American Conservatism in the 21st Century- Part 4: National Security

FILE - The Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington, in this March 27, 2008 file photo. The Pentagon has revised its Law of War guidelines to remove wording that could permit U.S. military commanders to treat war correspondents as “unprivileged belligerents” if they think the journalists are sympathizing or cooperating with enemy forces. The amended manual, published on July 22, 2016, also drops wording that equated journalism with spying. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

 (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

The two key elements mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitution- a statement of goals of the document- go hand in hand: the “common defense” and “domestic tranquility.”  Together, they form the crux of the term “national security.”  The common defense is rather obvious and involves protecting the country from outside threats.  And for that task, it is necessary that the country have a strong and ready military.  The United States military is the strongest in the world, bar none.  And it should remain that way.

There are many bullies in the world.  Today, we teach our kids that when bullied they are to tell a teacher or some other responsible adult.  This writer views the more nefarious global actors as bullies on the world stage.  Unfortunately, there are not always analogs to the responsible adult.  Victims of aggression cannot always seek help from international organizations like the United Nations.  Our counterparts on the Left like to hold up the UN as some pinnacle of international order, when they are really just an ineffective and corrupt collection of diplomats.  They are not even good at distributing food to famine stricken locations.  One needs to ask a question: would the UN survive if the United States pulled out of its membership?  Of course, they wouldn’t for as economically powerful as China is or whether Russia has nuclear weapons or not, the UN would not survive without our presence.

Conversely, when this writer was growing up and left the friendly confines of my hometown to attend a regional high school, I encountered bullies and was bullied.  At that time the best and only response was to fight back.  It happened one day in a gym locker room where I fought back and won.  The teacher politely picked me off my assailant and told me to get dressed: no reporting to the principal, no suspension or detention for fighting.  My assailant reported to the nurse for a bloody nose and I was never bullied again…ever.  Showing strength (I was not particularly strong) is the best and most effective way to deal with bullies. And so it is in international relations.

Unfortunately, our counterparts on the Left fake admiration for the military, but the military is the very institution that repeatedly comes under attack by them.  What do they always suggest the defense budget be cut to pay for their socialist Utopian programs?  While it is true that there is rampant wasteful spending by the Pentagon at times, cutting that waste to zero still would not pay for their programs.

A strong military obviously pays dividends and we have examples from history.  For example, it took a massive industrial mobilization to wage World War II on two fronts after the attack on Pearl Harbor because the military had been ignored by the FDR administration.  That is what happens when one chooses to ignore or deemphasize military strength and readiness.  Conversely, when one makes a committed effort in the opposite direction as Ronald Reagan did, the world (not just the US) benefitted from the fall of the Soviet Union.  Our military build up under Reagan was the deciding factor for many reasons why the Soviet Union fell apart and Communism was shown to be the sham it is.

Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor defined a generation, so too the attack by Islamic terrorists on 9/11.  The United States was presented with a new type of enemy and one without borders.  They played by different rules spurned on by a demented religious zealotry that did not play by the rules.  After 9/11, I laughed when those on the Left and some on the Right complained that the United States was not abiding by the Geneva Convention by interring terrorists at Guantanamo, using enhanced interrogation techniques, or establishing black sites.  The terrorists who carried out the attacks and their enablers cared nothing about the Geneva Convention.

Perhaps the best example of deemphasizing the military was Barack Obama.  We can debate the merits of the Iraq War until the cows come home today, but it was what it was.  Obama’s execution and wind-down of our efforts in Iraq led directly to the formation of ISIS.  His great apology tour through the Middle East simply emboldened the terrorists.  He tied the hands of the military.  When Obama left office, the military was freed of the constraints and onerous rules of engagement placed on them.  The result was the obliteration of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Simply, national security is the most important and the primary task of the federal government.  Every other cabinet department is secondary.  And if a strong military deters aggression by the world’s more nefarious actors, national security and domestic tranquility are the natural byproducts.

But, in today’s times, domestic tranquility seems to be at a standstill.  The almost daily marches and the unhinged vitriol from the Left have destroyed, at least for the moment, any semblance of tranquility.  And one man- President Trump- is the subject of their attacks.  The Left received two kicks to the privates when Bernie Sanders lost his bid in 2016 with the second kick being delivered when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

There will always be actors on the Left not content with our constitutional system or system of justice.  Like all liberals, they look to the quickest fix without considering the consequences.

It is much easier to organize a march in the streets, a riot in Berkeley, or an encampment in Portland, Oregon than it is to politically achieve one’s goals.  Many on the Left, for example, described the recent protests against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as a “grassroots effort,” when there was ample evidence to the contrary.  Simply, the Left is better at expressing and organizing outrage in the streets.  Whether Black Lives Matter or antifa or any other so-called “progressive” group, their preferred method of operation borders on anarchy.

That is because the Left can only achieve their socialist Utopian vision of America in an atmosphere of anarchy.  The United States is renowned around the world for a constitutional system that fosters the orderly and peaceful transfer of power at the highest levels.  There have been unpopular Presidents elected in our past.  Abraham Lincoln was one such president at the time, not only in the South but even in the North.  Some of the commentary directed at him by his own Party makes that against Trump look like child’s play.

The media and the Left (often, one and the same) try to portray Trump as the source of controversy and polarization.  However, most of it is manufactured on the Left with a compliant media egging it on.

To wit, it is not conservative groups shouting down speakers on college campuses, or inciting riots.  It is not conservative groups marching in the streets and breaking the windows of the nearest Starbucks or Bank of America branch office.  It is not conservative groups shouting “F*** the Police” in the streets.  And it was not conservatives occupying Senate offices during the Kavanaugh hearings.  No conservative drudged up scurrilous charges against Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan when they were nominated to the Supreme Court.  And most importantly, no conservative attacked a Senator on his front lawn, chased Obama officials from restaurants and bookstores, or opened fire on members of Congress practicing for a charity softball game.

That may be the biggest difference between the Left and conservatives: we play too nice.