The controversy surrounding the now defunct Dubai port deal was more circus than study in seriousness. Even still, it was noteworthy for its ability to make politicians and citizens consider, if only disingeniously, whether a given public policy will make America more or less safe.
Seems elementary, doesn’t it? After all, the most solemn duty of any government is the protection of its citizens from foreign threats. Sadly enough, however, America’s safety is often sacrificed on the altars of expediency, political correctness and the whims of public opinion.
We deserve better.
As I write in my book Getting America Right, we want a government that legitimately follows a simple security test for just about any government policy: Does it make us safer?
Radical Islamic terrorism is the single greatest threat facing America in 2006. We learned this lesson in an all too painful way on September 11, 2001 when militant Islamists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, DC and in a field in Pennsylvania.
In response to such horrific attacks, American military forces in Afghanistan drove out the Taliban government sheltering Osama bin Laden and his terrorist camps. Disposing the Taliban taught us a great deal about the challenges of advancing democracy in countries that have only known authoritarian rule. Many Afghans long for the freedom and liberty of a just democracy, but at the same time they face huge cultural and historical roadblocks that subvert these aspirations.
Defenders of freedom must look for how we can develop partnerships and support for Muslim leaders who respect the rule of law and human rights. Despite what you think of the Iraq war, our go forward strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan must be to support the development of a democratic government that can exist apart from American military intervention. If we are successful, we may have laid the foundations that will move other Muslim nations into the modern world. If we fail, we face catastrophic consequences that will only continue to hurt our security in the U.S.
Too ambitious? There are some that think so. But the days of isolationism are over. In the 21st century America must proactively defend herself, and that means taking a measured approach to supporting emerging democracies around the world.
Doug Wilson is the the co-author, with Edwin Feulner, of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today.
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