When Foreign Policy and National Security Are Based Upon Campaign Promises

Allen West
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 12:01 AM
When Foreign Policy and National Security Are Based Upon Campaign Promises

I am truly honored to be presenting my very first piece for the readers of Townhall.com as a contributor. I started as a Townhall.com reader myself while on assignment as a civilian-military advisor to the Afghanistan National Army, 2005-2007, after having spent 22 years on active duty service to our Republic in the U.S. It is against that background that I wish to share my thoughts.

America finds itself in what may perhaps be the worst global security situation since the prelude to World War II – and that is not hyperbole. We are at a point where our allies feel abandoned and our enemies feel emboldened. I believe that this degraded situation emanates from one single mistake over the past six years – basing foreign policy and national security on election campaign promises.

When President Obama proclaims that he was elected to “end wars,” he failed to realize that there are only two ways by which that occurs – victory or defeat. You cannot “end a war” by unilateral declaration that you are quitting – that only tends to empower an adversary. Now there are those who will castigate me as a “warmonger,” but I subscribe to two simple premises; “peace through strength” and “decisive victory through overwhelming power.” These are two fundamental principles that we have abandoned. I believe it was Plato who stated, “only the dead have seen the end of war.”

President John F. Kennedy even quipped, “The absence of war is not peace.” This is not to say there must be a perpetual state of war – but rather there should be a preparedness that serves as a deterrent to global belligerence. Do not tell me “America is war weary” – less than 4 percent of this nation has been serving in these current conflagrations.

America is leadership weary – and leading from behind is what we call down South, “following.”

It is still possible to vanquish the enemy from the battlefield but one must first recognize the enemy and their goals and objectives. When the intended purposes and ideological raison d’etre of the enemy are dismissed and ignored due to politicized reasons or a recalcitrance based upon inane campaign rhetoric – well, you make yourself believe that GITMO must be closed because it is a recruiting tool for Islamic jihadists. I seem to remember that there was no GITMO around when Iranian-backed terrorists bombed the Beirut barracks in 1983.

Which brings me to the crux of this missive – why are we sitting at some table considering a “deal” with the No. 1 state sponsor of Islamic terrorism in the world? Does it go back to an original political statement by President Obama about a welcoming hand if Iran would unclench their fist? Then when Iran refused to unclench that fist, the Obama administration decided to remove them – and Hezbollah – from the terror list. How convenient and politically motivated.

As of Tuesday when I was writing this piece, the proposed “deal” has stalled. Based upon political rhetoric, America has not increased sanctions at the ready. It was President Obama who definitively stated at his State of the Union address that any piece of legislation that came to his desk offering sanctions, he would veto. How very empowering to the mad mullahs and ayatollahs of the theocratic-political Iranian regime. This is what Supreme Leader Khamenei announced at his February 18th address on the nuclear negotiations, “It is America that is stuck and entangled in a problem, and the entire reality inside and outside the region proves this. It is you [Americans] who have continually been defeated for these many years; it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that advances, and can in no way be compared to [to the Iran of] 30-some years ago….Iran is moving forward, while the Americans, who have not succeeded in uprooting [the Islamic Republic of Iran], are now forced to tolerate the regime of the Islamic Republic. Their [American] political, security, economic, and cultural plans will not stop us from advancing.”

The fist remains clenched while our hand is extended.

Just to put everything in perspective, Iran still holds four Americans hostage. Here are just six points being rejected by Tehran: the removal of its enriched uranium, a gradual lifting of the sanctions, a restriction of the number of its centrifuges – currently estimated at 10,000, intrusive inspections and snap inspections, any halt to its research and development activity, and any change to the nature of its heavy water reactor at Arak.

I know it is the modus operandi of the liberal progressive left to continue after six years to blame the Bush administration. The preeminent lesson that I learned about leadership is that it takes responsibility, never credit.

The truth is that a campaign promise ushered in the reconstitution and resurgence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh. What was once Al Qaeda in Iraq had been decimated and defeated – not as the 2012 campaign rhetoric of President Obama who just a year ago flippantly referred to ISIS as the “jayvee team.”

Worse, what are the political motivations that would compel President Obama to enable the terrorist state of Iran to have assumed the high ground in this entire fiasco called nuclear negotiations?

Neville Chamberlain signed an agreement with Adolf Hitler – not based on reality – but rather a fantasy based upon politics and a sense of “war weariness.” That agreement was later referred to as a “piece of paper.”

The lesson is simple: when foreign policy and national security is based on campaign rhetoric and not reality, enemies rejoice and young men – and now women – march off to war. They will follow orders, but the objective must be victory.