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The Bureaucratic Redactor had no easy task, for the Trumpian Monarchist and the Deep State Scribe did not see the world the same way. The Scribal tradition was more authentic and widely believed by the people, but immediate power lay with the Trumpian Monarchist. The Redactor saw his or her job as somehow reconciling these philosophically opposed worldviews by scattering absurdities such as “Competitive Diplomacy” and commandments to “catalyze opportunities.” This achieved consensus by confusion, as did raptures about the importance of diplomacy that neglected the demolition of the State Department, or denunciation of Russia without reference to its meddling in the 2016 election. The Trumpian Monarchist being only semi-literate, he did not compose (some believe that he did not even read, or read closely) the bulk of the text. But prudence dictated that he be bought off by making repeated references to “vetting” and visa restrictions, by scornfully tossing aside the false gods of previous authorities (such as climate change), and by throwing in all kinds of policies that have little to do with national security, such as rejuvenating the domestic economy.

The danger of a sacred text lies in its ability to justify all kinds of behaviors, some times in the names of pagan deities that demand unquestioning sacrifices. So it is with national security, a phrase whose power to beat down enemies and restrict various freedoms has exercised an unhealthy appeal for many rulers. Invest any problem—from the environment to primary school education, the issuing of visas to net neutrality—with the phrase national security and the ruler gains dignity and most importantly power. Only a skeptic towards the presidential cult would suggest that this is way overblown or even a threat to freedom.

This text bears contemplation, though not as its authors undoubtedly intended. At the end of the day, however, the analogy to scat may actually be the most useful. There is not a great deal one can actually do with spoor; it does not predict whether the beast will turn right or left, gore an innocent farmer or charge madly off a cliff. It offers a few clues, and that is about it. So by all means study it. Just don’t swallow it.


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Source : https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/three-ways-to-read-trumps-national-security-strategy/548711/

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