Breaking News: Trump said he wouldn't automatically defend NATO members like the Baltic States from a Russian attack https://t.co/8mFJ7zE1pE— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 21, 2016
My dad spent his 27-year Marine Corps career planning the defense of Northern Europe against Russian invasion. He spent months overseas as a field grade officer, meticulously plotting Marine actions in Norway to check an advance that attempted to bypass the main NATO positions in Germany's Fulda Gap. I've read in reports of post-Soviet collapse war plans that this would, indeed, have been a critical battlefield, that the Russians weren't at all sold on trying to take NATO at its point of strength.
Who would be? Of course they were looking to bypass the main defense.
I'm glad that none of this was ever tested, and so was my father. Still, today's news is a reminder that history is never over. In the long view, points of contention get renegotiated time and again until the side with more patience, leverage, and determination eventually achieves its aims.
"I think Putin and I will get along very well," Donald Trump told NYT reporters. A transcript of the interview: https://t.co/F9rxW6DtPs— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 21, 2016
Perhaps this news is also related:
A court has upheld a decision to bar the Russian track team from the Olympics after revelations of state-run doping https://t.co/DDCXVg9p3S— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 21, 2016
And yet, even I can admit that the case for the opposition essentially amounts to little more than #NeverTrump.
Chris Christie made a case against Hillary Clinton. We fact-checked. https://t.co/Wp7W4ghxMB— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 21, 2016
Chris Christie's speech was distinctly partisan, one-sided, and often skewed in its portrayal of the facts, but there is no doubting that the man made a few good points. It was an excellent speech for a political convention--topical, entertaining, basically factual, and more than capable of whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Christie has been Trump's best surrogate for a while now, and why Trump himself declined to give the man the VP's slot is a mystery to me. Especially since he went with such a vanilla presence in Mike Pence instead. As much as anything, the VP pick shows something in Trump that people don't like, whether it's that he's afraid to be upstaged by a better man or simply unwilling to let anyone with personal charisma share his podium. The fact that Trump's wife so obviously admires Michelle Obama, the wife of a man Trump himself has vilified in the basest terms, only serves to make the whole thing more vile and unsettling.
My dad lost his faith towards the end of his life. Not his faith in God, his faith in America. In the American people. This was hard to watch, and it left my father adrift in a world he no longer understood.
He got hired as a City Administrator for the small Tennessee town of Manchester, where he found a bit of small-time corruption. Whether this was active misdirection of assets or simple stupidity and negligence, I don't know. But my father could no more stand by and watch corruption go unchallenged than he could breathe underwater or shoot fire out his ass. He was utterly incapable of watching men in authority abuse their positions.
Dad confronted the City Council, and words were exchanged. Knowing my dad, these words may well have included such delicate political phraseology as, "I'm gonna kick your fucking ass you Communist piece of shit! I'll rip your fucking lips off!"
My dad. Not one to mince words.
Regardless, not all bullies are cowards, especially where their money is concerned. My dad's words and undoubted threats of physical violence--he reportedly threw a chair at a particularly unreasonable city councilman--went unheeded. What happened instead is that the council organized itself to get my dad out, that despite being a non-partisan civic appointee who was trying in good faith to balance the city's budget, Dad wound up having to essentially campaign for the political opposition.
They lost with voter turnout in town well below 20%. Most people didn't even notice what had happened.
My dad said, "I dedicated my life to defending these people, and they don't even care. I can't believe it. They don't deserve it. I can't believe that this is what I did with my life."
After that, Dad crawled into a bottle. He died a few short years later.