The Duty of General McMaster
As he takes charge of U.S. grand strategy, he must be a blunt, candid truth-teller.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • February 21, 2017
– The national security adviser operates—or should operate—in the realm of “grand strategy.”
– This distinction between military strategy and grand strategy is more than semantic. Maintaining it is crucial to successful statecraft.
– Consider the case of nineteenth-century Germany. Von Moltke the Elder was a gifted military strategist. Bismarck was a master of grand strategy. The collaboration between the two, with the Iron Chancellor in the role of senior partner, created the modern German state.
– U.S. national security policy in the present century bears more than passing resemblance to that of Germany a century ago.
– Like German militarists in 1917, American militarists in 2017 fight on because they lack the capacity to imagine an alternative. In policymaking circles, war has become a habit.
McMaster’s reputation as a thinker does not derive from his expressed views on matters of basic policy. Instead, it rests almost entirely on a book that he published as a young officer nearly two decades ago. The book (now once more rocketing to the top of the Amazon rankings) is called Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. Based on the dissertation that McMaster wrote pursuant to earning a PhD in history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, it remains today one of the most important books ever written about that benighted conflict—a savage indictment of dishonesty among top U.S. civilian and military leaders during the 1960s.
On the battlefield, McMaster has demonstrated exemplary courage in the face of the enemy. For my money, he displayed even greater courage, albeit of an intellectual sort, in publishing his book.
Through an ironic twist of fate, McMaster now finds himself called upon to fill the role of blunt, candid truth-teller for his generation of military officers—and to do so while serving a commander-in-chief who gives little evidence of valuing those qualities.
Speaking of progress. Look with these fucking nerds at MIT have actually been working on. This a game-changer, huh? Newsflash: not gonna save us. Now ketchup, mustard, and toothpaste will be twice as expensive. Thanks, Kripa (his name is Kripa).
On This Day, Peak Florida Has Been Reached
Man busted for crimes epitomizing Sunshine State
In a scene deserving of a “Yakety Sax” score, a 350-pound Florida man ran from a Walmart with two stolen TVs, but his getaway was compromised when his pants–containing his ID–“fell off as he ran away,” according to cops who yesterday apprehended the suspect, who had a crack pipe stuffed with Brillo buried in his anus at the time of his 3:43 AM arrest.
By ROD DREHER • February 20, 2017
In the fall of 2016, Alan Krueger, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, released a study that further refined the picture of the real existing opioid epidemic in America: According to his work, nearly half of all prime working-age male labor-force dropouts—an army now totaling roughly 7 million men—currently take pain medication on a daily basis.
We already knew from other sources (such as BLS “time use” surveys) that the overwhelming majority of the prime-age men in this un-working army generally don’t “do civil society” (charitable work, religious activities, volunteering), or for that matter much in the way of child care or help for others in the home either, despite the abundance of time on their hands. Their routine, instead, typically centers on watching—watching TV, DVDs, Internet, hand-held devices, etc.—and indeed watching for an average of 2,000 hours a year, as if it were a full-time job. But Krueger’s study adds a poignant and immensely sad detail to this portrait of daily life in 21st-century America: In our mind’s eye we can now picture many millions of un-working men in the prime of life, out of work and not looking for jobs, sitting in front of screens—stoned.