(But the new countries don't make much more sense than the last ones did.)
If at first you don't succeed...blame everyone but yourself, learn nothing new and try again.
Donald Trump's second stab at a travel ban — the one the Supreme Court was supposed to weigh in on in October — expired in mid-September. But of course America won't be safe and great again unless it is blocking visitors from countries that rarely try to come here anyway, like North Korea.
That's one of the puzzling additions to the newly ordered "travel ban," which takes effect Oct. 18 and is more permanent than the originals (legal challenges precluding). The other new countries on the list are Venezuela and Chad.
The administration says the new list is about the specific security standards in place in each country, but here's another obvious explanation. Trump wants it to look less like a "Muslim ban" (even though his campaign website previously described it as such) that was slapped together in a week, and more like a coherent policy developed over months.
Unfortunately, the new list is still 75 percent made up of Muslim countries. That's true even though Iraq was removed from the list in version 2.0 and Sudan was mysteriously removed for 3.0.
The new ban covers Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. And no new ban erases the memory of the previous bans or Trump's public statements about them, which offer plenty of material for additional lawsuits.
Whose standards are these, anyway?
While ostensibly aimed at preventing terror threats and improving U.S. security, it's definitely not a directory of all countries that are homes to terrorists. For instance, neither Afghanistan (Taliban, Al-Qaeda) nor Nigeria (Boko Haram) made the roster.
It's also clearly not an index of the most unstable countries in the world. While it does include Somalia (No. 2), Yemen (No. 4), Syria (No. 6) and Chad (No. 8), the list ignores all the odd numbers.
There are no universal standards for the ban, either. Ostensibly, such standards would be based on the countries' ability to identify and screen passengers. The ban on North Koreans is virtually absolute, while Iranian students may be able to get through via exchange programs. Somalians are allowed to visit, but not immigrate.
Meanwhile, the Venezuela ban is aimed squarely at government officials and their families. The administration says that's because they are responsible for the lax security standards in the country. However, it fails to explain why Venezuela's leaders are singled out that way when other countries' officials aren't.
Still, it's obvious more thought went into this version than the previous two combined. However low that bar might be, it could be enough to withstand a little legal scrutiny — long enough for someone in the White House to locate a map of the Middle East and write up version 4.0.
And we should probably be grateful Trump didn't include the newly invented country of "Nambia" on the list.
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