Blowing the American spirit of 9/11

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found:

Among people 55 and older, for example, nearly 80% said patriotism was very important, compared with 42% of those ages 18–38—the millennial generation and older members of Gen-Z. Two-thirds of the older group cited religion as very important, compared with fewer than one-third of the younger group.

Only 31 percent of millennials thought having children was an important goal in life, vs. 54 percent of baby boomers. Meanwhile, a 2018 Pew Survey found that 59 percent of millennials identify as Democrats.

What happened? There are many small explanations, but one really big one: We misdirected the energies of the generation that came of age in 2001 into a utopian scheme to create a liberal democratic world order. We rotated more than 3 million Americans through tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and spent anywhere between $4 and $7 trillion, and had nothing to show for it except huge deficits, tens of thousands of casualties, and millions of disrupted lives. Quick and nasty punitive expeditions would have had the near-unanimous support of the American public. Instead, we dissipated the lives and energy of the bravest young Americans in an ill-conceived social engineering scheme and got nothing out of it. The quagmire in Iraq prevented the United States from taking action against Iran, as I explained in 2010.

… In 2016 Donald Trump went around the country saying that the emperor had no clothes–that the Establishment had bungled America’s foreign policy. That’s a big part of the reason he defied precedent and won the presidency: He said what everyone knew to be the case, but none of our self-styled betters would admit. Not only does the emperor have no clothes; the empire has no tailors, and Trump has been hard put to assemble a foreign policy team that works. Iran is more a danger than ever, Russia has become a major power broker in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the prospect of Chinese world dominance has passed out of the realm of fantasy into official military assessments.

Americans of my generation rejected the Establishment and voted for Trump. Too many of our kids rejected the Establishment and voted for Bernie Sanders and socialism ….


September 30, 2019

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