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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn on chaos in Egypt, Syria and Michigan

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HH: John Boehner is at the White House this hour, so none of us are safe. But here to help us walk through that minefield is Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Everything Steyn is available at, including wonderful Christmas presents for the entire family. Merry Christmas to you, Mark, I hope it’s cold and snowing in New Hampshire.

MS: Yeah, and it’s partly snowy here. I drove down from Montreal late last night, and it was one of those picture perfect, soft, early Winter snowfalls, which I greatly enjoyed. So I love the weather this time of year.

HH: I am going to talk with you about fiscal cliff in Michigan, but I want to begin by focusing on Egypt, because on Saturday, a story that’s getting, I think, really very little attention, the country is going to have forced down and a diktat from in essence a strong man coupist Islamist. And no one is talking about it. Any other country in the world that held a snap election on a referendum constitution that was going to deny religious rights and lots of rights to vast numbers of people would draw the ire of the United States government, Mark. But we’re not saying anything.

MS: Yeah, and it’s interesting how all the think tanks have fallen silent, the guys who would normally be asking who lost Egypt, which is really what’s happened. If you go back to the inauguration of the kingdom of Egypt in 1922, it was kind of a whacky state, but it had a constitution basically broadly similar to the Western system in Canada or Britain or Australia or whatever. And now, it has a system that gives Islam primacy, and puts anyone who happens to dissent from Islamic law in a very weak position. But you’re not hearing anything about it from the administration. The administration, and not just the administration, by the way, but the Pentagon, if the rumors about the new U.S. Army handbook for soldiers in Muslim countries is correct, basically the soldier of the United States Army serving in that part of the world are instructed to say nothing about subjects such as women’s rights, Islam generally, pedophilia, if they’re in Afghanistan. And basically, if that’s the word that the man on the ground is getting, it’s no surprise that the guys in the White House aren’t saying anything, either.

HH: I’m also surprised by the silence in Syria where scud missiles, those notoriously inaccurate instruments of war are being used by the regime on the people. And I just would have expected, Mark Steyn, that this administration, which has planted its flag on the Arab Spring liberalization, and said they had to intervene in Libya to prevent a humanitarian disaster is saying nothing.

MS: No, I mean, when you say they planted their flag on the Arab Spring, I wouldn’t put it quite like that. They kind of hooked their pennant to the last bit of bunting flying off the back end of the truck of the Arab Spring. I think the administration last year was hoping to kind of catch a ride on the coattails of the Arab Spring without actually having to do anything. As we understand now, and as is generally true in foreign policy, it is always a lot more complicated than good guys and bad guys, and they don’t seem to have the stomach for that. And in that sense, they’re observers, which is fascinating, really. This is the, there have never been changes rocketing through the Arab world on this scale that have had nothing to do with the great powers beyond the region, whether one is talking about Turkey, Britain, France, or more recently, America and the Soviet Union. The rest of the world is irrelevant to this. This is basically a hard core shift in which the most backward and militant form of Islam is taking control in one nation after another.

HH: But this afternoon, Mark, comes word that we are probably going to unleash our secret weapon. Susan Rice has withdrawn her campaign to become secretary of state, which means that John Kerry will probably be the next secretary of state. And we are going to turn him loose on the opponents of America.

MS: Yeah, I know. I can’t wait. There’s a fabulous picture of John Kerry sitting next to Assad in his presidential palace. John Kerry’s already had more summits with Assad than most full-serving heads of government around the world have. I don’t even know why. I think if we’re looking, if John Boehner is looking for budget cuts, I think sending Senators out to hold summits with foreign heads of state, and heads of government, yeah, I know it’s just a few rinky-dink billions all told, but I think whatever public money was spent to fly John Kerry out of the country basically should be clawed back. It’s…this is hilarious. The guy has been on the wrong side of every issue in foreign policy is now going to be the face of American foreign policy.

HH: Oh, we’re going to send him with Joe Biden, I hope, with a few trips, because isn’t that quite a pair representing the United States of America, John Kerry and Joe Biden?

MS: Yeah, and you know, I mean, we can laugh about it, but actually, it’s not, you know, when Joe Biden goes Obama, he’s the toughest hombre who ever lived, this was the decision to take out bin Laden, to pull the trigger as Obama did personally, this was the toughest decision any world leader has had to make in 2,000 years since Pontius Pilate decided to whack Jesus, this is the toughest decision any guy has ever had to take…and in fact, the reality is the guy who took the tough decision was that little Pakistani doctor who made the decision to go to the Americans, and is now being tortured in jail. And Mr. Tough Guy, Joe Biden, and the toughest hombre in a millennium, Obama, haven’t done a thing about him, poor fellow.

HH: I think in the Zero Dark Thirty movie, that he has a bit role. But that it what it’s going to be, because he’s going to be in little bits by the time the Obama administration has absolutely nothing to do with that poor guy. Mark, I want to finish by talking about, make sure I talk…yesterday, we don’t want Fox News to know this, we lifted the audio of you talking to Neil Cavuto, because no one else has made this point, which is it is shameful how the media has covered the assault on reporters, and I don’t care if you like Crowder or not. I don’t care if you think he’s funny or bad. We don’t, this happens in Tahrir Square. It doesn’t happen in Grand Rapids.

MS: Well, it does happen in Grand Rapids. It happened in Wisconsin. And it will happen more often. And the excuse of the left, that somehow a reporter who goes down there, and who isn’t fully on board with everything the guys are doing is asking for it. And by the way, let’s put Crowder to one side. Collapsing a tent full of women and old people in the hopes that maybe in the panic some of them will get trampled to death, I mean, this is the point. This is the left in action, and they’re very successful, they’ve been allowed to get away with doing this. They’ve been given a pass by all the Diane Sawyers and all the Barbara Walters, and all the nice, soft focus, speak softly and coo about the compassion and caringness of the Democrats. This is what the Democrats look like at street level. And they should be called on that.

HH: And the other thing that’s going on at street level is the regulatory push that is underway, this avalanche of regulations. And we need people like Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general in Virginia, who is on today talking about why he’s suing the EPA’s latest power grab in Virginia. And Mark, I think that’s what Boehner and all of the colleagues in the Republican leadership need to do. The Speaker needs to start pushing back.

MS: Well look, federal regulation, this is aside from states and county and municipal, federal regulation alone sucks up 10% of GDP, which basically means we take the GDP of Canada or India and flush it down the toilet every year just in complying with the Bureau of Compliance in Washington. I mean, and people wonder why the economy is dead. You’re never going to, to crawl back…that’s as much a reason for people outsourcing things out of the country as it is to cheap labor or anything. Federal regulation is throttling this country.

HH: Is Montreal looking better and better? Do they have more vibrancy up north?

MS: Well, I got there, and you know, I said wow, you know, a socialist basket case trying to operate on failed ideas from Europe. And the guy said, but enough about America. What do you think of Quebec? So you know, things have changed, Hugh.

HH: All right, and then the last question, the Golden Globes came out today, and not surprisingly, Lincoln’s got the long list of nominees. Have you seen it yet?

MS: I haven’t seen it, yet, and I’m slightly nervous about doing so. I mean, I love…one of the horrible things about having a left wing Hollywood is it’s not just that they control the present, but that they control the past, too. And we see the past through their eyes. I love the great days of Hollywood when Raymond Massey played Lincoln in the 30s and 40s, and they used to say he won’t be satisfied with his performance until he’s shot. Raymond Massey is how I think of as Lincoln. But I’d like to see this new thing, and I hope for better things from it than I’ve heard.

HH: And Zero Dark Whatever that is? Are you going to go see that one?

MS: Well look, I’m going with my kids to The Hobbit this week.

HH: Oh, good.

MS: I may crawl down there with Bilbo Baggins if I have to see too many of these things.

HH: Mark Steyn, Merry Christmas to you., America, still time to get everything that you need for Christmas from

End of interview.


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