I note that all the doom, gloom and disaster predictions about how President Trump would hijack the July 4th celebrations yesterday to promote himself and/or his political agenda were ridiculously over-inflated. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Trump used the traditionally politics-free holiday to deliver shoutouts to each arm of the military, as well as singling out first responders and the controversial Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies that have been criticized for their treatment of migrants.
But he disappointed critics who had warned that Trump, the first president in decades to make a keynote speech on the July 4 holiday, was hijacking the celebration to bolster his own political standing and attack Democratic rivals.
Instead, in a trickling rain, he uncharacteristically avoided talking about himself and his political detractors. He repeatedly ascribed a singular greatness to the country, declaring it "the most exceptional nation in the history of the world."
. . .
... it was a show of martial force that has been absent from the US capital for decades, and Trump's foes blasted it ahead of time as a show of militarism.
There's more at the link.
A couple of years ago, Prof. Angelo Codevilla, one of the most prescient and accurate analysts of American national culture and politics in recent times, had this to say in an analysis of the Korean War. Again, bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
The shape of U.S. foreign policy for most of the 20th century and into our own time was set by Progressive Republican statesmen, Elihu Root and Henry L. Stimson. They believed that military action should be pursued, if at all, for international peace and order, not to advance specifically American interests. Their colleagues—Andrew Carnegie, Nicholas Murray Butler, and David Starr Jordan (Herbert Hoover’s mentor)—were outright pacifists. Democrats Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull (FDR’s secretary of state for almost 12 years, longer than any American has ever served in that office), and their successors, Dean Acheson and Harry Truman, turned the idea of international order into realities: the League of Nations, United Nations, and subsequent permanent alliances embodying “collective security.” That ruling Progressive consensus has determined America’s military objectives ever since, and largely deprived America of peace.
By 1950, polite society—which excluded the American people’s vast majority—was well-nigh unanimous that victory and peace, as well as the very notion of an overriding, peculiarly American national interest, were concepts that belonged to the age of the dinosaurs. Military officers however were mostly dinosaurs, the most prominent of whom was General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. His conquest of the western Pacific in World War II, followed by the 1950 masterstroke that reversed military defeat in Korea, had captivated American opinion. By firing MacArthur in April 1951, President Truman began to enforce polite society’s wisdom on the military. By the end of the Vietnam war some 20 years later, that wisdom about war and peace conquered the Democratic Party wholly, spread to much of the Republican Party, and to the senior U.S. officer corps, too. Hence, since 1951, America’s renowned generals—Matthew Ridgway, William Westmoreland, Colin Powell, and David Petraeus—have brought only stalemate, defeat, waste, and more war, while drawing down the nation’s reservoir of respect.
. . .
Some three fourths of the Americans killed in Korea died after the U.S. government stopped trying to win the war. Since Truman’s decision taught the world that no-win wars were now the American ruling class’s modus operandi, the cost of three later generations’ wars, including the incalculable toll of domestic decay resulting from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, should also be added in.
Again, more at the link.
Points to note from Prof. Codevilla's analysis:
- The "progressive" philosophy was bipartisan, pursued by both Republicans and Democrats.
- It was imposed on the US military from above and from outside.
- The US armed forces and their interests (including the lives of their personnel) were subordinated to non-military priorities and policies.
- American lives were considered less important than progressive policies.
I think, if one analyzes the opposition to President Trump's renewed patriotic emphasis on July 4th (including his giving pride of place to the US armed forces and their supporting agencies), it can probably be accurately summed up as those who support progressive priorities and policies, on both sides of the political aisle, "kicking against the goads" and trying to prevent any regression to a national policy that doesn't give priority to their perspectives. In other words, they were trying to defend the points identified by Prof. Codevilla against any attempt to undermine them.
Also in other words, the President was trying yet another method of draining the swamp. I hope it'll help do just that, over time . . . but it'll be an uphill battle. I suspect yesterday's ceremonies in Washington were the first steps on a long road ahead.