I do believe I am watching an elected Trojan horse lead America to defeat itself, its values, its identity
Trump’s Abandonment of Our Mores Hinders War on Terror
BY DAVE MARASH
Donald Trump, like George W. Bush, aspires to the prerogatives of a “wartime” leader.
Trump’s ostensible targets are “radical Islamic terrorists,” but so far he’s done little harm to them and has done terrible collateral damage to America’s global reputation and its Constitution.
If Trump intends to persist in his unprecedented, unwarranted aggression, he might want to consider two maxims attributed to one of history’s greatest military minds, Napoleon Bonaparte.
“Two armies,” said Napoleon, “are two bodies which meet and try to frighten each other.”
While it is frightful to watch this seat-of-the-pants “strategist” in action, a closer look at Trump’s pants will reveal the stains of an extremely frightened individual.
It is bad enough that Trump would have Americans cringe behind a $20 billion wall on the Mexican border, but it’s worse that his exaggerated fears have closed America to refugees, immigrants and even visitors from a list of Muslim-majority countries.
When the now-decisively rejected former prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, urged his citizens not to look at news pictures of a drowned Syrian refugee child washed ashore on an Aegean beach, it was because he did not want them to be moved to help other refugees.
Our piss-pants president has taken hard-hearted Harper’s avoidance of moral responsibility a step further – not just looking away but actually closing off our “nation of immigrants” to tens of thousands of desperate men, women and children fleeing a savage war.
Outside of his clique of “strategic advisers,” few real experts in countering terrorism or protecting national security see any threat close to the magnitude of the Islamist wall-shadow images conjured up by Trump’s stubby, back-lit fingers.
This is precisely what a real American wartime leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, meant when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
But, pardon me if I return one more time to Napoleon.
War is reductive: It dumbs everything down to strength through the application of force on the ground. But what is strength? Here’s what Napoleon succinctly said about the source of military success: “The moral is to the material as three to one.”
In other words, the power of a combatant’s values – the fuel behind the willingness to fight and die – is three times as important as its firepower. It is this equation that is at the heart of the ISIS insurgencies. The radical Islamist terrorists think they can win their wars in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere because their fighters will be more faithful to their value system of Wahhabi fundamentalism and political totalitarianism than their adversaries will be to the values of intellectual freedom, tolerance and political democracy.
Every day that Donald Trump abandons these foundational American values in craven obeisance to a self-exaggerated nightmare, he confirms our terrorist enemies’ confidence and hastens America’s defeat.
No, I don’t believe America can be defeated by ISIS. I do believe I am watching an elected Trojan horse lead America to defeat itself, its values, its identity and everything for which our nation has stood for 241 years.
Dave Marash, a former foreign correspondent, broadcasts “Here & There” at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday on KSFR FM 101.1 in Santa Fe. Find his podcasts at davemarash.com.