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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn On No-Go Zones All Over Western Europe, And President Tee Time’s Problem with Bibi

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HH: I’m glad to welcome back as we do on Thursdays when we are lucky, Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read everything Mark Steyn does over at And if you’re near Toronto, you can go see him on Wednesday night at 7pm at the Indigo Manulife Center. Mark, I was actually hoping it was the Inigo Montoya Center, but it’s apparently not the Inigo Montoya Center. What is the Indigo Manulife Center?

MS: Yeah, it’s the big, last time I played there, it’s the big flagship bookstore. It was at the height of my human rights battles, and they had mounted police battering back the protestors as I was arriving. So I certainly hope they’ll be as controversial a turnout as that this time.

HH: And you’ll be signing The un-Documented Mark Steyn. Mark, Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill. And I am curious given all of the events of the spiraling world, Yemen is falling apart as we speak. The president has fled. The Houthis are now in control. I think they’re kind of Hezbollah South, I think. They’re a franchise of Hezbollah. What do you think Churchill would make of the world gone completely chaotic?

MS: Well in some ways, it’s the map he drew. The modern Middle East, including countries that are a big part of the news today, such as Iraq and Syria, was basically drawn up on a wet Tuesday afternoon by Churchill and his French counterpart in 1921 after lunch. And so in a sense, this is the wheel coming full circle. He understood, I think, power, the limits of power, and how to advance limited power effectively far more than the present leadership in Washington or London. And I think in that sense, what is, watching a critical region to the world implode, basically, we’ve got one failed state after another on Obama’s watch. We’ve got Syria, we’ve got Libya, we’ve now got Yemen. I think he would be pretty amazed at the studied indifference of a White House which was actually boasting about Yemen as one of its success stories just a year ago.

HH: I don’t think he would be amazed by the situation in India. He was against partitioning. He was against independence. And of course, partition brought us A.Q. Khan, who came up to Europe and stole the bomb, and then took it back to Pakistan, and who knows where else it went as a result, maybe Iran. We don’t know what Khan contributed to Iran, but there are suspicions. Churchill was against that from the get-go, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yeah, well Pakistan, I don’t think there’s any doubt, was the worst mistake of British post-war imperial policy. Basically, the Indian empire was carved up into two states. That’s not entirely true. There’s little bits like Burma, which was also a disaster, and Sri Lanka, Ceylon as it then was. But basically, the mainland was carved up into two states. One, India, was pluralist, democratic and forward-looking, and one, Pakistan, was ideological, turned in on itself, and to a large degree, I think, has gone backwards over the 65 years since independence. And Churchill wouldn’t have been surprised about that. Basically, anything that Pakistan that works in Pakistan is a residue of pre-independence, such as the hospital that those children at that school where the massacre was a few weeks ago, the hospital there was built by the wife of Britain’s viceroy in the 1920s, essentially. That still functions. Everything they’ve been doing in the last 65 years has basically been driving themselves in the opposite direction to India.

HH: And I must say this White House does not give me any confidence that they have any idea what’s going to happen in Pakistan next. Coming up after the break, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s going to join me, Mark Steyn. And he’s catching a lot of heat for talking about no-go zones in London this week. What do you make of that controversy and the point that Jindal was trying to make when he was pressed by the CNN reporter to name Tube stops or something? I’m not sure what he was talking about.

MS: Well, I don’t think that’s difficult. I’ve walked around the East End. I’ve walked around, for example, past what used to be a famous gay pub on, just off the Commercial Road that is no longer there, where what they call the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets is, now holds sway. A couple of years ago on Holocaust Memorial Day, a group of Jews were touring the old Jewish West End, where fellows like Lionel Bart, the composer of Oliver, came from. And they were greeted by youths of a certain persuasion who pelted them with stones, and a Canadian tourist and an American tourist wound up being taken to the hospital. That’s Jews stoned on Holocaust Memorial Day in the East End of London. Likewise, there are no-go zones in parts of Birmingham in the Midlands, where in nothing flat, a city that was 0% Muslim 50 years ago now is 22% Muslim. They’re the demographic energy in the city. A senior British police officer was talking about this. He was saying, he wasn’t calling them no-go zones. He was putting it in a sort of positive way, that these communities prefer to police themselves, as it were. And that’s why we just leave them to get on with it. And one consequence of that is that nobody who isn’t a member of those “communities” likes to go there. But those no-go zones are not as advanced as they are in France, but they are real and they are growing in British cities. They’re true in Sweden. I walked through Rosengard in Sweden. And I was warned by the two lovely, leggy Swedish blondes I was having a cup of coffee with twenty minutes earlier not to go there at dusk. And you go there at dusk, and it’s all fiercely bearded young men and covered women who came from Muslim countries where they didn’t have to be covered, but they emigrate to Sweden, and suddenly, not to get into any trouble from those bearded, young men, they’re forced to go covered. Those no-go zones are real in almost every country in Western Europe now.

HH: Now I want to talk about one no-go zone, which is all of ISIS land. But we’ve been going there in the air. And today, Stuart Jones, our ambassador to Iraq that no one’s probably ever hear of until today said that we’ve killed 6,000 ISIS fighters with U.S.-led air strikes, which would be, you know, that would be a phenomenal number if we had actually killed ISIS fighters. But how in the world do we know that, do you think, Mark Steyn?

MS: I have no idea where he got that number from. And I really have no idea on what basis he calculates that. I don’t see, in fact, when you’re waging a war from the air, that you can actually, that you can be that precise about who and what exactly you’re killing. I mean, the reality is that there has been some success in the Kurdish north, in large part because the Kurds are on the ground there. In the part of Iraq that I know best, which is the western Iraqi desert, there has not been success, and ISIS have consolidated their hold there. And in Syria, it’s even worse. They’ve actually taken territory there. I’m not entirely sure how an ambassador to Iraq who cannot leave his embassy, which is the position this guy is in, basically, whether he’s that reliable an observer on what’s going on in the ground there.

HH: It just seems like puff talk of the most unusual sort. So going back to the Middle East, Netanyahu has been prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been invited by Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to address the House in March. The White House announced today the President’s not going to meet with him because they have an election two weeks later. What do you make of that? And what do you think of John Boehner’s move to invite the prime minister of Israel?

MS: Well you know, as I understand Josh Earnest’s point, this is a total breech of protocol, that the White House is in a complete huff about it. It’s completely inappropriate for Boehner to invite this guy without this guy, although actually, they didn’t say that. They did it even, they did something even worse. They blamed it on Netanyahu, suggesting that he should have run it by the White House before accepting the invitation. I think that’s nonsense. That’s going nowhere. He’s not a head of state.

HH: And the other part, Mark, from the White House that issues executive order after executive order, all of which are unprecedented. For them to shout unprecedented of John Boehner is a little bit odd.

MS: Well I know, but the point is Boehner and the Republicans take this stuff. I mean, there’s nothing to stop them from inviting, as I said, a prime minister is not a head of state. They can invite Angela Merkel to talk to them, they can invite Tony Abbott down in Oz to come and talk to them. They just should tell him, you know, this is ridiculous. You know, President Tee Time up on the links while the world burns, that he’s somehow, that it’s offended his amor pop because Netanyahu didn’t get on the phone and ask the Oval Office if he could have a visa rather than just flying in and landing it at JFK or wherever. I mean, this is like, this is piffle for this guy to be worrying about at this stage in the world affairs.

HH: Mark, as you go to Toronto for your book signing, I hope you’ll begin your next volume, President Tee Time. I don’t know if that’s occurred to you, yet, but that is the perfect title. Mark Steyn, you can read everything Mark writes at Follow him on Twitter @MarkSteynOnline.

End of interview.


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