America must always be a force for freedom. President Obama made many mistakes in our foreign policy and because of those mistakes, we are no longer trusted by our allies or respected by our enemies. America must keep its word to ally and adversary alike. We need to reject the Iran nuclear deal, stop drawing red lines we don’t mean to enforce and deny the UN the power to control our actions. We must be fully engaged and leading from a position of strength. That’s a real formula for peace through strength.
From World War II until President Obama took office, America was the respected and trusted leader of the free world. We stood up to the threat of Soviet communism and defeated it. When the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, there began a new birth of freedom in Europe and many other regions. But even before that, the rise of radical Islam began to enslave many peoples, an enormous threat to freedom that continues to rise because Obama refuses to deal with it.
President Obama believed that a weaker America makes the world safer and that we have no greater place in the world than any of the UN’s other members. That’s flat wrong. America offers the freedoms, preserved by our Constitution, that ensure life, liberty and the ability to prosper. Our moral, religious and Constitutional systems make us superior to the many nations that don’t offer those freedoms.
Call it what you will, American exceptionalism is a fact, and that makes our place in the world what it has always been. America is a force for freedom, an untiring voice against oppression and slavery, and a stabilizing force. We have the right and the duty to defend ourselves and our allies. To do so we must act – diplomatically, economically and when necessary militarily — from a position of global strength.
Our foreign policy must be based on the understanding that both the neocons and the isolationists are wrong. The neocons are too willing to go to war to reshape the world. On the other hand, the isolationists refuse to recognize threats to our vital national security interests that have to be deterred or defeated. Their weakness only encourages aggression.
We should never engage in nation-building or fight indecisive wars. War is always a last resort. But there are some acts of aggression that have to be defeated. As we learned in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, if you do not fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose inevitably.
We must engage constructively with our allies and with our adversaries to our mutual benefit. We should never draw “red lines” against an adversary’s action unless we mean to enforce them. We must not sacrifice America’s credibility to phony “red lines,” nor allow the United Nations to control any aspect of our foreign policy as Obama has done in his dangerous Iran deal.
We cannot rely on the United Nations to produce a diplomatic resolution to any significant problem. We must conduct American foreign policy in America’s interests with the objective, always, of keeping the peace. But our diplomacy will be conducted in a manner that uses all of our national assets – diplomatic, economic and military – to best advantage.
As the Obama foreign policy has proved time and again, weakness is provocative. We must always retain the option of acting unilaterally, but we should prefer to function internationally through real alliances with dedicated allies both new and old. Our diplomatic adversaries will quickly learn the difference between our vetoing a UN resolution and our sending an aircraft carrier battle group. We must neither demonstrate weakness nor provoke aggression. And, at all times, we must ensure that we have the ability to deter or defeat any significant threat.
We must recreate America’s foreign policy in accordance with those specific principles.
When Obama and Hillary Clinton began implementing his “transformational” foreign policy they began a process that has, intentionally in accordance with his plan, forfeited America’s influence and power. Obama has done this by shunning our allies and embracing our enemies. He has broken other presidents’ commitments to allies, such as President Bush’s promise of a ground-based missile defense system in Poland to protect Europe. And he has engaged in extremely unwise agreements, such as the new Iran nuclear weapons deal, which place our allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, under the intolerable threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
One measure of the great harm Mr. Obama has done is the number of nations that used to depend on us to guide their foreign policies and now reject our leadership. NATO is adrift. Saudi Arabia, among others in the Middle East, has made it clear that it will no longer follow America’s policy lead. Many other nations are going their own ways because we are not trusted. We must correct that and again make our nation the trusted and respected leader it was for so long.
President Trump will bear the heavy burden of repairing the damage Obama has done. America needs to again be a force for freedom and stability in the world. To do that, we first need to re-earn the trust of our allies and re-earn the respect of our enemies. If we are going to re-earn that trust we must do it in a way that respects our allies.
To re-earn our allies trust – and our adversaries’ respect — we need to take foreign policy actions aimed specifically to correct Obama’s mistakes.
That is a plan from which we can derive the specifics of national defense and foreign policy. It is a plan to achieve peace through strength and responsible, constructive engagement with the world.