Anyone who thought that the week before Christmas wouldn’t hold some sort of political intrigue hasn’t been paying any attention over the last two years. After lackluster midterm election results, and a regular news cycle that is anything but friendly to his administration, President Trump decided to force the issue on a number of fronts over the last couple of weeks.
From inviting the cameras into a meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to announcing via Rush Limbaugh that he would not be supporting the Senate’s choice of passing a continuing resolution without additional border relief funding to partially fund government, these year-end cliffhangers have provided some of the best drama on television.
On the military front President Trump announced removing boots on the ground in Syria and told the Pentagon to draw up plans to bring home about half of our forces that remain in Afghanistan. In the midst of these announcements the secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, submitted his resignation to the president, citing his disagreement with the President Trump’s policies regarding the draw down.
Well, let’s say that none of this was taken calmly by Washington, D.C.’s smart set. The collective freak-out by media, think tank academics and anonymous Pentagon staffers was practically deafening - and that was before Mattis publicly released his resignation letter. After… it was just best to log off social media.
This particular section of the ruling class, which has been in charge of military policy for over 20 years now, claim that pulling out of Syria is tantamount to disaster, when 11 short months ago were decrying the open-ended status of forces in Syria.
And the politicians from both sides of the aisle were no better.
From Marco Rubio to Nancy Pelosi, fear over our national security status was the talking point de jour. Once again chaos reigns and talk of a demoralized military filled the airwaves. Maybe some of it is warranted. The president has shown more than once that he is not opposed to chaos at certain times, and we all know he is more than okay with causing it for his political enemies.
My favorite complaint is that Trump upsets the natural order of politics; that he is so outside the bounds of normalcy that his presidency must be resisted, protested and erased from the annals of history.
Well, I would listen to that a little more if our ruling class actually ruled in a way that made our country better for all citizens, not just the ones who are closely connected to those who wield the levers of power. You see, our government is operating outside the expected norms of the Constitution.
The senators who would rather we keep boots on the ground in Syria should declare war and fund it. They didn’t want to do it when Trump sent troops...remember worries of mission creep? But now are very righteously telling the president how to run his foreign and military policy.
The same applies to the looming shutdown (as this is being written last Friday). You want to blame Trump? Great. Want to blame the Democrats for not being being willing to negotiate? Fine, Fine.
Now explain why we haven’t had an actual budget passed by Congress for a how many years now, and why are they using continuing resolutions in the first place. The unusual procedural feats of both parties are nothing new, as long as it benefits their pet policies and projects. No budgets are definitely a problem for a legislature that already has a severe spending problem, and a nation that is hemorrhaging money as evidenced by the debt.
It is no feat of leadership, but the ultimate height of folly to not allow the government to plan long-term with funding that lasts longer than three months.
There is plenty of blame for everyone here and, sadly, no heroes in this story.
There is a rule on social media, not usually adhered to, that calls for the crazy hyperventilating to wait after a breaking news story until more information can be given out. It’s simple - wait about 24 hours. See what else is said, or going on behind the scenes, so everyone can have a better idea of what is actually going on and can make rational decisions about proper actions.
Not even a full 24 hours after Secretary Mattis resigned, reports surfaced that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be moving troops into Syria.
I would assume that is an acceptable trade-off, since it is in their regional interests to defend their national interests. Maybe America can contribute something other than boots on the ground in this fight.
America seems more than a little wary of involving themselves in more sectarian wars in the middle of the desert. And American taxpayers are wondering when we will quit borrowing money to fund this never-ending quest at the cost of our own national interests.
Whether or not you agree with President Trump, he deserves the chance to try a different strategy in the fight against any one of the multitude of terrorist organizations littering the Middle East. Goodness knows, after trillions of dollars and much American blood spilled, can even one of these smart people give a reasonable defense of why we are still there?
So, what about that wall? You know, the security measure we have been talking about in this country since the mid ‘80s? We’ve had a Secure Fence Act, and Republicans talking about physically strengthening the Southern Border for at least five presidential elections.
So Trump comes along and says “The Wall” and people flip out.
Yeah, it’s just Trump who is completely beyond the pale.
Best bet for the New Year? Pop some popcorn and adopt a little of the wait and see. You could be pleasantly surprised.