The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Deep Breathes

Like him or not, the vicious and often hyperbolic attacks on Donald Trump have become so common and frequent, they lose most of their punch. And 2018 is just a warm up as the four constituencies, led by the new Democrat majority in the House, will conduct never-ending "investigations" intended to further destabilize Trump's presidency and in their fever-dreams, lead to his impeachment and removal from office. It'll be good theater. It'll be bad for the country. But no one seems to care.

If you are to believe the Dems, their media hamsters, GOP Nevertrumpers, and denizens of the deep state, the world is coming to an end—because Trump!

Nick Gillespie asks us all to step back and take a few deep breathes. He writes:
By now, you know the end of the world is not simply nigh, but almost fully complete. It's all Donald Trump's fault.

Yesterday, the president announced that he's pulling 2,000 troops out of Syria, a country the U.S. should not have entered in the first place (and did so only after spending most of the 21st century destabilizing the larger Middle East). The president then hinted he was going to do the same in Afghanistan, our country's longest and perhaps least successful war. Defense Secretary James Mattis—universally anointed "the last adult in the room" around Trump—resigned, making public his unmistakable contempt for his former boss. The markets have been tanking all month, a government shutdown over a stupid and sure-to-be-ineffectual wall on the border with Mexico is looming, the weekend's big release is a movie about Aquaman, and it's raining where I live.

The nation is in "a tailspin," pronounces The Washington Post,
At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency—and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right—Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.

The president's decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump's coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a "gutless president" and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.
A few deep breathes are in order. Yes, Trump is what Jeb Bush called him in a Republican primary debate that took place what seems like 100 years ago (actually, December 2015): a "chaos candidate" who would be a "chaos president." He's thin-skinned, too: "One of the things he's most vulnerable to is mockery and mockery by his own supporters," an anti-immigration activist told the Post.

That is nothing worth celebrating in a teenager, much less a president, but the current end-of-worldism is a bit much. Trump is doing pretty much exactly what he promised he would do: Shrink our military footprint around the world, insist on a border wall, act impulsively and childlishly. Critics are right to chastise Trump for not following any sort of coherent process in arriving at or announcing his Syria decision, but it's still the right decision. It's always ugly and disturbing when the United States pulls out of occupied countries (remember Saigon?), but are we supposed to stay in Syria and Afghanistan forever?
Short answer—nope!

It is amusing to watch left-wing politicians and commentators—you know, the same left-wing politicians and commentators who (correctly, it turns out) criticized neocons for the intervention in various Middle East countries, now argue that we should stay in Syria and Afghanistan because—well, because, Trump is pulling us out and Trump cannot ever, ever be right on anything. In fact, if he's right on this, my goodness, he might also be right on border security or broader immigration policy, on economic policy or anything else. That can't happen, so let's hunker down behind some sandbags and stay the course in a variety of Middle Eastern hellholes. It hard not to laugh out loud at the hypocrisy.

After you've completed your deep-breathing exercise, it's worth considering Gillespie's summary comments:
It's easy to focus on Donald Trump, who "single-handedly" propels the government, the media, the world into crisis on an almost hourly basis. But though he is very different in the way he presents himself and is treated by the media, his actions are not so very different from those of recent presidents, all of whom crossed lines that should never have been crossed "when it came to foreign policy, domestic surveillance, governmental overreach, the drug war, deportations, and so much more." What Trump ultimately represents or embodies is the twilight of postwar America, of a consensus forged for a very different world and very different circumstances. He too will pass from the scene, and then many, if not all, of the same problems will remain—until we reach a new consensus for a government that no longer tries to be all things to all people, both here and abroad.
Gillespie is correct, but unlike other presidents who preceded him, Trump has tried to disrupt the status quo and directly confront the problems that Washington elites have created over multiple decades. That's enormously threatening to those elites, to whom maintenance of power is everything. Maybe what they're really worried about is that the end of their world is nigh.