Riots: In the real world, Trump administration measures seem to be paying off

Riots: In the real world, Trump administration measures seem to be paying off
Image: AP screen grab

This will be a collection of thoughts rather than a more comprehensive analysis, because I don’t have time tonight to do more.  But it’s worth pausing to note that in much of the country, the rampant destruction and mayhem in the big cities seem to have subsided somewhat over the last couple of days.

They’re by no means gone at this point.  But the constantly breaking, shifting news about arson, looting, vandalism, businesses gutted, cars on fire, bystanders being beaten, police being attacked, even killed – the barrage of noise about it has slacked off.

City leaders in places like Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. are celebrating that it’s settled down to lawful protests now.  The mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, wants federal police and D.C. National Guard troops off the streets, claiming that they aren’t needed.

In Atlanta, National Guard soldiers danced the Macarena with protesters – while others looked on with riot shields in place, to be sure, but apparently not feeling a need to watch their sixes.

These and other vignettes from the last 48 hours seem to indicate a slightly positive trend, after more than a week of relentless deterioration.

Two thoughts on this.  One, even the limited deployment of national guard units seen so far has been effective.  The guard is being used to deny rioters access to portions of some of the major cities.

Protesters, per se, are interested in assembling in particular locations to get their message out, and in some cases in marching from one place to another – but visibly, and with the purpose of demonstration.  Rioters have a different profile. They want to maraud down every street they can, as happy to work in the dark as in the light, and aided by dispersal and lack of visibility.

The rioters also want to not just confound and provoke the police but gain tactical advantage so that their attacks can wreak more destruction and havoc.

Placing the guard to limit their maneuverability appears to be reaping benefits.  We may also mention that Trump’s pressure on governors to get their cities under control has probably made a difference, however inelegantly it may have been expressed.  The real vow that Trump would deploy troops, if he had to, probably jumpstarted at least some state efforts.

Perhaps more important (it’s hard to say at this point, but it’s my gut sense), the Justice Department’s crackdown on Antifa is probably driving Antifa back underground in many locations.

It doesn’t appear to be having that effect in Portland, of course.

But Antifa has ruled downtown Portland for quite a while now.  The city government suffers that to happen; if Antifa is going to keep a campaign going, the geographic locations are likely to be Portland, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay area anyway.

In my judgment, Antifa wouldn’t be fully stopped in its tracks by the knowledge that it was now being more vigilantly hunted by federal law enforcement.  But it would probably find an operational pause necessary.

Antifa has found out in the last week that the NYPD detected its operational planning underway before its professional riot activities were launched during Memorial Day week.

In fact, there’s even a report that the NYPD was aware as early as November 2019 (very interesting timing; another article) of Antifa’s planning for the action in New York City that erupted after George Floyd’s death.  (In other words, Antifa had the plans ready to go and was just waiting for an excuse.  The point here is not that the George Floyd situation was somehow engineered.)

If Antifa wasn’t previously aware of having been under that surveillance, it could have come as an unpleasant surprise and prompted a period of regrouping.

Of course, the Project Veritas videos have come out as well.  They serve to raise Antifa’s profile further, and in an unwelcome way.

I believe that if Antifa saw the prospect of pushing its campaign through to the desired conclusion, it would keep going right now, even risking the greater exposure that would come with that.

But if the group doesn’t see the prospects it wants for success, it’s likely to emphasize a return to the shadows, and fight another day.

Antifa will try to fight another day.  It needs to be rolled up and neutralized now.

The times stop for no one

The media are trying hard, as always, to create a sense that the Trump administration is in chaos.  Reality is more nearly the opposite, at least in terms of effect.  Trump focused this week on the things that matter: stopping the rioting and destruction (still not fully accomplished, but progress made), and cutting the head off the snake by going full-bore after Antifa.

The media and the “deep state” establishment responded by accusing Trump of misusing presidential power.  There were troubling suggestions of a mutinous attitude at the Pentagon about his contingency plan for federal troops.  Former Defense Secretary Mattis and Trump’s former chief of staff, John Kelly, both criticized the president publicly.

Two comments on this.  One, the more alarming concern is what’s going on at the Pentagon.  I do not predict it will result in an out-and-out mutiny.  To even think about going that far, the senior officials involved would want to have reliable and effective allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House.  There is no reason to think they have such allies in either place.

But having the attitude about the orders in question could lead Pentagon officials to execute their mission poorly and sabotage it from within.  Knowing that’s a possibility would have to undermine public confidence quickly – something that can also be said of Congress, however well it’s being briefed.

If any of the negative information reported about Secretary Esper’s actions and comments this past week is true, he shouldn’t be in the job another minute.

The other comment is this.  These officials owe the president their loyalty because he hasn’t done anything out of turn.  His critics speak as if we haven’t been seeing a war being waged in America’s streets, when the evidence is overwhelming that we have.  The war is not being waged by spontaneously motivated protesters, however misguided some of them may be.  But it is being waged: by Antifa, by Refuse Fascism, by the Revolutionary Communist Party, by other shadowy groups assisted with sponsorship by the Alliance for Global Justice; by yet others with names unknown.

It may be foolish one-time recruits who end up getting arrested for the mayhem in most places.  But it’s the organization behind them that pulls the strings.  And that organization is surging for an all-out attack on America.

That’s why what’s going on is something we’ve never seen before.  That’s why it looks so epic and overwhelming to us.  Because this is it.  This is the all-out attack.

1968 was nothing compared to 2020.   What’s going on now is something no one has ever seen before.  What it may be most like is a Bolshevik-style 1917 attack, being mounted against the America of 2020.

But it reckons without a couple of things.  One is President Trump, who whatever his flaws has focused intractably on the right priorities.  The other is the American people, who are not a “downtrodden proletariat” but an armed yeoman citizenry made up of people who think feeling sorry is what you do for others, not for yourself.

Some of the people who have spoken out against Trump this week have done great service for America.  But they don’t see reality now.  Not everyone can.  It’s moving faster than many people can process.  The world hasn’t been safe for a long time for self-deception about where we are, but it has reached a critical point in 2020, and we can’t afford now the luxury of being led by people whose mental boundaries are defined by wishing it were all different.  It’s not; so we either get inside this OODA loop or we’re done.

The best news is that God Himself is not on the side of destruction and death.  Too many of Trump’s critics are merely content to not approve any remedy for the war being waged inside our walls.  But for the sake of hope and a future, God will help us get inside that OODA loop.  Our uniqueness as a nation lies largely in the fact that we have asked Him to in each of our defining crises before.

Dismantling police forces

Los Angeles is planning to make a big funding cut to the police force, and Minneapolis has decided to dissolve the force and experiment with some amorphous fiction as an alternative to a police force.  These plans may seem merely ridiculous, but the main thing to remember about them is this: the law of human nature that makes police force necessary is like the law of supply and demand.  It governs us because of what we are; we did not write it, and we cannot unwrite it.

That means police force will come back, wherever it is dismantled.  But dissolving it in its existing form breaks the American-style social contract of the government with the people.  It removes the accountability the taxpayers have the right to expect from the police, and from the political supervisors of the police.

What comes back will not be an accountable police force, relatively transparent and in sync with the community.  It will be a hostile force imposed on the people by factions and special interests, motivated to prey on the people.

Activists who have paid far more attention to these things than you have for the last 20, 30, 40 years already foresee what they can accomplish by this method.  There’s plenty of historical precedent.  It’s transparently obvious that the revolution they seek is not on the 1776 model.  It’s somewhere on the spectrum right around 1917 and 1933.

For what it’s worth, I would not put it past anyone involved to import “law enforcement advisers” from Cuba or China, and even perhaps deploy them in America’s streets – if, that is, the dissolution of big-city police forces is allowed to continue, on either a slow roll or a fast one.

But there’s another aspect to consider when contemplating the dismantling of police forces.  It leaves middle-class people free to ignore public orders like the coronavirus prohibitions that selectively target churchgoing and rallying for political candidates.  Plenty of people have already noticed that if protesters can assemble wherever they want without permits, voters can certainly assemble without a permit to listen to a speech by Donald Trump.  They just have to do it “spontaneously,” and out of doors.

(Trump isn’t arriving for a rally here, just so we’re clear.  He went to Maine to confer with state leaders there.  He received a welcome from supporters, however.)

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.