Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.
This is my second time reading Mr. Luce’s cliche ridden praise of Mr. Mattis. In his desperation to find some saving grace of a Trumpism, that operates on a barrage of manufactured political chaos, in sum, Peronism to the second power: Mr. Luce has unearthed the pragmatism of Mr. Mattis. He didn’t become a Marine Corp. General without being aware, not to speak of being a canny practitioner of the art of politics, as a military careerist, to state the obvious.
Being a well connected pundit, Mr. Luce quotes from a ‘senior Pentagon official’ , in his exalted position who else would Luce deign to speak to or to ask?
When I asked a senior Pentagon official to list the department’s three strategic priorities, I expected North Korea would top the list. The response was: “Educating the president, educating the president and educating the president.” America’s allies know Mr Mattis does this — as do people in Washington.
The questions arises how long will it be until Trump is impeached, if the New Democrats sweep the 2018 elections in both House and Senate? Americans love a Show Trail. Or a ‘virtuous’ American Military enacts a Seven Days in May scenario? The wholesale collapse of America’s political class, allied to the imperatives of the National Security State, may offer an opportunity for Mr. Mattis to become more that just Secretary of Defense.