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Skripal case becomes even weirder

British say deadly Novichok chemical 8 times more powerful than any other smeared on front door; Yulia Skripal conscious and talking; freeze Russians out of court proceedings

Alexander Mercouris

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Those trying to make sense of the Skripal poisoning will have their work cut out following the news which have been coming out about it over the past week.

Firstly, the British police have announced that they now believe that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the deadly chemical which poisoned them because it was smeared onto their front door.

This announcement has come after weeks of speculation during which a bewildering range of competing theories explaining how the poisoning supposedly took place have appeared in the British media.

These theories have included claims that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were (1) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by a passer-by; (2) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by an aerial drone; (3) contaminated by the supposedly deadly chemical which was brought from Russia in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase where it had been hidden by some third party; and (4) were poisoned by having the supposedly deadly chemical somehow inserted into Sergey Skripal’s car.

The British and other critics of Russia have recently taken to citing as ‘proof’ of Russian guilt the fact that the Russians have supposedly been proposing various theories about who might have poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal.

The British – who unlike the Russians have control of the crime scene and samples of the poison – have however been at least as busy proposing various theories about how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned.

In both cases the fact that the Russian media and the British media – though not it should be stressed the Russian or British governments – have been busy engaging in their respective speculations about who who and how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned is not proof of guilt.

Rather it suggests ignorance, which if anything (especially in Russia’s case) is an indicator of innocence.

As I have said on many occasions, it is the guilty who so far from engaging in a variety of different speculations tend to come up with a single alternative narrative to explain away the facts, which they then pass off as the truth in order to provide themselves with an alibi.

As to the present theory – that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the chemical agent on their front door – note the following:

(1) The British police have not said whether the chemical agent was smeared on the outside of the door or on the inside of the door.

If it was smeared on the outside of the door, then it was an extremely reckless act which might have easily poisoned a delivery person to the house such as a postman.

If it was smeared on the inside of the door, then whilst it might have been placed there by a burglar, the greater probability must be that it was placed there by a visitor.

If so then it is likely that either Sergey or Yulia Skripal or possibly both of them have some knowledge of the identity of this person.  That might make the fact that Yulia Skripal is said to be recovering and is now conscious a matter of great importance for the solution of this mystery.

(2) If Sergey and Yulia Skripal really were poisoned with the chemical agent by coming into contact with it because it was smeared on their front door, then that would mean that the chemical agent took 7 hours to take effect.

Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko has claimed that the British authorities have told him that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by nerve agent A-234, a Novichok type agent which is supposedly “as toxic as VX, as resistant to treatment as soman, and more difficult to detect and easier to manufacture than VX”.

I am not a chemist or a chemical weapons expert, but such a slow acting poison seems at variance with the descriptions of A-234 and VX which I have read.

(3) The suggestion that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with the chemical agent on their front door must for the moment be treated as no more than a theory.  It does however appear to confirm the presence of the chemical agent in the house.

If the latest theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with a chemical agent smeared on their front door begs many questions, then the news that Yulia Skripal is apparently recovering well from the effect of her poisoning, and is now conscious and speaking and is no longer in intensive care, though extremely welcome, in some ways adds further to the mystery.

It suggests that her contact with the poison was either very slight, or – if the poison was A-234 – that its potency has been exaggerated, or that it was not A-234.

That of course adds to the questions raised by the latest British theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with the chemical agent on their front door.

Regardless, the fact that Yulia Skripal is recovering is very welcome news, not just at a human level but also because she is a key witness in the case.

Perhaps, once her recovery is complete, she can answer some of the many unanswered questions about the case.

However Yulia Skripal’s recovery highlights another extraordinary fact about the case.

In the recent proceedings in the High Court where a Judgment was obtained to allow blood samples to be taken from Sergey and Yulia Skripal in order to enable the OPCW investigators to research the chemical, Sergey and Yulia Skripal were represented by lawyers instructed by the Official Solicitor, a British official who regularly acts for parties who cannot represent themselves.

The High Court Judge who heard the case – Mr. Justice Williams – granted the Official Solicitor’s request for blood samples to be taken, saying the following

Given the absence of any contact having been made with the NHS [National Health Service] Trust by any family member, the absence of any evidence of any family in the UK and the limited evidence as to the possible existence of family members in Russia I accept that it is neither practicable nor appropriate in the special context of this case to consult with any relatives of Mr Skripal or Ms Skripal who might fall into the category identified in s.4(7)(b) of the Act

(bold italics added)

This is beyond strange given that no less a person than Sergey Skripal’s niece – who lives in Russia with the rest of Sergey Skripal’s family including his 90 year old mother – had previously been interviewed by the British media.

In fact Skripal’s niece was telling the BBC just days ago of her lack of knowledge of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s condition, and was even being reported as saying on Wednesday that she understood that they had no more than a 1% chance of survival – this just hours before the British authorities announced that Yulia Skripal was making an impressive recovery.

This failure to keep the Skripal family in Russia properly informed of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s condition and of the taking of blood samples from them, is matched by the refusal of the British authorities to allow the Russian authorities consular access to them notwithstanding that Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen not a British citizen (the Russians say that Sergey Skripal has dual nationality and is also a Russian as well as a British citizen).

This is despite the fact that both a bilateral treaty – the 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR (of which Russia is legally the successor state) – and an international treaty – the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations – both appear to require the British authorities to grant consular access to the Russian authorities to Russian citizens such Yulia Skripal who find themselves in difficulties in Britain.

The 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR was moreover presented by the British government to Parliament and came into legal effect in 1968, which presumably makes it a part of British domestic law.

Article 35 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention reads as follows

A consular officer shall be entitled to propose to a court or other competent authority of the receiving State the names of appropriate persons to act as guardians or trustees in respect of a national of the sending State or in respect of the property of such a national in any case where that property is left without supervision.

Article 36 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention reads as follows

(a) A consular officer shall be entitled within the consular district to communicate with, interview and advise a national of the sending State and may render him every assistance including, where necessary, arranging for aid and advice in legal matters.

(b) No restriction shall be placed by the receiving State upon the access of a national of the sending State to the consulate or upon communication by him with the consulate.

Article 5 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

Consular functions consist in:

(1) (a) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, within the limits permitted by international law;……

(e) helping and assisting nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State;….

(h) safeguarding, within the limits imposed by the laws and regulations of the receiving State, the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State, particularly where any guardianship or trusteeship is required with respect to such persons;….

Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

1.With a view to facilitating the exercise of consular functions relating to nationals of the sending State:

(a) consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State;

(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;

(c) consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison,

custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation.  They shall also have the right to visit any national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention in their district in pursuance of a judgement. Nevertheless, consular officers shall refrain from taking action on behalf of a national who is in prison, custody or detention if he expressly opposes such action.

2.The rights referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, subject to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this article are intended.

(bold italics added)

Article 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

If the relevant information is available to the competent authorities of the receiving State, such authorities shall have the duty:

…..

(b) to inform the competent consular post without delay of any case where the appointment of a guardian or trustee appears to be in the interests of a minor or other person lacking full capacity who is a national of the sending State. The giving of this information shall, however, be without prejudice to the operation of the laws and regulations of the receiving State concerning such appointments;…..

(bold italics added)

(I am grateful to John Helmer for sending me copies of these two treaties)

In other words it appears that the British authorities as a matter of both international law and British law should not only have informed the Russian consular authorities of Yulia Skripal’s condition and granted them full access to her, but they should also have discussed with the Russian consular authorities the application to the High Court for the taking of blood samples from her, with the Russian consular authorities rather than the Official Solicitor representing her in those proceedings.

Mr. Justice Williams, the Judge in the High Court case, was clearly worried that the Russian consular authorities were not involved in the proceedings and that members of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family had not been contacted or consulted.

This resulted was this fascinating discussion referred to in paragraph 12 of his Judgment

……As a result of my having appointed a Litigation Friend for Mr and Ms Skripal I raised the issue with the parties of whether this gave rise to any notification obligation pursuant to Articles 36 and 37 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 as Ms Skripal is a Russian national although Mr Skripal became a British national. In the field of care cases in the Family Court the President gave some guidance on this issue in In Re E (A Child) [2014] EWHC 6 (Fam). Mr Thomas QC submitted that as there is no domestic implementation of Art 37 no obligation arises. He also questioned whether the court could be a competent authority. He noted that the Convention is implemented by section 1 and Schedule 1 of the Consular Relations Act 1968 and that this does not include Article 37. I note that at paragraphs 41 and 44 in Re E (above) the President noted the issue in relation to the effect of Article 37 in public international and English domestic law. Mr Sachdeva QC drew my attention to the context in which the President offered the guidance and that it was guidance only for the purposes of care cases in the family court. Both Mr Thomas QC and Mr Sachdeva QC also submitted that even if (and it is a very big if) that guidance could be transposed into the Court of Protection there was good reason for not imposing a notification obligation still less the other obligations the President identified in paragraph 47 of Re E. I am satisfied for the reasons set out above that there is no notification obligation in law on this court. The nature and extent of any good practice which might be followed in Court of Protection cases where a foreign national is the subject of an application may require consideration in another case. In practice, the Russian consular authorities will be made aware of these proceedings because this judgment will be published. I do not consider it necessary to list the issue for the sort of further extensive argument that would be necessary to enable the court to determine if any good practice guidance should be given.

(bold italics added)

Note that Mr. Justice Williams does not seem to have been told by the lawyers representing the Official Solicitor and the British National Health Service about the 1965 bilateral Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR (see above) whilst the discussion which did take place seems to have been narrowly restricted to a discussion of Article 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention – with the lawyers telling the Judge that this has not yet been made part of the law of Britain – with nothing however being said to the Judge about what look to me to be the equally important provisions of Articles 5 and 36 (see above).

I am no expert in this area of the law, but it seems to me that Mr. Justice Williams’s unease about the way the British authorities are handling the matter is made clear by the way he went out of his way in his Judgment to say that the Russian consular authorities would be “made aware of the proceedings because this judgment will be published”.

The hearing in which Mr. Justice Williams made his Judgment took place in private, but Mr. Justice Williams specifically decided that the Judgment itself should be made public, as its preamble makes clear

This judgment was delivered in private. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published on condition that (irrespective of what is contained in the judgment) in any published version of the judgment the anonymity of the witnesses must be strictly preserved. All persons, including representatives of the media, must ensure that this condition is strictly complied with. Failure to do so will be a contempt of court.

Perhaps I am wrong but my impression from the Judge’s words is that one of his reasons for deciding to make his Judgment public was because he was concerned that the Russian consular authorities should know about it.

In addition, as various people have pointed out, the lawyers representing the Official Solicitor and the British National Health Service seem to have told the Judge that there was only limited information about Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family in Russia, and that the Russian consular authorities had made no attempt to contact the hospital where Sergey and Yulia Skripal are being treated.

The claim that the British authorities have only limited information about Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family in Russia is difficult to reconcile with the fact that Sergey Skripal’s niece had by the date of the Judgment already been giving interviews to the British media (see above), whilst the point about the Russian consular authorities not contacting the hospital looks to me something of a red herring since I presume that the British agency which the Russian consular authorities are contacting is not the hospital but the British Foreign Office.

Now that the Russian consular authorities know of the Court proceedings concerning Yulia Skripal which have been underway it would in theory be open to them to instruct lawyers to apply for them to be joined as a party to those proceedings so that they can represent Yulia Skripal in them.

I have no idea whether they are considering doing so, but I do frankly wonder whether the sudden announcement of Yulia Skripal’s recovery – welcome news that it is – might also in part have been intended to forestall such a step by the Russian consular authorities on the grounds that Yulia Skripal is now in a position to make her own decisions.

Irrespective of what happens in the British proceedings, the Russians are now convening a meeting of the OPCW executive council on 2nd April 2018 to discuss the Skripal case and to demand answers to the questions about the case that they have been asking.

It seems however that the only role the OPCW has in the case is to verify the identity of the chemical agent used.  It is not a competent body to investigate what the British authorities say is a  murder attempt on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, which is currently being investigated by the British police.

The High Court Judgment however appears to confirm that the British authorities are doing all they can to freeze the Russians out of the investigation of the case – which involves an attack on a Russian citizen – and to prevent them from learning any of the facts of the case.

That looks to me not just a violation of due process, but based on the texts of the 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR and the 1963 Vienna Convention which I have seen also a violation of both British and international law.

Given the increasingly strange look the facts of the case are taking (see above), it is however perhaps not so surprising that the British are reluctant to share with the Russians the full facts of the case.

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John Bolton discusses US reasons for INF withdrawal

Despite fears about the US withdrawing from the INF, John Bolton suggests that this is to make way for a more relevant multilateral treaty.

Seraphim Hanisch

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John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump, is in Moscow this week. The main topic of concern to many Russians was the stated intention by President Trump to withdraw the US from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (or INF) Treaty with Russia. With the current record of American hostile and unprovoked actions taken against the Russian Federation over the last two years especially, this move caused a good deal of alarm in Russia.

Bolton had meetings with several leaders in the Russian government, including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and President Vladimir Putin, himself.

Kommersant.ru interviewed Mr. Bolton extensively after some of his meetings had concluded, and asked him about this situation. The interviewer, Elena Chernenko, was very direct in her questioning, and Mr. Bolton was very direct in his answers. What follows is the translation of some of her pertinent questions and Mr. Bolton’s answers:

Elena Chernenko (EC): How did your negotiations with Nikolai Patrushev go? Is it true that you came to Moscow primarily to terminate the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF)?

John Bolton (JB): (Laughs.) Today was my second meeting with Nikolai Patrushev and the staff of the Russian Security Council. The first time I met them was before the summit in Helsinki. I came to prepare the ground for a meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin. Patrushev at the time was understood to be in South Africa. So I met with his deputy [Yuri Averyanov – Kommersant] and other colleagues. Patrushev and I first met in Geneva in August.

In any case, this is the second meeting after Helsinki, and it was scheduled about six weeks ago. Now was simply the right time to meet. We arrived with a broad agenda. Many issues – for example, arms control and all related topics – were discussed in Geneva in August. We discussed them then and planned to do it again in Moscow. And we had these plans before the President’s Saturday statement [on the US intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty. “Kommersant”].

EC: Can you explain [this decision] to us? What are the reasons for this decision?

JB: Five or even more years ago, during the presidency of Barack Obama, the United States concluded that Russia committed substantial violations of the INF Treaty; [that Russia] was involved in the production and deployment of missiles that do not comply with the terms of the agreement. The Obama administration called on Russia to return to fulfilling its obligations. The Trump administration called for the same. But based on Russian statements, it became clear that they [the authorities of the Russian Federation— Kommersant] do not at all believe that any kind of violation occurred. And today, during the talks, my Russian interlocutors very clearly expressed their position – that it is not Russia that is in violation of the INF Treaty, but the United States.

However, rather than devolve the negotiations into a tit-for-tat issue, Mr. Bolton noted the real nature of the problem. He understood that simply asking for Russia to resume compliance with the treaty would not be enough – in fact, for Bolton, and really, for President Trump, whom he represents in this matter – the issue is not just an argument between the US and Russia at all. He continued:

JB: Now, some say: “This is just a negotiating move by President Trump, and if we could force Russia to return to the fulfillment of obligations, the treaty would be saved.” But this is impossible from the point of view of logic.

This is the reality we face. As the president said, Russia is doing what we think is considered a violation of the agreement, and we will not tolerate it without being able to respond. We do not think that withdrawal from the agreement is what creates the problem. We think that what Russia is doing in violation of the INF Treaty is the problem.

There is a second point: No one except us in the world is bound by this treaty. Although this is technically incorrect: lawyers will tell you that the former USSR countries (with the exception of the three Baltic republics, which the US never recognized as part of the USSR), were also bound by the treaty when the USSR collapsed. But the remaining 11 countries do not have any ballistic missiles. That is, only two countries in the world are bound by the INF Treaty. One of these countries violates the agreement. Thus, there is only one country in the world bound by the terms of the document – the USA. And this is unacceptable.

At the same time, we see that China, Iran, the DPRK – they all strengthen their potential with methods that would violate the INF Treaty, if these countries were its signatories. Fifteen years ago, it was possible that the agreement could be extended and made multilateral. But today it is already impracticable in practice. And the threat from China is real – you can ask countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or Australia what they think about the Chinese [missile. – Kommersant] potential. They are nervous about this. Many in Europe and the Middle East are nervous about Iran’s potential.

As the President explained on Saturday, this puts the United States in an unacceptable position. And that is why he promulgated the decision [to withdraw from the INF Treaty. – Kommersant].

So, here, the President’s point of view is that the treaty as it presently stands has two problems: Russia is in violation (and a very good point was conceded by Bolton of how the American side also becomes in violation as well), but the INF treaty only applies to these two countries when the emerging great and regional powers China, North Korea, and Iran, also have these types of missiles.

For President Trump, an effective measure would be to create a multilateral treaty.

This is a very interesting point of discussion. Politically for President Trump, this immediate decision to withdraw from the INF looks like a show of toughness against Russia. Before the midterms this is probably an important optic for him to have.

However, the real problem appears to be the irrelevance of a treaty that applies to only two of the at least five nations that possess such armaments, and if Russia and the US were limiting only their missiles, how does that prevent any other power from doing the same?

While it could be argued that North Korea is no longer a threat because of its progress towards denuclearization, and Iran maintains that it has no nuclear weapons anyway, this leaves China. Although China is not expressing any military threats at this time, the country has shown some increased assertiveness over territories in the South China Sea, and Japan and China have historically bad relations so there is some worry about this matter.

Behind this all, or perhaps more properly said, in concurrence with it, is the expressed intention of Presidents Putin and Trump to meet again for another summit in Paris on November 11. There are further invitations on both sides for the American and Russian presidents to visit one another on home grounds.

This brings up speculation also that President Trump has some level of confidence in the outcome of the US Congressional midterm elections, to be held in two weeks. It appears that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin also will not be thwarted any longer by opinions and scandal over allegations that bear no semblance to reality.

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‘Meme-killing’ EU regulation could end YouTube as we know it, CEO warns

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law.

The Duran

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Via RT


YouTube’s CEO has urged creators on the popular video site to organize against a proposed EU internet regulation, reinforcing fears that the infamous Article 13 could lead to content-killing, meme-maiming restrictions on the web.

The proposed amendments to the EU Copyright Directive would require the automatic removal of any user-created content suspected of violating intellectual property law – with platforms being liable for any alleged copyright infringement. If enacted, the legislation would threaten “both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki warned the site’s content creators in a blog post on Monday.

The regulation would endanger “hundreds of thousands of job,” Wojcicki said, predicting that it would likely force platforms such as YouTube to allow only content from a hand-picked group of companies.

“It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content,” Wojcicki wrote.

While acknowledging that it was important to properly compensate all rights holders, the YouTube chief lamented that the “unintended consequences of Article 13 will put this ecosystem at risk.”

She encouraged YouTubers to use the #SaveYourInternet hashtag to tell the world how the proposed legislation would impact them personally.

“RIP YOUTUBE..IT WAS FUN,” read one rather fatalistic reply to the post. Another comment worried that Article 13 would do “immense damage … particularly to smaller creators.”

The proposal has stirred considerable controversy in Europe and abroad, with critics claiming that the legislation would essentially ban any kind of creative content, ranging from memes to parody videos, that would normally fall under fair use.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube, has opposed Article 13 for months. The measure was advanced in June by the European Parliament. A final vote on the proposed regulation is expected to take place sometime next year.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have also spoken out against Article 13.

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WSJ Op-Ed Cracks The Code: Why Liberal Intellectuals Hate Trump

WSJ: The Real Reason They Hate Trump

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Via Zerohedge


As pundits continue to scratch their heads over the disruptive phenomenon known as Donald Trump, Yale computer science professor and chief scientist at Dittach, David Gelernter, has penned a refreshingly straightforward and blunt Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Trump has been so successful at winning hearts and minds, and why the left – especially those snarky ivory-tower intellectuals, hate him.

Gelernter argues that Trump – despite being a filthy rich “parody of the average American,” is is a regular guy who has successfully resonated with America’s underpinnings.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American,” writes Gelernter. “We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.”

He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton. –WSJ

Gelernter then suggests: “This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?“.

***

The Real Reason They Hate Trump via the Wall Street Journal.

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.

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