The Trump presidency ushers in a new age of militarism

Ishaan Tharoor writes: There’s a facile contention that President Trump — hostile to free trade pacts and skeptical of grand military alliances — is an isolationist, an advocate of American retreat and retrenchment on the global stage. This is not quite true: As Cambridge historian Stephen Wertheim noted earlier this month, “Trump isn’t an isolationist. He is a militarist, something far worse.

Throughout the election campaign, Trump proclaimed that he would be the military’s president. He repeatedly summoned the ghosts of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and George Patton and spoke in their name. Dumping even more money into defense spending was a key plank of his platform to Make America Great Again, and Trump followed through this week by announcing plans to expand the Pentagon’s already enormous budget by $54 billion — at the apparent expense of other federal agencies, including the State Department.

“Hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but nobody is going to mess with us. Nobody,” Trump said last week. “It will be one of the greatest military buildups in American history.” [Continue reading…]

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