An Opportunity to Reflect and Remember

Each year, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack offers veterans an opportunity to reflect and remember. Although the date might seem less and less relevant to some, the lessons it offers are becoming increasingly important. Not only are we once again facing a near peer adversary in the Pacific region, but some analysts are claiming the United States is a declining power. It is as if the two Decembers represent bookends in history, as the sleeping giant who awoke in 1941, is now seen as a decrepit beast that no one takes seriously.

Ironically, the Republican Party, which has touted its purported national security expertise for decades, carries a lot of the blame. With Trump as the thought leader, Republicans have once again embraced the mantra of the 1930s America First Committee. Instead of following the basic tenets of long-standing US strategy, Trumpists deluge their followers with xenophobic, fear laden rhetoric that colors NATO and Ukraine as leeches who are undermining American security. In the process, Trump and his cabal are steadily weakening the world order the US built and we, the veterans, sacrificed to preserve over the past 100 years.

While Trumpists will claim that they are doing this for our own good, the argument is both ill-informed and untrue. The lesson we have learned throughout history is that weakness never achieves security and retreat only brings the threat closer to home. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and his cabal. It’s more important that voters will believe their lies.

For veterans who spent years away from families, deploying in harm’s way, and suffering emotional and physical wounds, the message might be particularly attractive. But we, of all people, should understand the fallacy of Trumpist claims and the ultimate cost we or our brothers and sisters in arms will inevitably bear. We also should understand that Trumpists’ histrionics are all political theater. They aren’t interested in protecting the service members Trump once called “suckers.” They just want our votes and the support of those who see the world in the same convoluted, naïve way.

When you hear Trump and his supporters deride Ukraine, attack NATO, and praise Russia, remember what happened ninety years ago when another set of deluded politicians and talking heads followed the same kind of logic. Certainly, being a world leader isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. But the alternative will likely be far bloodier and dangerous to the US and our service members in the long run.

-Ken Brown, VFRL Volunteer



Veterans for Responsible Leadership

Upholding our Constitutional oaths & supporting American democracy and the rule of law. Taking to task those who don’t, regardless of party or position.