William J. Astore: Recent presidents have idolized the military, perhaps because they either never served in it or never really experienced its foibles and faults, its flaws and failings.
William J. Astore: Recall a saying often attributed to P.T. Barnum that “a sucker is born every minute.” Trump knows this — and will exploit it to the hilt, if the American people let him.
Williams J. Astore: Given his inflammatory tweets about nuclear arms races with their “bring it on” mentality, Trump has all the makings of tinpot provocateur, an unstable military poseur who likes to speak loudly while swinging a nuclear-tipped stick.
William J. Astore: The F-35 became like a Swiss army knife, featuring lots of tools and moving parts. Sure, in a pinch a Swiss army knife can be used as a screwdriver or what have you, but most of the time what you really need is the best screwdriver for the job.
William J. Astore: Professional warriors are filling the highest leadership positions in a superpower military complex that is supposed to be overseen by civilians. They will command budgetary authority approaching a trillion dollars annually. If this isn’t a de facto military coup, what is?
William J. Astore: Collectively, the team of Mattis, Flynn, and Kelly could not be more symbolic of the ongoing process of subversion of civilian control of the military.
William J. Astore: You have to hand it to Trump and the Republicans: when they select cabinet members, they’re not trying to triangulate; they’re not trying to reach out to the Democrats or rule in a bipartisan fashion. Their attitude is “We won — and we’re taking no prisoners.”
William J. Astore: Despite Trump’s thin-skinned nature and relative ignorance of foreign affairs, I don’t see nuclear war in the immediate future. But I do see creeping militarism and growing authoritarianism
William J. Astore: Extremism in the pursuit of your own selfish definition of “liberty” can indeed be a vice, America. We need to reject a black/white, love/hate, on/off, Manichean view of each other and the world.
Williams J. Astore: With its endless wars and global adventurism, the U.S. is slowly bankrupting itself even as President-elect Trump promises higher military spending and more toughness abroad.
William J. Astore: In the name of defeating radical Islamic terrorism, we’ve become more repressive, even within the USA itself. Obedience and conformity are embraced instead of individualism and liberty.
William J. Astore: Under socialism and other free-thinking systems of the Roaring Twenties and Depressed Thirties, there was faith in workers, specifically in educated workers, as representing the future of a better, a more just, a fairer America.
WJ Astore: America’s heavy investment in weaponry and war-making, abetted by a mentality that celebrates “global reach, global power,” is a strange way to define your nation as being “indispensable.”