Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Trump Counterrevolution in Military Affairs

At Free Beacon by 

-- After eight years of an Obama Pentagon, certain defense issues were meant to be settled, finished, over, dead—shot by a firing squad composed of History and Progress and rolled without ceremony into shallow graves. The list included the integration of women into combat jobs, the normalization of transgender troops, and the importance of green energy to the military. The imposition of draft registration on women, though not yet accomplished, was thought to be all but inevitable.

Especially on the social issues, conservative national security experts had long felt they were defending less and less favorable terrain, forced to make arguments the country (not to mention the president and his appointees) didn’t want to hear. Eventually, there seemed to emerge a kind of unspoken consensus that it wasn’t worth contesting these issues, because the limited political capital of national security conservatives was needed for more important debates, like the size of the Pentagon’s budget.

Well, that was then. “Social conservative” isn’t exactly the description that springs to mind when one thinks of Donald Trump, but the fact is that social conservatives are in his coalition, and a fair few of them are going to get government appointments, including in the Defense Department—where their decisions will be subject to oversight from a Republican Congress. Additionally, there are those who, regardless of political labels, were always skeptical of imposing policies on the military that appeared to have political purposes beyond combat effectiveness.

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