The biggest current national security threat to the United States of America is not, and has never been, the immigrants. Not by a long shot, not by any conventional defense yardsticks, and not even by the sheer number of desperate people who still want to come into this country. The medieval approach of building a border wall is such an antiquated idea; who dreamt that up?! Oh, right!
In fact, currently, the biggest national security threat to the United States of America is the combination of Donald Trump, his supporters, and enablers. During Trump’s two-year reign, so far, all three major branches of the country have been under the Republican’s/his party’s control. So how are we doing?
“… we have no Secretary of Defense, no White House Chief of Staff, no Attorney General and no clear authority at the Department of Justice. Sanctions on Russia have been arbitrarily lifted and our troops have been arbitrarily taken out of Syria. It’s the first anniversary of the tax cuts for the wealthy and the DOW is at its lowest point since October 2017. There are 17 separate investigations into the campaign, the transition, the inauguration and the administration. And oh, by the way, the government is shut down. Donald Trump has waged a more effective attack on the United States than the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor.” — by an anonymous Washington Post reader.
Ah, but given the health status of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Senate Majority “Leader” Mitch McConnell is probably hoping to fill another seat on the high court. Anyone who still talks about Democratic “judicial activism” has to be blind.
So here we are, waiting to welcome 2019, with sadness (for the loss of the great spirit that once defined United States of America for the world), deep seated anger (at the abandonment of what we could have done, technologically and politically, to lead the world to combat climate change, and at the stupidity of choosing abandonment), and profound sense of uncertainty (what are the next self-inflicted wounds to be brought about by erratic tweets?).
And at this writing on 12/23/2018, the news just broke that Trump only now grasped the not-so-subtle rebuke from the outgoing Defense Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter. “One aide said that though Mr. Trump already had the resignation letter when he praised Mr. Mattis, he did not understand just how forceful a rejection of his strategy Mr. Mattis had issued.” So, in his impetuous tantrum, Trump moved Mattis’ February exit to early January. What? Trump couldn’t be bothered to read Mattis’ letter himself? And was he too dim-witted to understand the implications of the letter, until Fox “News” interpreted it for him?
All of us want politicians to minimize double talk, and once in a while, to speak plainly and truthfully. But speaking like a 5th grader, with no coherence nor any sense of strategy? from the supposed world leader? Well, most of the world has stopped viewing Trump as a world leader, and our old foes, Russia, N. Korea, Syria, etc. are giddy with what they have been given.
It is probably true that for too long we have allowed too many “experts” to run rampant with their half-baked, uncooked, or burnt ideas. But now what do we have for various cabinet members in this current “administration?!” How many have left or are leaving? The new acting Defense Secretary, stepping in after Mattis’ departure, is a former Boeing CEO with no military experience, no government experience, and little foreign policy experience. If these are “ the best people” with whom Trump can surround himself, I’ll take a few junior elites.
On the financial front, with the recent sharp stock market downturn, Trump is itchy to fire the Federal Reserve Chair – blaming the series of interest rate hikes that didn’t agree with him (as if Trump understands macroeconomics! Although, Trump is an “expert” on bankruptcy; he has been responsible for six. Six!!). Does the man-child ever take responsibility? When Trump took over the presidency, the country had been enjoying 75 straight months of job gains and 98 straight months of stock market gains (see this useful chart). Trump’s first year’s “economic growth” was the inevitable continuation of that progression, but he claimed all the credit. Go figure. But now that the market has gone wildly downward, owing to (a) the higher debt caused by his useless tax cut, (b) trade wars, (c) tariffs, and (d) his unpredictable tweets (for heaven’s sake), he wants to blame others?! Looking back, his complaint about Harley-Davidson’s decision to move manufacturing to overseas – an outcome resulting from his tariff on imported aluminum and steel — is so quaint.
I recently came across another reader’s wish list for qualifications for a POTUS, and it resonates with me so very much:
“[…a leader] who can laugh, but also one who can dance. Graceful manners. To me, it seems a litmus test that the leader of the country appreciates art, poetry, music and natural beauty. They should have taste, not necessarily matching mine, but which I can appreciate. They should reflect upon history. They should love things and places and people. They should demonstrate a compassionate understanding of suffering. With the ego it takes to win the presidency, these attributes seem like safety checks. They demonstrate interest in the world, affection for it, and the ability to learn and be natural. Most importantly they show the ability to appreciate others, and to love life itself, not just cling to it or wage war against it. Why did the country in its search for a symbol, elect someone who is so bereft of joy, so abandoned by inspiration and beauty, and so pitifully and desperately alone?” (emphasis mine)
I weep for the current decline of our country, but I still hope that a leader, per the description above, will surface…again…in my lifetime.
So, let’s fight for our future. And Happy New Year!