Wanted: A competent Commander-in-Chief
The recent highly coordinated assaults by Islamic terrorists in Paris, demonstrate President Obama was wrong when he asserted -- just hours before the Paris attacks -- that, "ISIS is on the run." Recall, right after the Islamist attacks in Benghazi, President Obama also said, "...the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam..."
While Mr. Obama’s defense of religion is laudable, for some reason it doesn’t seem to extend to the defense of Christianity and other non-Muslim religions in the Middle East nor to religious liberty for Christians in this country whose beliefs are undermined by the contraception mandates of ObamaCare.
The horror in Paris begs these questions: Since 2009, have the vital interests of the United States been advanced in the world or has the United States been in retreat? Have President Obama, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and current Secretary of State, John Kerry, enhanced America’s security, or not. You decide.
But whether the next commander-in-chief is a Democrat or a Republican, we might consider what the historian, Niall Ferguson, sees as the four deficits in American foreign and military policy making. See: Volume I of Niall’s massive biography: Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist (2015).
In 2001, Ferguson evaluated the foreign policy of President Clinton as a case of "understretch." He faults Clinton for being "too preoccupied with domestic scandal and too averse to casualties to make proper use of America’s vast capabilities."
After Clinton, Ferguson says the U.S. has been constrained by four deficits: "... a fiscal deficit (in the sense that spiraling welfare entitlements and debt must inevitably squeeze the resources available for national security), a manpower deficit (in the sense that not many Americans want to spend very long sorting out hot, poor countries), and, above all, an attention deficit (in the sense that any major foreign intervention is likely to lose popularity within a four-year election cycle)..."
The forth deficit cited by Ferguson is the "...history deficit: the fact that the key decision makers know almost nothing, not just [about] other countries’ pasts, but also [about] their own. Worse, they often do not see what is wrong with their ignorance. Worst of all, they know just enough history to have confidence but not enough to have understanding..."
If we take the views of Niall Ferguson to heart, then the political parties need to select nominees who have the gravitas, acumen, and the understanding of history to rescue U.S. foreign and military policy from its present decline. Moreover, the eventual presidential winner needs to have the good judgment to select foreign policy and military advisers who possess those same qualities.
As we saw in Paris, Mumbai, Madrid, London and New York City, the civilized world’s most immediate threat comes --- not from Mr. Obama’s pick, which is climate change -- but from radical Islam. Military strategists from Sun Tsu (544 B.C. - 496 B.C.) on down have said: Step one, is to identify your enemy. Step two, deal first with the most immediate threat. Pray someday we have a commander-in-chief who will identify our most immediate threat and do whatever is necessary to nullify it. Clue: As the terrorists murder innocent people, they shout "Allah Akbar!"
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the Infantry School, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2015. William Hamilton.
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