Friday, August 11, 2017

Political Shortsightedness and War

"And the Lord said, 'Gentlemen, he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.'"
--Professor Groeteschele (Fail Safe)

Saber rattling comments by Donald Trump aimed at North Korea earlier this week once again have his detractors wringing hands. Presidents don't talk like this, they complain.

They do now. Get used to it.

Trump's most recent round of behavior deemed unbecoming of a president presents another opportunity to warn those pointing fingers to take a good look in the mirror. How much of the current problem was created by political shortsightedness of a good many people?

Many didn't complain when the executive branch was assuming more power while their guy was sitting in The Big Chair. How nearsighted the granting of administrative power looks today now that someone less likable is in charge.

As a nation, we've been fine with the President of the United States carrying nuclear launch codes at his side for more than a half century--despite the fact that war-making power constitutionally rests with Congress. For many, that may seem pretty stupid right about now.

There has been also been a multi-decade, bipartisan effort to fund gargantuan war-making capacity. In the last year of the previous administration, military spending was targeted well north of a half trillion dollars.

Finally, let's not forget the role of sanctions. For years, politicians from both major parties have supported the imposition of trade sanctions against countries deemed to be enemies of the United States. Trade, not sanctions, foster interdependence and peace. Indeed, it has long been said that when goods don't cross borders, armies will.

Perhaps armies will cross borders this time as a result of our political shortsightedness.

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