[ by Charles Cameron — a war, a schoolyard war, a war of schoolyard words .. at least we know now how childlike American politics have become ]
In the aftermath of the Mexican-American War, General Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party defeated Senator Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party.
I searched for “biden trump fisticuffs” on Google, and Lord bless us, Elle magazine popped up with an almost exact title, Trump and Biden Challenged Each Other to Fisticuffs, which was a delight.. Well to be frank, the first time I’d spelled my inquiry “dien trump fisticuffs” and received the response Will: Trump is threatening war with North Korea. But what kind? The kind of war I was looking for was fisticuffs, as specified, and the hoped for opponent was Biden, not Dien. But I got satisfaction on my second attempt. Dien, pfft — what was Google thinking about, Dien Bien Phu?
Anyway, even fisticuffs is a metaphor, I think / hope.
Today, exciting news coming to us from the prison of masculinity — the sitting president and the former vice-president have gotten into a chest-puffing war of words over which elder statesmen would thrump the other in a schoolyard braw ..
D dot Trump and J dot Biden fired warning shots at each other not at dawn on a field in Jersey but in the court of public opinion, a civilized and erudite arena if ever there was one.
Everyone reading this post will almost certainly have seen a refernce to this “chest-puffing war of words” because it has been splashed all over the news — but I’m not featuring it here as anything original or particularly obscure, but because of its sheet delight, as conflict reduced to a children’s brawl reduced to words — a cousin twice removed from real war, which is itself drawing appreciably closer at a diplomatic removed by the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor — gatekeeper to the President, and supposedly an even-headed fellow who can balance out the differing views of the Secretary of Stat,, Secretary of Defense, the Intel community, and other advisors.
Bolton is distinctly not level headed, distinctly an ideologue, a hawk’s extreme hawk, in favor of war and opposed to Islam — Islam’s claim to be a religion of peace appears firmly confirmed by the contrast!
Just a few days ago, Brent Scowcroft celebrated his 93d birthday. He is not in the best of health. His days on the public stage are behind him.
But for those who study American power and leadership in the modern era, the slender, quiet former Air Force lieutenant general remains a giant. He established the standard by which all will be measured who hold the office of national security adviser to which John Bolton was just named. And understanding the reasons for Scowcroft’s success is the key to understanding why Bolton is such a disturbing, devastatingly bad choice for the job.