There are no white knights to side with in ugly sectarian and religious struggles such as this. We should only get involved in a conflict if our vital interests—our security, prosperity, or way of life—are at stake. We should not use our military to referee—or worse, join sides—in the Shia Iran versus Sunni Saudi Arabia proxy war.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said the U.S. was “running out of time” to solve the crisis in Korea, implying that military action will be needed within “a few months.” He is wrong. Time is on our side, not on Kim Jong-un’s. A rational, logical, and patient foreign policy will preserve the lives of our allies, prevent the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and increase American security. If time is running out on anything, I fear it may be on hoping Trump chooses a rational policy instead of a reckless militaristic one.
We can’t reshape the world in America’s image through military force or coercion, and trying to do so often backfires. Of course we should talk to Russia and Putin, especially when treating Putin as something he is not may even prolong his autocratic reign. We have been warned by statesmen of old to not obsess over unrealistic threats from over the ocean. These statesmen loathed foreign tyrants, but they knew that an America true to her principles would always win the long game. Time to take those warnings to heart.
If after a thorough and comprehensive debate Congress decides to authorize military action, then at least the people will have had had a chance to communicate their views through their representatives, and the president can act with the full backing of the country.
In any case, the Budget Control Act has helped reduce the debt burden. It has disciplined both annually appropriated spending and direct spending programs. The BCA has bought Congress time to get its house in order.It isn’t too late. If Congress repeals the BCA without establishing alternative budget controls, however, the path to poverty will be close at hand.
Deterrence coupled with hard-nosed diplomacy is vital, now more than ever, and should be far and away the centerpiece of U.S. action toward North Korea. Offering China a smaller U.S. presence in South Korea in exchange for effective suasion of the Kim regime is one option the Trump administration should consider, as is exploration of outcomes in which Pyongyang’s nuclear power is contained rather than eliminated (which is fantasy).
American affairs abroad should be redirected away from an obsessive attempt to solve problems using lethal combat power and instead focus on expanding U.S. economic opportunity and beneficial trade policies. Core functions of the U.S. government are to defend our population and facilitate a healthy economy. Misusing the military is counter to both objectives.
Placing the ultimate decision-making authority into the hands of the branch most intimately connected to the American people had a purpose. Because declaring war generally meant mobilizing the entire nation into a volatile environment, drafting the young into the armed services, and raising taxes to pay for the war effort, the Constitution thrust the decision upon the American people—through their elected representatives in Washington—to vote on whether it was in the U.S. national security interest to do so.
To permit any administration to wage preventive war “anywhere, anytime … against an ideology wherever they perceive it to be” is “very, very dangerous,” Paul continued, because it leads to a costly, “rudderless, “whack-a-mole foreign policy” in which Washington wins lots of little battles at the too-high strategic price of endless military commitments that ultimately offer more risk than defense. “We're a target everywhere we go,” Paul said, “and, yes, we can defeat anyone, but I don't think, in the end, it ends the war.” The last 16 years have proven this point. The White House may not be too concerned about that, but war-weary Americans most certainly are.
Unilateral trade restrictions have significant downsides, especially for consumers of the target products. For example, global oversupply of steel and aluminum reduces input costs for aircraft, automobiles, machinery, buildings, infrastructure, and more. All interests must be considered to chart the best path forward, not just those facing increased competition.
To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military—used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests—and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.