First, take a deep breath. Now take a look at the Wall Street Journal.
The otherwise fine newspaper editorially on Saturday blasted President Trump.
For not killing Iranians and blowing up Iranian targets to show how super our American power is.
The president acted humanely and rationally, weighing proportionality in response to Iran’s downing of our spy drone over international waters (we say) or Iranian waters (they say).
The WSJ, of course, is an authority on the subject of territoriality and sovereignty and the respect thereof.
The newspaper for years insisted that the United States should have no borders and the world’s people should be free to enter and exit our country with the same abandon as they would in traversing their own front yards.
The war-hawks and neocons can’t say anything good about any Trump act if it isn’t also an act of war.
This time the neocon, war-hawk, defense-industry complex is jumping all over Mr. Trump for having, as the WSJ put it, “called off a military strike against Iran in mid-mission Thursday.”
The WSJ is no more, no less of the “bomb ‘em if they’re moving — bomb ‘em if they’re not moving” school of international diplomacy as the hawks in Congress.
Take Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. Her father Dick Cheney — talk about blasts from the past — was one of the masterminds behind the Iraq War that President George W. Bush thought he had masterminded.
(Anything that flawed has to have had a herd of masterminds — and did.)
Mrs. Cheney, who heads the House Republican Conference (meaning all Republicans in the chamber), now says exactly what her father would have said if he still held elected office.
Mrs. Cheney says not killing a few hundred Iranians and blowing up some Iranian military installations was “a very serious mistake,”
“We simply can’t allow America’s adversaries to think that they can shoot down a U.S. military drone with impunity,” she said. “The failure to respond to this kind of direct provocation that we’ve seen now from the Iranians, in particular over the last several weeks, could in fact be a very serious mistake.”
Before contemplating jihad against the whole GOP, you should know that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry of Pennsylvania, Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul of Texas and Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes of California have Mr. Trump’s back on this one and said so in a joint statement.
Not the WSJ, of course. Its editorial board screeches the refrain of the rest of American hawkdom: Mr. Trump’s “supporters and even some of his critics are hailing it as an act of restraint and courage. The question for American interests is whether Iran and other adversaries will see it instead as a sign of weakness and indecision.”
There they go again.
These are the favorite disparagements that America’s interventionists hurled at Pat Buchanan when he challenged the GOP establishment with his “America First!” philosophy. And at President George H.W. Bush for not leveling Bagdad and ridding the world of Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War.
Being birds of a feather, they sing the same song as those who said if we had only had the will to bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age, we could have won that war that had already cost us 58,000 American lives and millions of lives on the other side.
To these proponents of America as the word’s special weapons and tactics force, any act that doesn’t advance the cause of forcing regime change on a country we don’t like is an act that reveals the soft underbelly of indecisiveness and yes, to your take-no-prisoners type hawk, cowardice.
“More likely,” the WSJ editorial continued, the president “changed his mind because he had second thoughts about the military and political consequences of engaging in a conflict he promised as a candidate to avoid.”
And that’s somehow bad?
“Mr. Trump may have saved Iranian lives now, but his indecision and professed fear of casualties may be risking more American lives later,” the WSJ wrote.
This is a mischaracterization and contortion of the logic on which the principles and goals of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy rests.
Such contortion of the Trump foreign policy logic is not a good thing for a nation that, from the founders down to Ronald Reagan and now Donald J. Trump, understands that the superiority of its power is and always will be to lead by example.
Our role is never to give up aspiring to a national brilliance that lights the way and beckons all. And the sight of which makes the heart skip a beat.
Yes, an obligation that goes with our lodestar role is to be armed and better prepared for battle than any other nation on the planet.
But restrained enough to start launching missiles and warplanes when in imminent danger of destruction by a credible foe and rarely if ever before.
That I think is the America that Mr. Trump aims to keep great.
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