A Most Serene Choice

In 301 A.D., a stonemason and Christian named Marinus from a small Adriatic island fled the rantings of a woman gone mad claiming him as her husband, and founded a chapel and monastery on an Apennine mountain to live out his life as a hermit. Marinus became Saint Marinus, and the mountain grew into San Marino, the oldest extant independent sovereign state in the world.

Somehow, through centuries of Duchies and Popes, Borgias and Mussolinis, San Marino has retained its independence, with periods of brief occupation in 1503 and 1739. Even Napoleon never conquered the place. Wholly surrounded by Italy, the Sammarinese number less than 35,000 speak Romagnol and Italian, and are almost all Roman Catholic. And though never even a regional powerhouse, it must have done some things right for its flag to wave over Monte Titano through the centuries.

In fact, San Marino’s diplomatic maneuverings with the French tyrant Napoleon illustrate the wisdom that modern statesmen too often lack. In 1797, with Napoleon’s armies awash over Europe, advancing through northern Italy toward the San Marino’s longtime ally the Papal States, San Marino felt the growing pressure of both the rock and the hard place. The French demanded the arrest of the anti-French Bishop of Rimini. Showing the smiling duplicity essential to successful diplomats, Antonio Onofri, one of the two Captains Regent of San Marino – the offices vested with ruling authority over San Marino since 1243 – promised General Berthier San Marino would do all they could to help the French, even as the bishop fled across the border to safety.

But it was San Marino’s next decision that offers the real lesson. Napoleon was so impressed by Onofri and by San Marino, he sent his personal friend and emissary, the scientist Gasparre Monge, to San Marino with a letter that not only guaranteed its independence, but offered to extend San Marino’s borders – at the expense of San Marino’s neighboring Italian provinces.

San Marino, having befriended the great French conqueror, now had the chance to grow, to gain new land, new people, new riches. This is how the great grow ever greater, isn’t it?

The Captains Regent of the Most Serene Republic of San Marino turned Napoleon down. They would gain no new territory for their friendship. They wisely saw that Napoleon’s conquests might prove short-lived, and those he defeated might yet regain the advantage – and take their revenge on not only Napoleon, but Napoleon’s friends. By accepting Napoleon’s offer, the Captains Regent rightly saw it, perhaps as only the rulers of a state founded by a Catholic saint could, as a devil’s bargain: what might appear as San Marino’s triumph could by the very thing to risk its independence.

San Marino stayed content with its mountaintop, and today, after two more centuries of Italian revolutions, fascist takeovers, Nazi occupation, and communist infiltration, its borders remain unchanged since 1463, and San Marino remains independent.

Would any of our leaders today show such wisdom? To decline conquest, when tempted with it? Come Election Day, will any of the victors show the wisdom to know that, as the Eastern sage put it, “this too shall pass.”

Are you surprised that Borat lies too?

It was during the 2008 election that I realized I couldn’t bring myself to vote for John McCain for President. Earlier that year VADM Mike Rogers visited my command and my wife and I had a chance to meet him at a social event. The man was very well spoken and shared quite a few good sea stories while demonstrating a sharp intellect. Friends of mine that had worked for him had previously vouched for him as a hard working, honest person. So when he was nominated to become the NSA director, I had to watch his nomination.

To my horror, Senator John McCain interviewed VADM Rogers and treated him like dirt. Not only did he constantly interrupt him, but he belittled his experience and used the interview to score political points against others. The previous members, mostly Democrats, had asked hard but fair questions and acted decently. That incident caused me to look further into Senator McCain’s record, which wasn’t impressive.

Since I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him, I decided to check out the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. He held a rally at Christopher Newport University, so I went to see him. After his speech, he mingled in the crowd to shake hands. I mentioned to him I was in the Navy, and he recalled his time in Panama when he worked for the CIA. Since I had his ear, I had to ask him about his appearance in the “Borat” film.

Rolling his eyes, he told me his entertaining story. “Borat” showed up with sufficiently forged papers that made him look relatively official. The audio you hear in the movie is dubbed, because during the actual interview, “Borat” spoke in a low voice so that Barr couldn’t hear all the words. Once Barr realized it was a setup, he promptly stopped the interview.

Barr’s appearance in “Borat” wasn’t big news, so I didn’t have much reason to doubt his claim. At the time, it was an entertaining story, and I took away the lesson that Hollywood will gladly lie to you to make a movie. Flash forward, and here we are again, this time with a new “Borat” movie that claims to have Rudy Giuliani undressing with an underage girl. Sure, its possible, but given how “Borat” movies are filmed, I’ve got my doubts.

So count me out for the new “Borat” film. I can’t see it in theaters anyway, and I’m sure I can find something else useful to do.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Jews Protecting Arabs Visiting Mosque from Palestinians

File this under stories that you never thought you would see.

We have lived to see Arabs enter Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli protection. It is shameful.

Elder of Ziyon notes the irony here:

The only reason any Arabs need Israeli protection to visit the site is to save their lives from the hateful Palestinians who would lynch them if they could.

In fact, an Emirati tweeted the video I published yesterday of Palestinians harassing Gulf visitors to the site with the caption, “Thank God that Jerusalem is in the hands of the State of Israel.”

In fairness when the Arab paper called it “disgraceful” it was not because Arabs are being attacked:

Is there any real difference between an Arab delegation visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli protection and hordes of extremist Israeli settlers whose incursions and practice of Talmudic rituals there take place under the protection of the same security forces? The crime of these Arabs is arguably greater.

Mind you the fact that Palestinians are threatening and beating Arabs isn’t the disgrace to the writer, but that Israeli security stops the beatings.

No wonder ANTIFA & BLM like these guys so much, they’re birds of a feather.

In normal times this is a story that might be all over the place.

But now that the Democrats are in full BDS Anti-Israel mode this is the invisible story as it’s the type of thing that disturbs the narrative.