The GOP is in the midst of a public foreign policy debate. Debate is fine, but as Republican we must agree on some basic premises. The most important premise is that instead of laughing at us, our enemies should be terrified of us.
Yes, terrified. The world isn’t some sort of fantasy milieu of earnest, huggy people who want to work together to forge a brighter tomorrow for all the world’s citizens. It’s full of bad people, many of whom want us enslaved if not dead. They aren’t bad because we’re rich, or insufficiently carbon neutral, or any of that other nonsense. They are bad because they are bad, and our foreign policy needs to recognize the necessity of confronting and destroying them wherever they are.
Anything less is childish naïveté that will kill Americans down the road.
Foreign policy isn't a theoretical discussion in some college seminar led by a pony-tailed grad student who frets about “imperialism” and has never held a M16. I understand the idea and appeal of non-interventionism, and in some cases I'm even sympathetic – after all, I was twice one of those guys intervening.
But prior poorly executed and thought-out engagements overseas do not somehow give us a pass on our responsibilities in the future. We are the United States of America. There is no nation comparable – at least none on the good guys’ side – and if we decide to pull up stakes from the world, we are making a conscious choice to cede it to our enemies.
Yes, enemies. Those who oppose those are not simply unhappy because we support the democracies they hate or because they are aggrieved over some imagined slight. They are evil. A lot of people, including some Republicans, don’t want to face the concrete fact that evil exists. Denial doesn’t alter reality; it makes skyscrapers collapse.
Our enemies understand their own goals even if we refuse to. Whether it be the imposition of a jihadist caliphate, a Russian resurgence, an Iranian bomb or Chinese supremacy over Asia and the Pacific, they are serious about their interests. Too many Democrats, and now some in the GOP, treat our interests as just a talking point.
No, not every struggle between Third World factions demands American intervention. But the fact that our enemies aren't necessarily killing us in downtown Topeka today doesn't mean we can ignore them.
After all, that's their goal. They say it openly. They want to come here. They want to destroy us here. The Jews of Europe learned the hard way that when your enemy says he's going to come and kill you, you should treat him as if he intends to come and kill you