The torch goes out, at least for a while

The term "the Trump Doctrine" sounds almost like a joke, because in order to be a "doctrine," something has to be coherent. Well, some of the President's saner aides have put together a summary of the "Trump Doctrine" anyway.  It boils down to the notion that the most powerful nation in history. which has led the democracies of the planet ever since World War II in protecting a world order in which the values they share could thrive and even grow, has a new agenda.

America is looking out for Number One, and democratic values, our allies, the world community, and world peace can go hang.

The great Rabbi Hillel once wrote, "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But when I am only for myself, then what am I?" There is nothing wrong with a nation- any nation- pursuing its own interests. That's what nations do. But since its founding, America has always been more than merely another nation. America is an idea as much as it is a country. It's a set of values, a dream, an idea. Rather than being a piece of real estate between Canada and Mexico, America is the nation which produced the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address. It's at least aspired to stand for freedom, for equality, and for justice in the world. And as often as we've failed to live up to that aspiration, our country has often symbolized those very things to people without them.

Those ideas have made us something special in history. We're the one nation in history which has embodied the aspirations of people all over the world for something better and has striven to enable others to pursue them. We've striven not simply for our own, narrow self-interest, but for a better and freer world.

We've led the free nations of the world in striving for that goal for over seventy years. And now, it seems, we're giving up that role, at least for the moment. When a light that bright that has burned so brightly for so long goes out, even temporarily, it's an event worth mourning.

May the darkness be short, and may an administration soon come to power which will lead America back to being  America again, and not just another country out for what it can get for itself. The "Trump Doctrine" is not worthy of us.


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