Belmont Club

Fear God and dreadnought

Fear God and dreadnought
What happens when they follow suit?

In his  first week of office president Trump rejected the TPP trade agreement, issued orders to build a border wall with Mexico and limit refugee intake from ‘terror prone’ countries.  He revived the oil pipeline projects opposed by president Obama and drafted an executive order drastically reducing funding to the United Nations.

“Donald Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do,” writes Gregory Krieg of CNN.  The pace of it however has been breathtaking.  Many Washington insiders who initially refused to believe it when “Trump promised to smash the Washington power structure” are in shock.  He’s “showed he would defy all norms, social and political” said Krieg.  EU officials warned that Trump was heading for disaster.

Europe’s trade commissioner took aim at President Trump on Tuesday, arguing that his proposed restrictions on international trade and immigration are “doomed to fail.”

“Those who, in the 21st century, think that we can become great again by rebuilding borders, re-imposing trade barriers, restricting people’s freedom to move, are doomed to fail,” Cecilia Malmstrom said at a conference in Brussels, according to prepared remarks.

But Europe’s deepest fear must be that he would succeed rather than fail. By bolting the post-War coalition structure and working frankly to maximize American national advantage, Trump leaves the other coalition partners facing an excruciating dilemma. Should they follow suit and maximize their own interests? Or should they try to sustain the PC multilateral world with their own resources?

With America’s closure to mass uncontrolled immigration the pressure inevitably be on Europe to accept the Middle Eastern millions. Can Europe stand by and watch as Trump strikes separate deals? Which country wants to be the last to maintain open borders AND welfare in a world where America is in frank pursuit of energy dominance, security and trade? Cecilia Malmstrom appears to be volunteering Europe.  Can it do it?

By moving first and quickly Trump may have initiated the political equivalent of a 21st century Dreadnought race. The HMS Dreadnought, readers will recall, was a warship whose building forced a paradigm shift in Naval Affairs by rendering all previous naval vessels obsolete.  It changed the game for everyone.

Her entry into service in 1906 represented such a paradigm shift in naval technology that her name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the “dreadnoughts”, as well as the class of ships named after her. The generation of ships she made obsolete became known as “pre-dreadnoughts”.

The Trumpian revolution could have the same effect.  The choice before Europeans is whether to make the shift and build policy “dreadnoughts” of their own or to plod along building PC-era pre-dreadnoughts. The suddenness of developments has caught the media by surprise though it shouldn’t have. As Dennis Prager pointed out the sustainability of the old paradigm has been been in question for a long time. “It is time for our society to acknowledge a sad truth,” Prager said, “America is currently fighting its second Civil War.”  The Left had long been saying this as had conservatives, but the party of Washington plodded serenely on.

In fact, with the obvious and enormous exception of attitudes toward slavery, Americans are more divided morally, ideologically and politically today than they were during the Civil War. For that reason, just as the Great War came to be known as World War I once there was World War II, the Civil War will become known as the First Civil War when more Americans come to regard the current battle as the Second Civil War.

This Second Civil War, fortunately, differs in another critically important way: It has thus far been largely nonviolent. But given increasing left-wing violence, such as riots, the taking over of college presidents’ offices and the illegal occupation of state capitols, nonviolence is not guaranteed to be a permanent characteristic of the Second Civil War.

Trump was the perhaps first major political candidate to accept the Second Civil War was potentially real and determined to keep it from turning hot.  DJT’s gambit, which no one knows will work,  is to resolve the Second American Civil War by breaking the PC paradigm, both domestically and overseas.  The bet is that by pursuing its own interests America can generate the resources to resolve its own internal conflicts.

Trump’s wager is not without risks, for others may follow suit.  Just as the launching of the Dreadnought increased competition between European powers which ultimately brought them into conflict, so too may DJT’s policies set off a train of events whose consequences no one has yet foreseen.

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Code Warriors: NSA’s Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union, Author Stephen Budiansky – a longtime expert in cryptology – tells the fascinating story of how the NSA came to be, from its roots in World War II through the fall of the Berlin Wall. With access to new documents, Budiansky shows where the agency succeeded and failed during the Cold War and a series of appendixes explain the technical details of Soviet codes and how they were broken. An essential and timely read for all who seek to understand the origins of the modern NSA.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt. A well-researched examination of human moral impulses that gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts.

The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, Author Christopher Lasch asks the question: Can a society survive when a significant portion of its elite have forsaken its founding principles? He blames America’s current problems on a default by its educated elite – their loss of moral values, and their abandonment of the middle class and the poor – and calls for a return to community, schools that teach history not self-esteem, and a return to morality.

The Punic Wars, by Adrian Goldsworthy. An account of the struggle for supremacy between Rome and Carthage (264-241 B.C., 149-146 B.C.) whose outcome had far-reaching consequences for the Western world. Follow the fighting on land and sea; the terrible pitched battles; and such generals as Hannibal, Fabius Maximus, and Scipio Aemilianus, who finally drove Carthage into the ground.

For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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