Now we know: the Donald in office is every bit as much of a disaster as we feared he'd be. The tone's been set by this grotesque decision to ban entry from certain Muslim countries (but not Saudi Arabia or Egypt). A judge has already stepped in to halt the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports, and the lawyers are on the case. So the pattern is set: Trump acts like a despot, clearing the Washington departments of anyone competent and replacing them with his cronies, while the underpinnings of a constitutional liberal democracy are tested to the limit in their efforts to hold his dictatorial instincts in check.
And it's so badly thought through, this move. Apart from going against everything the US used to stand for, its blatant bigotry will surely backfire. Those justifying their violence against the West by accusations of "Islamophobia" and the like now have something definite to shout about.
The one thing we didn't know about Trump before he took office was whether or not he'd show himself to be a clever political operator. Well, that's that settled then. He clearly doesn't have a clue.
It is not a happy scene. The world order is falling apart, tyrants are setting the global agenda from their palaces in Moscow, Beijing and Ankara, and the president of the United States is acting like a vindictive, out-of-control crazy person.
This is going to end very, very badly.
Update: this sums it up pretty well.
"Not only is it immoral and stupid, it's also counterproductive," says Patrick Skinner, a former CIA counterterrorism case officer.... "We've got military, intelligence, and diplomatic personnel on the ground right now in Syria, Libya, and Iraq who are working side by side with the people, embedded in combat, and training and advising. At no time in the US's history have we depended more on local—and I mean local—partnerships for counterterrorism. We need people in Al Bab, Syria; we depend on people in a certain part of eastern Mosul, Iraq; in Cert, Libya. At the exact moment we need them most, we're telling these people, 'Get screwed.'"
Kirk W. Johnson, who spent a year on the reconstruction in Fallujah in Iraq with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), echoes Skinner's fears: "This will have immediate national security implications, in that we are not going to be able to recruit people to help us right now, and people are not going to step forward to help us in any future wars if this is our stance."...
"These people who are directly and immediately impacted by this have done more to help our country than just about every breathing American has—especially the president. Shame is not a strong enough word for today. This is a disgraceful moment."