Why a Trump blogger quotes JFK

From Lew Rockwell Bloga reminder that JFK knew how to talk like a hawk.

Charles Burris thinks JFK’s rhetoric of American exceptionalism, voiced during one of his 1960 debates with Richard Nixon, is positively Trumpian.

JFK said:

I think we have to revitalize our society. I think we have to demonstrate to the people of the world that we are determined in this free country of ours to be first – not first “if” and not first “but” and not first “when” but first.  And when we are strong, and when we are first, then freedom gains. Then the prospects for peace increase. Then the prospects for our security gain.

Burris has half a point. JFK spoke like a hawk during the 1960 presidential campaign. But that hardly implies that Kennedy favored Triumpian policies of carpet-bombing and torture.

In fact, Kennedy was a master of using hawkish rhetoric while pursuing dovish policies. In three of the key foreign policy decisions of his short presidency–Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Limited Test Ban Treaty–Kennedy decisively rejected the hawkish policies recommended by his national security advisers and followed his own liberal instincts. In each case, he spurned war as a solution and sought to reduce tensions between America and its enemies.If only that were Trump’s platform.



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