Proliferating enemies with no end in sight

Philip Giraldi
December 26, 2017
Unz Review

The end of the year is full of goodies. I watched with glee the 128 to 9 vote at the United Nations condemning the Trump Administration decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and was even more amused when the Associated Press and the New York Post tried to twist the story into a victory for the United States and Israel because the outcome might have been even more lopsided. CNN’s Jake Tapper, a vocal critic of Trump in nearly everything, also cheered the White House decision, demonstrating once again that loyalty to his tribe is more important to him than doing the right thing for the American people.

Also last week I watched what had been described as President Donald Trump’s annual National Security Strategy (NSS) review speech, the first he has given since assuming office. Having missed the first two minutes while letting our bulldog Dudley out for routine maintenance, I came back and wondered if someone had changed the channel. Trump was going on and on in what appeared to be a campaign speech, talking about the failures of the Obama Administration before proceeding to describe how wonderful and safer everything is now that he is president.

While I am not terribly enamored of the Obama record on national security, particularly its targeted killings and its stealth wars, what turned out to be the Trump rebuttal was not what I expected, rather like a cheap shot directed against someone who can no longer respond effectively. President Trump did eventually get around to talking about national security but the presentation was clearly aimed at pleasing what Trump views as his most solid group of supporters, i.e. American voters who tend to see, as he does, the world as a place where enemies and threats prevail, requiring an always truculent response and an overwhelming military to back up the words.

Most Americans who watched the speech were probably unaware that it was a much-shortened version of a congressionally mandated 68 page long document that was put out simultaneously by the White House entitled National Security Strategy of the United States of America December 2017. The speech, its Jeremiad at the beginning aside, only partly reflected the document and in some cases actually contradicted it.

Both the speech and document were broken down into four broad categories: I. Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life; II. Promote American Prosperity; III. Preserve Peace Through Strength; and IV. Advance American Influence. I was particularly interested in hearing what the administration would actually do and was hoping that the speech would avoid bromides and generalized commentary. In fact, there was a lot of chest thumping and relatively little in the way of pledges for action.

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