which was sweet of him. Nevertheless, unless you think the function of the Republican Congress is to obstruct the program on which the Republican President was elected, his speakership has to be accounted a failure. A mere two-and-a-half years ago, I quoted a very prescient Pat Buchanan:
Paul Ryan for Speaker? I like this bit at the end of Pat Buchanan's latest column:
'After the GOP capture of the House in 2010, Ryan, with new Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, wrote a book about what they were going to do, titled, "Young Guns."
'"Young Guns" Cantor and McCarthy are now lying toes up in the OK Corral, and if Paul Ryan becomes speaker, he will end up the same way.'
The guns were young but they were shooting the same old blanks.
Indeed. Mr Ryan now seeks to bequeath his speakership to Kevin McCarthy. As his year-long resignation proceeds, we will see how quickly power and influence drain away.
~I'll be at the New York Supreme Court next Thursday morning for what will hopefully be the final act in CRTV's gazillion-dollar year-long lawsuit against me. And, with that wrapped up, I'll be making a few live appearances in Vermont, Florida (with Mr Snerdley from Rush) and New York over the next three or so weeks. Full details here.
As for this weekend, I'll be back later today with our Saturday movie date, and also to read the concluding episode of our current Tale for Our Time - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. If you've a friend who'd appreciate the gift of Steyn, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets you sign up a chum for the Club. You'll find more details here - and don't forget, over at the Steyn store, our Steynamite Specials on books and much more.