Delusions are dangerous, we can all agree. Delusions are firmly held, false beliefs that are not consistent with the culture nor can they be altered despite reason or proof of the contrary.
Protecting the United States from “danger” by asking for $54 BILLION in increased military spending is, in a word, delusional. As it already spends more than the next top four countries, combined, the United States is in not danger from being out-militarized, out-weaponized, out-gunned, or out hard-wired for intelligence gathering. Spending $600 billion, more than the total of China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and United Kingdom (their total nearing $400 billion) is hardly a budget needing another $54 billion.
On its own merits, the proposal is so reprehensible that it verges on being called a “war crime” for its design and intent. Link the budget request to the chant from the mouth of the occupant of the Oval Office, “We’re going to win…when did we win?…we are going to win again!.....(implications: whenever there is a “winner” there has to be a “loser”) and it does not take a rocket scientist to read the “tea leaves”. Only those who are both weak and so out of touch with their own reality that they can neither recognize nor acknowledge their fear and their weakness, need to puff up their importance with such proposals. Holding a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Trump has the potential not only to get this budget request approved and then parade around the world as the “giant dragon slayer” while define the dragon in the process. And for Trump, the world is full of enemies, dragons to a self-declared dragon-slayer, needing to be brought to heel.
Only problem is that history, especially recent history, has demonstrated that a hard-power super-power, like the United States, is out of sync, out of proportion and out of time with the many threatening “enemies” facing many countries simultaneously. Goliath is not a relevant or an appropriate model on which to base a country’s military, geopolitical and diplomatic membership in the council of nations. In fact, Goliath is so out-dated, not only unfashionable but outright counter-intuitive, to the many threats facing the human community. To be sure, Kim Jung Un’s military threats are real and only through leveraged muscle from China will this threat be neutralized, if at all. And that “leverage” will not depend on the United States’ arsenal, but on its ingenuity and diplomacy in negotiations with the Chinese. China, itself, is sabre-rattling in the South China Sea, as it builds new islands and landing strips in the ocean. And Russia, in-cahoots with Syria, Iran and possibly China, is also posing some threats to countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. However, to elevate these military threats to the top of the political agenda, as Trump is obsessed with doing, is to deny and ignore the grave significance of swans giving birth in February in the northern hemisphere, where this has never happened before. It is also to deny and ignore the importance of the deep and widening racial divide in the United States, and growing in other countries with the mass migration of refugees from too many countries.
Further, this $54 billion budget request will erase the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement wing to a thalidomide stump, gut the State Department (where staff is already filling to overflowing the cafeteria not knowing what to do, when to do it and to whom to report), and decimate the foreign aid budget. (Remember that $15 million that George W. Bush sent to Africa to stem the tide of HIV-AIDS, as one of his most significant and historic and compassionate acts as president. It is not incidental that it also elevated the international reputation of his country when the country badly needed such a boost.)
Hard power, the political equivalent of male testosterone, can no longer be the principal instrument of foreign policy. And the sooner men (weak and hobbled, neurotic and psychotic, psychically and spiritually crippled men!) come to their senses about their need for sexual prowess as the central theme of their existence the sooner the world will get off its addiction to hard power, to militarized definitions of “security” and national defence, and to models and archetypes like Goliath that are not, and most likely never were, images of authentic emasculation.
The boy David, especially as championed by Malcolm Gladwell, demonstrated skill, ingenuity, imagination and especially an innate intuitive intelligence, traits sorely missing from the current administration. He also knew his enemy would be “over-armed” rendering him defenceless against a stone from afar. Is Trump falling into the Goliath trap, and taking the United States and all its people down that rabbit hole?
Why, for example, has Trump not read, and paid attention to, the profound warning from former Republican president Dwight David Eisenhower, to beware the military-industrial complex. That historic red flag came from a military general, whose experience carried him and much of the allied force successfully through World War II. Given the circle of generals surrounding (and suffocating?) the chief executive, one would think that the vision and admonition of one of their shared “heroes” would matter. Of course, if all Trump can see is enemies in every corner, and the spectre of putting millions of unemployed back to work, then putting the country on a war footing is one way to guarantee the engines of manufacturing, design and deployment will hum long into the dark night of the foreseeable American horizon.
As for calling the first address to Congress, a renewal of the American Spirit, there seems to be more than a little irony in that hubris. How can one even pretend to renew the spirit of the country whose exemplary media is now an “enemy of the people” and whose chief advisor to the president envisions a war of civilizations pitting all “white” people against all minorities. “White supremacy,” the banner of Steve Bannon’s ideology, and the core of his political and military and sociological world view, is hardly a banner to raise the spirits, or the hopes of any country, and their countrymen and women.
We have all seen this play before. And we thought we had signed off on the trashing of its use, the replay of its playbook, the duplicity of its original death spiral, and the echoes of its bombs and its furnaces. In the United States and in Great Britain, reports of threats and bombings of Jewish centres and synagogues are growing in frequency. Bombings of Islamic mosques are also on the rise.
Add to these racial incidents of violence, the fact that millions of children face starvation in East Africa, as the United Nations urgently asks for billions to prevent the disaster. Famine has already been declared in South Sudan. Reports indicate that up to 20 million people face starvation….and Trump is cutting the foreign aid budget, while padding the Pentagon’s budget by $54 BILLION.
This is sheer lunacy! This is nothing short of madness! And the world, not only the people of the United States, but of every other country in the civilized world has to do everything we can to stop this insanity!
There is no military reason to inflate the military budget; there is no imminent threat to the peace and security of the United States, and the damage that this kind of distorted and delusion policy decision will do is incalculable.
And yet, it is very hard to prove a negative. The narrow and myopic perspective of Trump and his government, supported as it is by the bigoted and narcissistic world view of his voters cannot be allowed to entrap America and her allies in any military conflict. And as for the cliché argument that military spending is exclusively for “defence,” you can drink that Kool Aid if you like. This scribe, and thousands if not millions of other sentient human beings are not drinking it either. I could, fi I were to lose all connection with the rest of the sane world, go out and purchase a Lamborghini for $200,000, and drive around town like the egomaniac I would be. And that car would not even have missiles to fire from its undercarriage!
It would merely be a testament to my male testosterone-driven, frail and atrophying ego and my self-respect. And it would provide an instant, narcissistic thrill for me and anyone dumb enough to get in.
Do we agree to get in this projected military “machine” and take a ride with this maniac?
Are you listening, Senators, Congress, Supreme Court, United Nations, and the leaders of every other country in the world?
We are all (even those who never paid a whit of attention to politics) watching and breathing fitfully, sleeping even more fitfully and working with an extra layer of anxiety…none of which needs to be an integral part of our lives. The only person on the planet who considers Trump a “super-hero” is the man himself. And, he must be stopped no matter what legal, financial, ethical or political leverage is required.