President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his Farewell Address to the nation sixty years ago today, and it reverberates through the ages, as we come upon the inauguration of a new President, on the heels of the nightmare of the absolutely worst Presidency in American history!
Eisenhower’s Farewell Address is rated as one of the greatest in American history, alongside George Washington in 1796 and Jimmy Carter in 1981.
Ike warned against the dangers of a military-industrial complex which would take us into overseas interventions and foreign wars that would undermine our nation.
Sadly, we have seen America engage in wars that have undermined our nation, specifically the escalation of the war in Vietnam, along with the decision to have a military presence in the Middle East as a result of the Persian Gulf War, and then, long drawn out wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
These interventions in the Middle East came after the Al Qaeda terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and America has been permanently changed as a result.
And now, we face a threat of domestic terrorism out of control, as Donald Trump leaves office, with the backing of these domestic terrorists as they attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, which complicates the challenges facing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as they are inaugurated on January 20, 2021, three days from now!
In the midst of tension over Syria using chemical warfare against civilians in their civil war and Trump ordering the bombing of an airfield in Syria, and the growing North Korean threat, and with Donald Trump a novice at dealing with foreign policy, the idea that Trump might be a wartime President is becoming a more serious thought.
Trump had said he wanted to avoid involvement in other nations’ affairs when he ran for President, and to concentrate on America, but his rhetoric and tactics have stirred controversy which might lead to potential warfare with Russia, China, Iran, and ISIL (ISIS), without much planning as to how to conduct such military actions. Also, not much thought has been put to how to avoid such conflict.
Trump certainly is aware that he can gain some additional American support temporarily if the nation engages in war, but at the expense of alienating large percentages of the American people long term, who do not desire to see further loss of life and treasure if it can be avoided.
Trump’s lack of experience with diplomacy, and his tendency to “shoot from the hip” on Twitter and in public statements, may lead to unexpected and tragic results.
The military-industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his Farewell Address in January 1961 is still at full strength, and the fact that so many former generals are key advisers is a warning that in many ways, we are under the control of the military mindset, emboldened by Donald Trump’s egotism and maniacal behavior.
Donald Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” of corporate people having influence on government, and this is the first of his pledges that has been totally ignored.
His Secretary of the Treasury (Steve Mnuchin); Secretary of Commerce (Wilbur Ross); Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson); and Chief Strategist (Stephen K. Bannon) are all from Wall Street or from a leading corporation in the case of Tillerson (Exxon Mobil).
Additionally, he has more military people, including those who are not retired for long, and require special legislative approval to serve—Secretary of Defense (James Mattis); Secretary of Homeland Security (John Kelly); and National Security Adviser (Michael Flynn).
So this is more than ever the “Military-Industrial Complex” that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his Farewell Address in January 1961.
This is a danger to American democracy, as the wealthy one percent not only dominate this administration, but also, more than ever, members of Congress, who are overall wealthier than any previous Congress in American history.
Where is the concern for the average middle class or poor American?