Can We Have an Adult Conversation About Foreign Policy?

aircraft_carrierPresidential primary season is upon us, and handlers of candidates of both political parties will attempt to control how the public perceives them.

It should be a time of great debate about the future of the country.  Wage deflation, a national debt approaching $20 trillion, the government’s culpability in the student loan bubble, and a graying population destined to consume more and more taxpayer resources are all big problems confronting the nation.

But perhaps the most significant problem is America’s declining status in the world. This past weekend, images from Libya of another two groups of Christians being executed for their faith were seared into our consciousness, just another of a series of horrific actions by an enemy that we dare not speak honestly about lest we be called bigots.

Conversely, this past weekend, hand-picked businesspeople, who were wined and dined by the government of Iran, regaled the media with stories of a country that is ready to be transformed. The eager-to-please group apparently never once thought to ask their hosts about being allowed to bring American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini home with them. The Iranian-born Abedini was in Iran visiting family and helping build an orphanage when he was arrested in 2012.  Subsequently, he has been threatened with the death penalty due to his refusal to renounce his Christian faith.

Abedini’s story doesn’t fit the Obama Administration narrative that the Iranian government wants to join the responsible nations of the world and can be trusted with the means to develop a nuclear device, so his name dare not be mentioned, and it rarely is by official sources.

While hosting the either gullible or willfully ignorant businesspeople, Iran also announced that they were moving warships to the coast of the country of Yemen, escalating the probability of wholesale war in the Middle East, as Yemen controls the Red Sea choke point for exporting oil from Saudi Arabia.  The peaceful Iranian mullahs also are receiving sophisticated air defense missiles from Russia to protect their nuclear bomb-making capacity from air strikes.

The kind and misunderstood mullahs also marked their “Army Day” with chants and officially-sanctioned billboards saying “Death to America” with others urging “Death to Israel.”

President Obama, who knows something about lying to achieve his ends, discounts the words coming out of the Iranian leaders’ mouths as political rhetoric, and trusts that they, like him, are willing to tell the public what they want to hear in order to thrive politically.  Of course, his very contention that death to America is politically popular in a rapidly-becoming-nuclear Iran should send shivers up the spine of any thinking person, but our nation seems in short supply of this type of citizen.

The U.S. Senate, for its part, has responded by rolling over on its back with its paws in the air, as they are moving forward with bipartisan legislation by Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee that abdicates their own Constitutional authority over President Obama’s Iranian treaty framework.

Hope comes from a potential lively presidential debate about our nation’s future role in the world.  The past six years have seen an unprecedented power vacuum deliberately created by a United States foreign policy that has made the world less free and more dangerous.

This presidential election season, foreign policy must take center stage.  A real discussion of America’s role in the world must be conducted.

Beyond Iran and their nuke potential, a new U.S. president will also face the expanding Russian imperialist threat; a China with a collapsing economy, lots of new military hardware, and a need to divert their people’s attention away from domestic problems; and a startling lack of friends around the world.

The new president will face demoralized military personnel using materiel which has been stretched to the limit through constant deployment with a public that, unless they are convinced otherwise, cares more about getting free cell phones from Uncle Sam than protecting our national interest.

It is going to be a very hard, complicated job made impossible if a clear vision has not been developed and articulated during the election campaign.

The time to start is now.  It is time for candidates to have the debate over our nation’s foreign and defense policy.  It is time for candidates to lead this discussion and educate the public why this is important.  It is time to have the big discussions about our nation’s future.

Or we can spend time analyzing what Hillary Clinton ate at Chipotle in Iowa and whether she tipped.

America needs a real political discussion, not a Buzzfeed/TMZ gotcha-fest.  The only question is, are we adult enough to have it?

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Rick Manningis the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Governmentis dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.
Rick Manning
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  • franklinb23

    We will continue to be on the best of terms with the most despotic of Middle Eastern regimes so long as they own OPEC and the majority of the world’s oil supply. I still distinctly recall GW’s chummy walk with Saudi King Abdullah, and I doubt anyone would consider this Islamic theocracy to be “friendly” towards Christianity (especially not Christian converts who, I believe, can be punished with death as “apostates”).

    This isn’t a party issue, guys.

    I’m all for severing ties with these backwards theocrats. The only way to do that is by lessening the region’s death grip on our economy: that means, in practical terms, finding alternative fuels and reducing our dependence on foreign (and even domestic) crude.