To the editor: Andrew J. Bacevich’s observation that history is often “overflowing with irony” brings to mind T.S. Eliot’s admonition: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”
President Trump’s “unconventional style” and casual knowledge of history does challenge our conventional wisdom about power projection. But since the advent of the national security state, the tendency to militarize our foreign policy has inexorably become a feature of a progressively more powerful executive branch.
While Trump may decry a mission in Syria for his own peculiar reasons, he presides over a vast bureaucracy of war, recklessly boasts about our military capabilities, and will accomplish little to forestall the next war in some other place under some other president.
I wish I shared the ironic optimism Bacevich sees in this administration.
David DiLeo, San Clemente
To the editor: I wish Trump’s presidency could lead us to reassess the need for the most expensive military empire the world has ever seen.
Unfortunately, bucking the establishment by abandoning the Kurds after being rolled by Turkey’s president on a phone call we can’t hear, and allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to become the preeminent power broker in the Middle East, is not a smart way to shake up the status quo.
Better Trump had left our forces in Syria and done something else. How about ending our military occupation of Okinawa? Would Japan even mind? Why not reduce our footprint in South Korea to a skeleton force large enough to maintain skin in the game lest North Korea get aggressive?
Alas, wishing for the U.S. suddenly to become smart and prudent on defense is like imagining Trump as a wise visionary dedicated to America’s best interests.
Jeff Vaughn, Encino