The year started with a bang, alas, as the American assassination of Iranian Qasssem Suleiman. The Iranians, undeterred, retaliated. The series of escalations led not to war (although that was pretty close) but to the downing of an airliner by Iranian anti-aircraft batteries, which was awful but happens in such times.
The highlight of my year, partly because some of the really cool stuff (Hawaii, South Africa) got cancelled by COVID, was a trip to Japan just as the pandemic was breaking out of China and Iran and Italy. The tour guides referred to me as Sensei, as if I were wise. The only relevant wisdom I had was where to find the most amazing French toast. It was great to see a different part of Japan and to meet the families that hosted the students I was chaperoning. Oh and much sake! Kampai!
|JC organizes the survey|
While every year has much civil-military relations to discuss, this year was, well, over the top. Lots of talks of coups whether to remove Trump or keep him in power. The post that got the most hits this year was on the worst day of American Civil-Military relations in quite some time--the clearing of Lafayette park with the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff playing a very visible role. The context was, of course, the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for extensive, systemic, and systematic police reform. One of the highlights of my year was the efforts by my daughter, Activist Spew. I helped make a word a thing, more so than fetch: autogolpe. I kept insisting that Trump was not trying to launch a coup since coups require both changes in who is in power and the use of security forces. Only very late in the year did he muse about the military and then, of course, he vetoed a bill that would give them a raise. I had one priority for Biden's cabinet, and, well, it did not work out so well.
The election, as endless as it seemed, has had much less violence than I expected. Ah, I am a victim of the tyranny of low expectations. Speaking of low expectations, I didn't really know what to make of the Lincoln Project. I often enjoyed their ads but worried about their sharpening their axes for future work against the Dems. I was a bit over the top, but got most of the states right.
One of the highlights of the year was marking a mistake Canada made in 1945--signing the surrender document in the wrong place.
The other highlight was fall ultimate. Summer and winter were lost due to injury and pandemic respectively, but I got to run around with some fun folks for a number of Sundays. I hope I can do the same next summer.
And, yes, death was all around us. I lost a friend from grad school--Neil Englehart. We did organize a zoom wake, which provided some solace and also educated me a bit about Neil's life as well as what other members of my cohort have been up to. We also lost Sean Kay, a scholar I knew but not well.
We are all glad 2020 is at an end. I am not sure how much better 2021 will be--the pandemic is not going to magically go away very quickly. But Trump will be on the margins, and that will do a lot to improve my attitude and many other things. There will be much griping about Biden, and the Dems will fight among themselves. And that will be far better than what we have had.
It has been a very tough year. I hope you and yours managed to get through this with a minimum of scars. Keep on keeping on.