If there was one area and set of issues upon which both political parties could make common cause and find agreement in this highly partisan time one would reasonably conclude it would be in matters of foreign affairs and national defense.
That is why, as I watch the Biden Administration, it strikes me that every American president, regardless of party, would seemingly recognize the great dangers to our country across the globe and the desire of ruthless nations to seize the opportunity and fill the vacuum when they sense American weakness, either because we are unaware or incapable of stopping their advances and aggression. In fact, that insight and experience was a major selling point of Joe Biden, as a presidential candidate.
That is also why I find troubling the actions taken by Russia, Iran, and China in the last year.
Russia gives every impression of itching to invade Ukraine, with Russian troops massing on that country’s border. Russia is poised to exploit the perceived weakness and ineptness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its diminished capacity for deterrence as Russia ramps up its covert espionage operations and deploying (abusing) its critical role as a regional supplier of energy against Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus to starve them of heat and brutally bring them to heel.
What is urgently needed here to check Russia’s advances is for NATO to invoke its Article 4 powers contained in the NATO Treaty, a powerfully symbolic and practical action that would begin to stabilize and reassure that region. I would note that the Trump Administration deserves great credit for demanding that NATO members catch up and then consistently meet their financial obligations to the Organization for times such as this.
Regarding Iran, nuclear talks are purportedly back under way but there is no credible reason to believe Iran will now, or has ever, slowed its effort to enrich uranium and make nuclear bombs. The so-called Iran-Obama nuclear deal was largely a farce because, while the prohibition on that country’s development was intended to last 25 years, the agreement also allowed Iran to produce unlimited amounts of enriched uranium after 2031 with no restriction on the purity of the nuclear material. That’s an unnerving thought. Another important missing factor was that U.N. inspectors would never have been allowed to—freely and unannounced—inspect nuclear sites to verify compliance.
The Wall Street Journal recently stated that “Iran has been scaling up its nuclear program since mid-2019, a year after the Trump administration exited the nuclear deal and then imposed sanctions. Iran then breached the limits on its uranium stockpile, the purity of the nuclear fuel it was producing and resumed work at the underground Fordow site.”
In return for its agreement and “compliance” with the Obama deal, Iran would receive what it sought most—international sanctions relief—including the recovery of over $100 billion in oil-sales revenues that had been frozen overseas due to these U.S. sanctions. The Obama administration also generously—and secretly—sent an airplane filled with $400 million in cash to Iran as something akin to a cash incentive.
Regarding China, the Chinese Communist Party has made clear that it will do whatever it determines is necessary to win what it sees as an inevitable war with the U.S. Economically, militarily, and geographically, the United States faces a stark and growing threat from China. We have known this for some time but recent examples of cyberterrorism, hacking, industrial espionage, and the theft annually of hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property highlight this fact. (Over the last decade alone it is estimated that the Chinese government has stolen some $6 trillion of U.S. intellectual property).
Further, this aggression by China includes conventional—and even nuclear—warfare, terrorism, and biological, cyber, economic, data and political warfare. For example, China for the first time is building a naval base in the Atlantic Ocean, off the African coast. The U.S. simply has no choice but to move aggressively to rebuff this multifaceted threat to America’s safety, security, and viability.
Recent news has also highlighted the fact that Russia and China have conducted joint military exercises and are helping Iran avoid economic sanctions. Russia and China have also reportedly developed hypersonic missiles, a fact that apparently surprised U.S. intelligence. (N.Y. Post).
This seems to be the conclusion: our President likes to talk about “robust diplomacy” (what is that exactly?) as though talking and false bravado will cause our iron-fisted, vengeful adversaries to retreat. It won’t. Once again, we have a president who believes the way to peace is through concession and appeasement. (It’s impossible to best Churchill’s great line that “an appeaser is one who hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough—it will eat him last.”).
Further, as columnist Cal Thomas points out in The Daily Signal, “evil must be opposed, or it grows in nations, as well as in individuals. The crime wave in America is partly the result of soft-on-crime judges, prosecutors, and district attorneys, and of calls to defund the police. Criminals naturally see this weakness as an opportunity to loot and kill, fearing few, if any, consequences.
If Putin invades Ukraine, if China invades Taiwan, if Iran finishes a nuclear bomb, if North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un decides to move against South Korea, all of them may see this as the ideal opportunity to engage in behavior they might think twice about if America had a strong president.
Just as criminals tend to avoid places where there is effective security and bullies’ prey on people they perceive as unable or unwilling to fight back, so, too, do leaders of “evil empires” feel emboldened when they conclude they will not be effectively opposed by the ‘strongest nation in the world,’ a nation that under Biden is increasingly seen by our adversaries as feeble.” (Cal Thomas, The Daily Signal).
The Biden Administration simply must respond to these growing threats with clarity, strength, and resolve or else the result could be catastrophic for the world and for the United States. In the meantime, we should continue praying for our nation.
Royal Alexander is a Shreveport attorney