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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Why I Am A Republican, part VII|
"to provide for the Common Defense . . ."
I wish this were a more difficult point to make. There was a time when both parties were equally committed to American security, to defending the principles upon which this country was founded, and to extending Liberty around the world. Sadly, that idea seems to have become isolated now in one party--actually, in one wing of one party.
Defending America in this day and age requires both a thorough understanding of the nature of those who would harm America, and of the means by which they might accomplish such harm.
At this point in history, those who would harm America fall into two basic (and, admittedly, over-simplified) groups: state players who would dismantle America's influence so as to extend theirs, and non-state actors who would destroy us to end our "corruption," thereby enabling their own ambitions for world domination. The first group is a diverse and complex conglomeration of countries who do not act in concert, but, instead, have as their motivation the forced retreat of America. Include among them the French, who have a sort of Racial Jealousy going against the very peoples who have bailed them out of two world wars but who refuse to succumb to their "enlightened" world view; the Chinese, whose needs in the world economy grow every day, but their own borders make their access to resources cripplingly limited; the Islamic states, who, first and foremost, want to eradicate Israel, but who can take no action in that regard while America stands watch; the North Koreans, whose own state system can only survive if they're allowed to pillage the rest of the Korean Peninsula and beyond; and perhaps Russia, whose former KGB leader hopes once again for a Russian state that sits astride Europe and Asia in dominance.
The second group is led by, though by no means is limited to, al-Qaeda and affiliated Islamicist groups who aspire to recreate the ancient Caliphate across Europe and Asia. With them are the many offshoots that find harbor around the world and wreak their own havoc in whatever little ways they can. Include among them al-Qaeda in Iraq, of course, Ansar al Islam, the Islamic Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, along with Hamas and Hezbollah.
America has managed to amass an impressive list of enemies. But, and let me state this very clearly, NONE of those enemies could in any way have been turned to friends. Whether it be countries whose jealousies make it impossible for them to share in our successes, or countries who would vie for dominion over a region of the world, held in check only by American power, or the Islamicist movement which aims only to extend an ancient ideal across lands which do not belong to them and whose current occupants enjoy freedoms despised by the Islamists, there is no amount of American diplomacy or "engagement" which could have turned them.
As evidence, let us take the most complex country on the list: France. This is a country that has no ambition for conquest, has no illusions about its influence in the world, and which has, not all that long ago, been one of America's strongest military allies. Yet, when America played the game of going before the United Nations to make a case for an International act to depose Saddam Hussein, in a way that would have involved absolutely no threat to France's sovereignty, France's Foreign Minister betrayed our Secretary of State, drew him away from the U.N. building, and then hastily arranged for a surprise vote that turned against the United States. Such an act undermined U.S. interests and embarrased both our SecState and our President, for no tangible benefit to the state of France. It is difficult to imagine the calculus involved in such an act, except to preserve a corrupt kickback scheme and embarrass the U.S.
Such is not the act of a friend; and, though no shots were fired, it was just much an act of sabotage as your run-of-the-mill I.E.D.
The more complex players have ravenous self-interest at heart, and not even blatant bribery works to curtail their activity (see "Clinton/Carter Deal With North Korea").
When this President called out the North Koreans for breaking their treaty obligations, he was roundly criticized by one side of the legislative chambers. His crime? an "unsophisticated" act of undiplomatic speech which would only "antagonize" the NoKos. When he called Vladimir Putin a man of honor . . .
Bad example--the President was COMPLETELY wrong about this one, and has paid a price in humiliation as the Russians have acted in concert with the French to undermine American interests.
The point is, one side of the political divide seems willing to acknowledge the bad players on the world scene, and deal with them accordingly, the other side wants to "understand" them, "engage" with them, and, ultimately, acquiesce to them. And while I am willing to acknowledge that perhaps American diplomacy has not been completely successful in every regard, I also would posit that diplomacy is only effective when it is backed up by the credible threat of consequences. I would also put out there that diplomacy that contributes to and furthers the delusions of the diplomatic world is dangerous and foolish. I would rather be clumsy than deluded; the Republicans fit better in the first category, the Democrats the latter.
But it is how one deals with the threats posed that makes all the difference.
In the 80's the threat was the Soviet Union: a similarly clumsy and "unsophisticated" President called out the Soviets, was criticized all across America for doing so, but was proven correct through his steadfastness and vision. In 1979 a foreign country invaded sovereign U.S. territory; a Democratic President failed to take appropriate action, and the forces that led that attack were emboldened. In 1983 a non-state player perpetrated a cowardly asymmetrical attack on U.S. personnel in Lebanon; a Republican President failed to avenge the act, and the forces that plotted that attack were emboldened. In the 90s those same forces attacked U.S. interests on five separate occasions; a Democratic President took almost no action in response, and those forces were, again, emboldened. While that same President was still in office the planning phase of a horrible attack was launched. That attack arrived on September 11th.
After September 11th, this Republican President took action both rhetorical and military. For it, he was widely criticized by Democrats for his "lack of sophistication." Ted Kennedy warned that 10s of thousands of Americans would die in the Afghan winter. This President then pushed his action into another country, one which every intelligence service on earth said was a bad player. He was again criticized, but this new war led to another bad player giving up their weapons (Libya), and Democratic warnings of a "massacre" failed to materialize.
This President also took action to disrupt both the informational and financial supply lines that the enemy uses to plot and stage their attacks on America. For these acts, he has, again, been widely criticized by Democrats. He has also acted to prevent enemies from returning to the battlefields; for this, he has been similarly criticized by Democrats (mostly).
And in the five years since 9/11, not a single successful attack has been committed against the American homeland--a circumstance which NOBODY predicted post 9/11, and which absolutely justifies the President's offensive strategy to fighting the war.
And which absolutely refutes the Democrat's reliance on talk and reflexive mistrust of the projection of power.
Have mistakes been made in Iraq. Yes. Is it a mess? Yes.
Is retreat an option? NO!! We have seen the comparative results of an offensive vs. a defensive strategy, and, frankly, I like the results of the offensive strategy better.
If the purpose of the "common defense" is, well, protecting the American people, I'll take the Republican record on this one. The Democratic ideals have repeatedly been revealed as naive and dangerous; and while the Republican record is far from unblemished, I prefer that our battles be fought with an eye towards winning, towards staying on offense and keeping the enemy away from our homeland, and with an understanding that leaving the enemy alone will not make them return to their fields--it will bring them back to our shores.
Labels: why I am a Republican