One year ago, I posted on the Marine Corps’ decision to scrap its amphibious assault vehicle program in order to discuss the tendency of institutions to preserve the status quo. The Marine Corps bureaucracy’s decision to scrap their institution’s signature battle tactic was, therefore, quite remarkable in context.
The annual holiday devoted to honoring America’s war-dead rings kind of hollow this year. The mightiest collection of armaments in human history can’t defend against a virus that will destroy the country’s putative classical liberal premises. People believe our war-dead gave their lives defending “our freedom” and “our way of life.” But all it takes is one respiratory virus and that freedom and lifestyle evaporate in a few executive orders, and nobody even gets a vote. So much for classical liberalism and laissez-faire economics: people are being ordered away from their right to make a living, so the government will have to pay them to stay home.
My mood one year later is no better, and the holiday also brings out the best of Ellis Island-Americans lecturing foundational Americans about their history.
The rise of new enemies, ever more depraved and alien, reveals the terrible folly of the 1860 and 1914 brother wars. The Rebel “traitors” and Central Powers would bear far less ill will toward my family and my heritage than the Ellis Island-Americans of today. (Thank you, Squid O’ War.)
No More Brother Wars–that needs to be a bumper sticker.
My 2019 post referenced Col. Douglas MacGregor, who’s on Our Team and has expressed skepticism of the National Defense Strategy under which we prepare for simultaneous war against Russia and China. Any country which emerged from such a war would bear little resemblance to the present USA, and MacGregor rightly observes that the actual threat is demographic. The subject remains current as the neo-conservatives, striving for their former status and proximity to levers of power, urge everyone to re-enlist for Cold War II with China.
Obviously there are plenty of reasons for Americans to dislike China. The COVID-19 virus either escaped from a lab that China’s government located in densely populated Wuhan or resulted from appallingly bad public hygienic policy. The Chinese state is highly authoritarian. China has appropriated, with the complicity of American capital, the rents formerly captured by American labor. China is, in sum, a rival Great Power.
China also has a large Smart Fraction, nuclear arms and a large, patriotic military that doesn’t concern itself with diversity and validation of deviant sexual practices. War with China is unthinkable and frankly, everybody knows it. The Navy and Marines no longer plan littoral operations and amphibious assaults, and the National Defense Strategy relies heavily on bugman fantasy about missile warfare, autonomous systems and cyberspace. Eventually, we hope, the Three Countries That Matter recognize they won’t survive war with each other and amicably carve the globe up into their respective and natural spheres of influence.
In the meantime, we are in our second decade of a conflict, not really a war, in Afghanistan, foundational America has vanished into history, and the US republic lurches from fake crisis to fake crisis with the disputants in intractable partisan struggle. To elaborate a bit, Trump and his voters are not just ideological opponents, they are agents of the Russian government. People who go to the beach are killing my grandparents. If we don’t keep soldiers in Afghanistan, the terrorists have won. So long as one Hong Konger can’t march in a Pride Parade, no man is free, and on and on. As Malcolm Pollack observes, this is a moral debate not a political one, and no political resolution is possible. Americans are in fundamental disagreement over ontological, existential issues which would otherwise be resolved at the country’s founding. For now, the money holds everything together.
Happy Memorial Day.