Tuesday, November 29, 2016
An Assessment of the Future Security Environment
I received this note from a friend of 30 years who is in a sensitive international position and is one of the very best analysts I know. This should provide some food for thought, discussion, and argument. To me it sounds like passion, reason, and chance are woefully out of balance, among other problems.
It's rant time.
For the first time in my life (legal voting age), I abstained. That was my vote. I predicted a Trump win within 5 points (I employed the living system analysis that I'm about to teach), but that wasn't an endorsement. That was just reasoned, impartial analysis and judgment.
There is so much speculative hoopla concerning the future President Trump administration that I'm astonished that "everyone" appears to be oblivious to what has been occurring over the last 8 (arguably 16) years.
From where I sit, I have had a unique view to the USA through an impartial lens, much like the old Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom television show.
My findings: I have observed a one party system of government, co-opted by a mainstream media (that became a de facto branch of the administration). I searched our history. What the US has experienced during these last 8 years has never happened before in total (in parts yes, but not in total). What I mean by one party system has nothing to do with partisan posturing and rhetoric, but end results.
Therefore, "everyone" should keep in mind that whatever President-elect Trump does after, the precedents were created in the last 8 (arguably 16) years of our elected officials (and media) failing to protect and nurture the essence of that which de Tocqueville himself discovered and wrote.
Unfortunately, many chickens are now coming home to roost (oh, how I love a cliche).
Now, for the main reason I abstained. When viewed strategically (truly strategically), although their ways and means were diametrically opposed, the end result on the world stage would have been the same, whether it was Clinton or Trump. The reality is they cancelled each other out. It's not possible to come to that conclusion, unless one approaches the analytical problem impartially and from a Wild Kingdom-esque aloofness. Since only one would be POTUS, we'll never know for sure (as many of my acquaintances scoff). But my baselines have yet to fail me.
I said all that to say this:
The US and the world are headed for an unprecedented period of violent instability. The very foundations of systems will be (are being) upended. Expect wars and violent instability problems to materialize where you least expect them and, where you do expect them, they will likely be worse than anticipated. In all of this, "everyone" should not place responsibility at the feet of a Donald Trump, a Barak Obama or a George W. Bush. "Everyone" should take a sober and humble look at themselves in the mirror and accept personal responsibility. It has been a collective effort.
My word of caution to you, as you teach the next generation of practitioners and policy drafters, don't try to rationalize the irrational. You will need to rethink and adjust your baselines. Otherwise, you will find yourself swimming against huge waves, whilst attempting to reach a buoy.
Flavius Belisarius (obviously a nom de guerre)
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