The Space Force Is Trumpian Instincts At It’s Best
In non-virus news on Friday, President Trump unveiled the flag of the Space Force, the newest branch of the U.S. military.
It is easy to mock the idea of a space force. When one thinks of war fighting and the final frontier it is easy to think of moon bases and space ships inspired from cultural phenomena such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The silliness of the idea is purportedly realized when the internet goes wild with “They stole the logo from Star Trek!” (Actually, they just repurposed the old Air Force Space Command logo). But, the Space Force is Trumpian instincts at their finest.
At their worst, Trumpian instincts leads to confusion. That can be seen in that one day he will tweet out that Xi Jinping and the Chinese government are doing their best in fighting the coronavirus and we wish them all the best, but by the next you get the feeling that he’s one tweet away from suggesting Xi be brought before The Hague.
They can also lead to denial. For example, Trump may have changed the tactics in how the U.S. deals with North Korea, but the situation is unchanged from before the Trump-Kim summits. His charm offensive has not worked.
Trump can also be a simpleton. He justifies his Putin controversies by saying that Russia is a powerful country, so of course he’s going to try to get along with the man who controls the Russian ship of state. Which in and of itself is not a bad attitude, but it forgets that Putin gets a vote in how the US-Russia relationship looks as well.
But, while simple mindedness is not the best diplomatic trait, when it comes to military strength, it can be quite effective. Trump’s view of the national interest when it comes to the military is quite simple: what are the biggest threats and concerns to the nation’s war fighting abilities and how do we fix that?
Most other politicians would be concerned with the politics of budgeting or starting an arms race. Many people cringe at the juvenile simplemindness of a president describing a new weapon as a “super-duper missile.” The critics allege the Space Force, is just more of Trump the simpleton. It is an attempt by Trump to show his uneducated populist supporters that the foreign policy establishment is wrong, he is not soft, but in reality he’s just living in a cartoon and spouting off on things he and MAGA World know nothing about.
For Trump on the other hand, if the Navy is too small, we should increase it’s size. If the nuclear deterrent needs modernization, we should modernize it. If Chinese missiles are a threat to U.S. and allied interests, but we are prohibited from responding because we abiding by a treaty that the Russians are cheating on, we should withdraw from the treaty. And if what Donald Rumsfeld referred to nearly 20 years ago as a “space Pearl Harbor” is a growing concern from countries like China and Russia, then we should have a specialized branch of the military to deal with that.
The Air Force used to be part of the Army, but gained it’s independence in 1947 and nobody today advocates for a return to the days of the Army Air Force. In a Pentagon contained by budget cuts, let the Space Force focus on space and let the Air Force focus about terrestrial air threats. It’s a simple and dare we say, Trumpian answer to the increased capabilities of the nation’s adversaries.