Wednesday, November 04, 2020

So, We Had an Election

Everyone should just let the system work out. There is a lot of emotion on all sides, but don’t assume the worst of your fellow neighbors.

There remains a lot of slop and imperfection in our voting system. If you are unhappy with what your state does, then change it. Florida did over the last two decades after the 2000 debacle, your state can too.

It appears that there was no big wave or endorsement of either side, but hopefully we’ll have an answer by the end of the week at latest … worst case by Christmas. What we will have is an incredibly divided government – as close to a 51/49-49/51 nation as you can get. That can be a feature or a bug, but what it isn’t is a mandate for anyone. That doesn’t mean someone won’t claim one, but there isn’t one.

Irrespective, neither side, especially in the House and Senate campaigns, ran on larger defense budgets or any real unified military related strategic direction. Sure, if I tilt my head a bit, I could see with the right people a naval emphasis if Trump should pull a rabbit out of a hat, but just barely and a lot of other cards would need to come out of the deck.

Should Biden’s apparent advantage as of noon on Wednesday hold, there are two things in the natsec arena we could see come to the front:

1. Neo-internationalists will come back to State and DOD to pick up where they left off. Pressure on NATO nations will lessen, approaches will be made to Iran and other projects well in work prior to 2016. Mindlessly obtuse agreements that would never by passed as a treaty in the Senate will be signed and rejoined that are to the advantage of everyone but the USA/West.

2. One of the central philosophical underpinnings of the Democratic Party will come again to his Pentagon; identity politics. To the great shame of the Trump administration, until the last few months very little was done to dismantle the diversity nomenklatura. The commissars have just been hunkered down, waiting for a better environment. In the absence of important things to work on – and a Biden administration is void of such and Congress will be focused on their own issues – a Biden Pentagon will focus on those things it can do by fiat. All the social tinkering that has been in mothballs for the last three years will come back with pent up energy.

Trump or Biden – what you need to watch centers on this; people are policy. 

Should Trump squeak in a “W,” there will be changes in the natsec senior leadership. Who moves where will inform where DOD will go in a variety of areas. This holds true for Biden as well. I am of the school that Biden will be a weak executive and much of administration policy will come from his cabinet. Watch who goes where and practice your Kreminology of who sits and travels where after a year – that will help. Either way, natsec and FP were not part of the election and won’t get top billing should Biden hold.

That leaves Congress. After this election, I see no bi-partisan critical mass for significantly larger defense budgets. I most certainly do not see a strong enough navalist caucus to do what needs to be done – a barfight for a larger Navy.

If navalists want a larger Navy, they will need to fight for a larger piece of what will probably be a smaller defense budget pie. This will not happen overnight. This is a long struggle that needs a fighting force built for extended conflict. There needs to be a cadre of elected and appointed officials, of both parties, who are willing to rip through decades of habits, adhesions, an accretions. Enemies will be made, nasty political games will be played once the effort is made to attack entrenched positions decades in the making. 

It is a battle that needs to be joined if you believe the next big war is on the other side of the Pacific.

Let’s see whose banners, if any, are brought on to the field. My skirmishers and I are waiting in the swamps for an allied army to show up, but so far the field of battle is bare except for intermittent reconnaissance parties on horseback.

Regardless of who wins, the republic will be fine. If you are angry about the results, then move your anger in to action to get people you like elected to office. Work for the rule of law and accountability in elections. Ask hard questions.

If you don’t give a damn about politics, but what is going to happen in our national security arena … then watch people.

People make policy. It seems simple, but it is true.

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