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LRWF September Luncheon Meeting 9/11/2014

PLEASE NOTE:  The September Luncheon Meeting will be held on Thursday September 11, 2014.  Program will feature K. Carl Smith.  A former U.S. Army officer, KCarl is the President and Founder of Frederick Douglass Republicans.

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August 19th, 2014

The situation in Iraq remains grave. Spiraling violence, political instability, and a humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could impact U.S. vital interests. The Obama Administration has an obligation to take responsible action. Congress should insist the President take immediate, suitable, and appropriate measures to safeguard American interests.

Further, President Obama was right when he said, “I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks. This is going to be a long-term project.” Therefore, Congress needs to look to the long term, ensuring that the instruments of national power are sufficient to stem the rise of a new global transnational terrorist threat and spreading war in the Middle East, which could lead to greater and even more dangerous and destructive conflict.

Why the U.S. Should Care

Two key U.S. interests are at risk as a result of the current situation. The first is the defense of the American homeland, as well as American assets and individuals overseas. For many months, pipelines have been funneling foreign fighters into the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. One recent estimate put the number at over 10,000, including over 3,000 Westerners.

Recruiting foreign fighters is a well-established tactic employed by Islamist extremist groups. Fighters not only add to the ranks undertaking terrorist acts, insurgency, and military campaigns in the operational area; they also become instruments to spread terrorist violence—establishing or inspiring terrorist cells in other countries, spreading propaganda, and providing a cadre of leadership and trained technical advisors for extremist movements in other countries.

As documented by the 9/11 Commission, a base of operations in Afghanistan was a prerequisite for the planning and execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Even without a new established base of operations on the scale of what al-Qaeda established in Afghanistan, Islamists have plotted at least 63 attacks against the U.S. since 9/11, including three that were successful. A terrorist state in Iraq, committed to attacking the West, would represent an even greater threat against the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests and allies in the West. This base would have more resources and greater access to the West than al-Qaeda did prior to 9/11.

A second U.S. interest is the adverse consequences that could result from the war in Iraq spilling over into other countries and destabilizing the region. In particular, one consequence of the current insurgent campaign is the potential to spark a broader sectarian conflict that could engulf U.S. allies in the Middle East and cause worldwide disruptions.

The President’s focus on humanitarian interests in the Iraq conflict misses the big picture. The best way for the U.S. to mitigate human suffering in Iraq is to help restore peace and stability in the country.

Why the U.S. Should Worry

Three issues raise immediate concern for U.S. interests.

First, ISIS has proven to be a formidable threat, using financial resources, military capability, and information warfare to establish a foothold in a significant portion of Iraq. Further, reported abuses within the country and threats against the West suggest that ISIS represents a threat at least as serious as that posed by the al-Qaeda network.

Second, the inability of the Iraqis to establish a stable and responsible central government means that Iraq could permanently fragment. The devolution of Iraq would likely spur further sectarian competition and economic disruption and create new opportunities for extremist activity.

Third, the collapse of the Iraqi military in the field leaves the country without an effective non-sectarian security force to provide for public safety, let alone deal with the ISIS invasion.

Next Steps

  1. The U.S. should keep Kurdistan in the fight. This region of the country is an irreplaceable bulwark against Islamist expansion and a critical contributor to rebuilding the Iraqi economy.
  2. Iraqis need a stable unity government in Baghdad. Without a government committed to representing all Iraqis and reestablishing sovereignty over all Iraqi territory, saving Iraq will be an almost impossible task. Stability in Baghdad is a prerequisite for getting effective Iraqi security forces back in the fight.
  3. Remember Jordan. Jordan is a keystone of stability in the region. It would be a tragedy if the conflict in Iraq spilled over and destabilized this small but important country.
  4. Worry about Iran. Iran remains an active state sponsor of terrorism with a terrible human rights record and a penchant for meddling in Iraqi affairs. Further, despite international efforts, significant concerns remain over the Iranian nuclear program. The U.S. should be working to marginalize Iran’s influence in the region and particularly in Iraq.

Congress Can Help

Congress should:

  • Urge the President to help the Iraqi people deal with the threat of ISIS.
  • Work with the President in establishing a coalition of friends and allies to vigorously combat the terrorist pipelines bringing foreign fighters into and out of Iraq.
  • Refuse to endorse or support any agreement that does not eliminate concerns over an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Further, Congress should work to reestablish the strongest possible sanctions regime.
  • Review the recently released report of the National Defense Panel and resolve the critical shortfalls it identifies in military capabilities and long-term readiness that will be required to protect U.S. vital interests in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

First, Stop Losing

The first step in winning any war is to stop losing. The U.S. should assist the Iraqis in taking back their country and winning a future that promises peace and prosperity rather than violence and oppression.

These steps will not resolve the immediate crisis in Iraq, but they are the necessary first steps in taking the long, painful road back to security, stability, and prosperity in the region.

—James Jay Carafano, PhD, is Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow, at The Heritage Foundation. Steven P. Bucci, PhD, is Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, of the Davis Institute, at The Heritage Foundation.

August 1st, 2014

Medical Marijuana Draws the Fire of Florida Police Chiefs

The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) took aim at Amendment 2, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution which will allow more medical marijuana options in Florida. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week found 88 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana though the survey did not focus on Amendment 2. The poll also showed 55 percent of Florida voters backed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

“Regardless of any state laws, recreational marijuana use is still illegal on the federal level because of its high potential for abuse and the fact that there is no currently accepted national standard for use as a medical treatment,” said Chief Frank Kitzerow, the president of the FPCA, on Thursday. “It’s important to understand that expanding the use of marijuana for medical purposes is not a safer way to use the drug.”

Kitzerow pointed to studies which “show that marijuana use and criminal involvement – other than drug use – are highly related” and car accidents involving marijuana after Colorado legalized it for medicinal reasons.

July 30th, 2014

Obamacare has proven again to be the biggest legislative failure in history, with last week’s ruling that its subsidies are illegal. These subsidies induced some 5 million Americans to sign up for Obamacare, but are prohibited by law as held by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Halbig v. Burwell.

This humiliation to the Obama Administration was a devastating setback to legislation already disfavored by a 59-40% margin among the public, according to the latest CNN poll. Twice as many Americans say they are being hurt rather than helped by Obamacare.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is neither affordable nor protective of patients. It promised subsidies for millions of Americans to buy new health insurance and to pay costly premiums that have driven insurance company stock values to record highs.

People in households making between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 per year for one-person households) have been getting subsidies to buy insurance on health insurance exchanges. A staggering 90% of those who signed up for this Obamacare insurance did so in reliance on these subsidies, which the Court just ruled are illegal.

These health insurance exchanges are much more than marketplaces, like Travelocity or Expedia, to make it easier to shop for and buy health insurance. They are also the vehicle for dispensing subsidies and imposing penalties, while also building Big Brother-like databases about Americans.

The liberal central planners inside the D.C. Beltway thought the 50 States would comply with Obama’s demand that they set up these health insurance exchanges, at costs estimated to be as much as $100 million per exchange. As an incentive for States to set up these exchanges, the law provided substantial subsides to people who sign up for a State-established exchange.

The central government planners thought the subsidies would coerce States to establish their own health insurance exchanges, similar to how the federal government coerces States to obey D.C. commands in other fields such as education. But States balked after they saw how much control they would be giving to the federal government by establishing a State exchange, and how expensive they would end up being.

Nearly two years ago, noted patient advocate Twila Brase, R.N., explained why “a state-established exchange is a federal takeover center.” State exchanges would be required to obey federal regulations, report annually to the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and comply with a list of federally mandated Essential Health Benefits as dictated by the Secretary of HHS.

Her conclusion: “Just say no” because “refusing to build the state exchanges is key to stopping Obamacare.” More than 2/3rds of the States – 36 of them – have done just that.

States do not work for Barack Obama, which he has been slow to figure out. Democrats were crushed in the landslide midterm elections after the passage of Obamacare in 2010, and a repeat performance looms large with the next midterm elections barely three months away.

Back in 2010, Obama was riding high and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded passage of Obamacare by declaring, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it!” But now Democrats are angry at what the D.C. Circuit told them is really in the bill.

Perhaps Obama and his lieutenants should have read the bill before railroading it through Congress. The text of Obamacare expressly states that the subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on an exchange are available only for an “Exchange established by the State,” and the Obama Administration broke the law by subsidizing the purchase of health insurance over federal rather than State exchanges.

The D.C. Circuit admirably upheld the law as it was passed, and properly rejected attempts by the Obama Administration to rewrite it now. The Court admitted that “our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” but confined its ruling to interpreting the law rather than rewriting it as Obama seeks now.

Adding to the chaos, on the very same day as this defeat of Obamacare in the D.C. Circuit, another federal appellate court upheld it. That is like one umpire calling a pitch as a “ball” after another umpire had declared it a “strike.”

Chief Justice John Roberts testified during his confirmation hearings that a judge should limit himself to the role of an umpire, calling the balls and strikes without changing the rules of the game. It is refreshing that a panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit did exactly that in applying the law as it was written, not rewriting it as Obama now wishes he had written it.

by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum

July 28th, 2014

PLEASE NOTE:  The September Luncheon Meeting will be held on Thursday September 11, 2014.  Program will feature K. Carl Smith.  A former U.S. Army officer, KCarl is the President and Founder of Frederick Douglass Republicans.

July 4th, 2014

The persistent march of terrorists and tyrants around the globe gives us reason to reflect on the precious gift of freedom we have been given and must continue to safeguard.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, 238 years ago, our Founding Fathers defied an intolerable King and proclaimed a God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those men signified to the world that, although they yearned for peace, they would not submit to despots. Their demand for liberty offered no compromise.

As Thomas Jefferson later wrote, the Declaration was “an expression of the American mind”—one that refuses to accept insufferable evil, abuses, and usurpations and holds the freedom of its people supreme.

This is the spirit America was founded upon.

This is the heritage we all share.

This is what makes us Americans.

Much time has passed, but many of the challenges our forefathers faced have not changed. One doesn’t have to look very far on the world map to find nations where people suffer under brutal oppressors.

“Terrorism” is an often-used word because the maiming and killing of innocents is so frequent. Suicide bombings, IEDs, mass killings, kidnappings, and hijackings are tools of their trade.

Hamas recently kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenagers who were waiting for a bus to get home from school. They committed no wrong; they were targeted, forcibly taken, and shot.

Hundreds of girls remain missing in Nigeria, kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

We remember when Taliban forces shot Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager because she was campaigning for girls’ education. Courageously, she continues to advocate for it today.

We remember watching Neda Agha-Solten perish on the streets of Tehran during anti-government protests from a gunshot wound to the chest.

We remember when the Syrian government gassed hundreds of beautiful, faultless, cherished children in their sleep last year, shocking the conscience of people around the world.

And, there are countless others whose stories have not been told.

Most of us, because we are Americans, will never have to suffer as these people and their families have. Thank God for the blessing of being an American and those who have fought and continue to fight to keep us free.

And, remember, those Americans who are trapped, at this moment, in dark corners of the world.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been brutalized and remains imprisoned in Iran for merely sharing his Christian faith. Another American citizen, Kenneth Bae, is imprisoned in North Korea for also sharing his Christian faith. And, Meriam Ibrahim, a young mother who was forced to give birth with her legs in irons because she would not renounce her Christian faith, was kept in a Sudanese prison with her two small American children. Due to international outcry over their plight, they are finally out of jail, but are still waiting to experience real freedom in America.

We should never take our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for granted. Too much of the world does not recognize them. We must still hold these truths.

Just as those brave men did 238 years did ago, let us affirm our commitment to a government defined by consent of the people—a transformative concept that launched America into becoming the greatest force for freedom the world has ever seen.

On this Fourth of July raise up your American flags high and wave them proudly. The spirit of our star-spangled banner makes us who we are. That spirit keeps us strong, safe, and free.

Written by Ted Cruz for The Heritage Foundation

July 1st, 2014

You don’t have to agree with Hobby Lobby or share its owners’ opposition to abortion to recognize that the government should not be able to force Americans to set aside their deeply held beliefs simply because they go into business.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed and upheld the right of Americans to live and work according to their convictions in a 5- 4 decision today.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the justices ruled the government will not be able to force Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to provide coverage of four drugs and devices that can end the life of a human embryo.

As Justice Samuel Alito noted in the majority opinion today, there were plenty of other ways for the government to provide the drugs and devices in question to women who wanted them without forcing private family businesses to violate their convictions.

Applying the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to closely held family businesses, the Court found that the government cannot coerce the Greens’ and Hahns’ businesses to violate their beliefs.

As the Court noted today: “Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”

Passed by Congress in 1993 by broad, bipartisan majorities, RFRA protects Americans from substantial burdens on religious freedom unless the government can show it has a compelling government interest and does so in the least restrictive way possible. That’s a high bar and one the Obama administration failed to meet under this mandate.

Today’s decision rejects the administration’s argument that Americans’ religious freedom ends when they open a family business.

Having essentially exempted the health plans of nearly 100 million individuals from this mandate and provided a religious exemption (albeit narrow) to houses of worship, the Obama administration was unable to show a compelling reason for burdening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ businesses.

To be clear, the decision today applies only to the Obamacare rule that was threatening the religious freedom of the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses. Other claims for religious exemptions by closely held family businesses from other laws will have to be litigated on a case-by-case basis. RFRA doesn’t provide a blank check for religious believers to do whatever they want in the name of religion and neither does today’s decision.

With today’s ruling, the Greens’ and Hahns’ family businesses will be able to continue offering their employees generous healthcare plans (which cover most forms of contraception) without fear of government penalties. And the women who work for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood remain free – like all women – to make their own decisions about these four drugs and devices (as well as other birth control) and to purchase or find insurance coverage for them. But the government cannot coerce these family businesses to participate in those decisions in violation of their beliefs.

Article from the Heritage Foundation

June 27th, 2014

Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better   by Peter H. Schuck

Reviewed by Judy O’Donnell

Our federal government employs about two million people and does business with untold numbers of contractors and consultants.  In 2011, it spent about $3.8 trillion on programs that touch everyone.

Unfortunately, as the author reminds us, Americans have a dismal view of the performance of their government.  In 1958, 73 percent of respondents told pollsters they trusted Washington D.C. to do what is right “just about always.”  In 2011, 10 percent held that view.  This crisis of confidence can be attributed to dysfunction in Congress and poor performance of government.

The author, who claims he is a Democrat, uses cost-benefit analysis and relies on empirical evidence to assess a vast number of programs and finds, with a few exceptions; they are terribly wasteful and ineffective.   Schuck makes a compelling case that many domestic programs, including those that have public support among Republicans as well as Democrats, deliver benefits at costs that are much higher than necessary and contain damaging unintended consequences.

The authors targets include federal drought insurance, income transfers to the disabled, student financial-aid programs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, ethanol subsidies, and the Dodd-Frank reform of financial institutions.

The government workforce is “demoralized, poorly equipped, marginalized, publicly scorned and undisciplined,” because it is virtually impossible to suspend, demote, or fire a civil service worker.

The majority of the book lays out all the bad programs we have going on, but really gives little in the way of solutions.  Schuck supports field-testing new programs through pilot programs.  He also calls for enhanced enforcement and audits.  His principal aim is to help tailor the ends of government to its institutional means and capacities by persuading liberals that they need to worry a lot about the political implications of poorly performing government programs and convince conservatives that, since big government is here to stay, they can—and should—demand greater efficiency.

That said, his claim that policies often do not satisfy even the most minimal standards is likely to demoralize Democrats and energize Republicans.

June 27th, 2014

Of the more than 24,000 unaccompanied children who entered the United States illegally last year, most haven’t left — even those who were detained.

“Eighty-seven percent of those are still here in [court] proceedings because we have no final orders,” said Tom Homan, executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifying yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee.

And the problem has gotten worse this year – more than 52,000 minors traveling without their parents have been caught crossing the southwest border since October, including a record 9,000 in May.

The children, most of whom come from Central America, are processed in Nogales, Ariz., before moving to the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees detention shelters and works to find parents or guardians in the country.

An HHS official today confirmed to The Daily Signal that an unaccompanied minor being housed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, was hospitalized and diagnosed with H1N1, or swine flu, which is contagious. The  official, calling it an isolated case, said the child is responding to treatment and being monitored.

As politicians on both sides point fingers – the title of yesterday’s House hearing, “An Administration-Made Disaster: The South Texas Border Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors,”spoke to that – border officials charged with managing the crisis say the facts on the ground are more clear.

“Only one thing can end the frenzy of law-breaking at the border – an end to the ‘catch-and-release policy’ for illegal-alien juveniles,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal. Krikorian added:

Every illegal alien caught at the border must be detained until his hearing, so that word gets back to Central America that it’s no longer worth making the trip.

President Obama has added capacity to process and place the border crossers, directing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson to coordinate assistance from various sections of the government, including HHS,  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Coast Guard. Even so, officials at the border say, they face a shortage of manpower.

‘Motivated by Rumors of Amnesty’

Officials, based on recorded interviews with the children, can’t definitively declare a reason for the surge. But  those who testified said misinformation about current U.S. immigration law and the prospect of amnesty for illegal immigrants have been motivators.

“Reports from ICE officers and agents on the ground corroborate reports that the majority are motivated more by rumors of amnesty than the situation in their countries,” said Chris Crane, president of National ICE Council 118 of the American Federation of Government Employees. The union leader added:

Impoverished countries don’t read our laws or read cut-off dates. This crisis is putting a tremendous strain on ICE ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] and its limited manpower and resources nationwide.

Brandon Judd, president of the AFGE National Border Patrol Council, who represents 16,500 border agents, said diverting resources to the child migrant problem has hurt enforcement resources where it matters.

“We are adequately staffed to process them, but we have to strip the line to do it,” Judd said. “The actual border takes a hit because we have to take people out of the field to do it.”

The influx of child migrants has spotlighted another shortage: a lack of immigration judges.

Homan said that once the children arrive here, they likely won’t leave for a while – if at all – because there are too few immigration judges to see them.

Hearings can take several years, Homan said.

Each child receives his own hearing. Most of the children do not have lawyers, though they have the right to a counsel at their own expense.

‘They Blend Into the Community’

But just bringing the children to court can be a challenge, because Border Patrol agents sometimes have no means to verify their identity.

“Most will never appear in court,” Judd said. “They fail to appear and then they blend into the community. The chance they are deported is small.”

Some of the children – and separately, women traveling with children – seek asylum. Based on a screening interview with the border crossers, an officer determines whether a credible fear exists.If so, the officer may refer the minor or adult to an asylum hearing at an immigration court.

Ronald Vitiello,  deputy chief of border control for customs and border protection at the Department of Homeland Security, said unless the children carry documentation or have prior history in the U.S., agents can’t confirm their ages and names.

Most of the minors say they are between 14 and 17 years old, though some report being as young as 5.To add to the challenge, children under 14 cannot be fingerprinted under U.S. law.

The White House announced plans to expedite removals and said it will expand use of monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets to track the illegal immigrants while they wait for court proceedings.

Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Guatemala on June 20 to meet with regional leaders and ask for help quelling rumors of achieving legal status in America.

To coincide with Biden’s trip, the Obama administration pledged $93 million in new programs to reduce violence in Central America. The funding includes $40 million to reduce gang membership in Guatemala, $25 million to build 77 youth centers in El Salvador and $18.5 million to build 77 youth centers in Honduras.

No Free Passes’

This week Johnson, the DHS secretary, sent anopen letter warning Central American parents who consider sending their children here: “There are no ‘permits’ or free passes at the end.”

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, said the reason for the crisis is “abundantly clear,” but the solution is more complex. The head of the Hispanic civil rights organization said that solution involves “not just law enforcement and U.S. domestic policy, but also U.S. foreign policy and the participation of international agencies.”

Marguia said a new plan from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., “is an important step forward in addressing this crisis,” adding:

It calls for, among other things, focusing immediately on the welfare of the children, cracking down on smugglers and a renewed emphasis on fostering social and economic development in the region.

Altogether, the border surge brings circumstances different than years past.

This batch of border crossers likely don’t have criminal intentions, officials addressing the surge said, because they don’t try to be elusive. They come, rather, because they know they can stay.

“They are giving themselves up,” Vitiello said.

Article from The Heritage Foundation

June 27th, 2014
The Marijuana Usage Trend That Separates America From the Rest of the World
U.S. government data shows that changing perspectives on the drug have led to a 56 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits between 2006 and 2010 — and a 14 percent increase in the use of drug-treatment programs during that same time frame, according to NPR.

 

June 9th, 2014

Many people think President Obama’s speech at West Point was all about politics. Setting up straw men and knocking them down, the president defined himself mainly by what he wasn’t. He was not an isolationist. He was not a warmonger. Of course, no one seriously claimed he was either one. Nor are these extremes real-world strategic options.

Yes, the president’s speech was offered as a defense against his political critics. But it would be wrong to conclude that politics is the only factor driving Obama’s foreign policy. There appears to be a strategic purpose as well: Put simply, it is to limit American power and to redefine the very nature of American leadership in the world.

Prior to Obama, presidents tended to see American power as a good thing. It helped secure the peace and provide world order. It served the values of freedom and democracy by supporting allies. Whatever American presidents of the post-World War II era may have thought about particular wars, they did not doubt the goodness and necessity of American military power—both as a means of defense and as exerting a deterrent and stabilizing force for the world as a whole.

Obama sees it otherwise. At West Point he was careful to give a nod to the traditional view that military power is the “backbone” of American leadership. But as with almost all statements about America’s role in the world, he had reservations, particularly with respect to things military. “Military action cannot be the only—or even primary—component of our leadership in every instance,” he said. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.”

The sarcasm is revealing. So, too, is the proliferation of “ifs”, “ands” and “buts” to qualify (and contradict) every hard statement about the efficacy of American power. The president clearly thinks that American military power is overrated, if not downright problematic. What is particularly odd is his apparent belief that it has no real value unless it is actually used. For example, at West Point he proclaimed that the armed forces’ main job is to defend what he calls “core interests — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.” If military forces are to be used for any other purpose, for humanitarian causes, for example, it must be done so “multilaterally,” either through the United Nations or cooperation with some undefined “others.”

It’s important to be clear what he’s talking about here. Obama is describing the active use of force. There is no consideration of the residual value of military power—and thus of the armed services themselves—as a deterrent to war, which after all was the central military strategy not only throughout the Cold War but even in the decades thereafter.

Obama’s distrust of American power is not mere rhetoric. He is putting his money where his mouth is. He’s making deep cuts to America’s armed forces. The one announcement of increased investment in security in the West Point speech was to spend $5 billion—not to modernize America’s armed forces, but to aid other countries in combating terrorism. His entire strategic push is to get others—the U.N., our allies—to do more so we can do less. That’s true not only when he implores our NATO allies to “pull their weight,” but when he expects the Afghan government to take our place in combating the Taliban after our withdrawal.

Preaching to others to do what we are ourselves unwilling to do is not leadership. It is an abdication of leadership. Our indispensable role has always been to do what others cannot do, and at the top of that list was to provide enough credible military strength to maintain a balance of power in favor of us and our allies.

It’s a shame the president has such doubts about the country he leads.

Morning Bell, Heritage Foundation