North Korea's rogue dictatorship has conducted its fourth nuclear weapons test. Radical Islamic terrorism has declared war on the civilized world, including the U.S. And China's vast economy is tanking, plunging our stock market into dangerously new lows.
This is the destabilizing, confrontational world our next president will have to deal with. It will require a tested, fully experienced leader who's ready to do whatever it takes to defend and strengthen our country.
The 2016 presidential campaign is fully underway as it races toward the November election to decide who can lead and protect our country and our way of life.
This is not an office for on the job training, yet many of the candidates seeking it are woefully unprepared to hold it in the dangerous times we live in. Among them:
A soft-spoken, pediatric brain surgeon and author who became an inspirational orator, but has never held public office. Last month, his top foreign policy, national security adviser said Dr. Ben Carson knew little or nothing about either one.
An egotistical real estate developer who won national fame as a reality TV star, but has never held elective office of any kind, or been called upon by our government in any national, advisory capacity.
Donald Trump recently dismissed Russia's seizure of the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, warmly calling Vladimir Putin "a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
Ted Cruz has been in the Senate for just a mere three years, having never been elected to any office before. He began running for president the day he was sworn in, and lately has been soaring in the GOP's presidential polls.
But the Texas lawmaker says he's ready to take on the awesome duties of president. One of his proposals to deal with terrorists hiding in thickly populated urban centers in the Middle East: "Carpet bombing."
The Democratic candidates are no better. Hillary Clinton served four years as President Obama's secretary of State without a single accomplishment.
During that time, four Americans were murdered by a terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, including our U.S. ambassador, after his pleas for beefed up security were ignored by Clinton and her top advisers.
Numerous congressional investigative hearings showed that the State Department bungled the tragic episode from the start. If Clinton can't defend our consulates from the terrorists, how can she defend our country?
That attack was followed by Clinton's widely-criticized decision to use her own private, unsecured e-mail account instead of the government's well-guarded system used by previous secretaries of State.
This week, the State Department's inspector general issued a report saying department officials had given an "inaccurate and incomplete" response when it had said it possessed no information about Clinton's e-mail accounts beyond her official government address.
"The response came even though Clinton's chief of staff, who knew about the secretary's private account, was aware of the inquiry," reported the Washington Post who broke the story.
In what appears to be a coverup of Clinton's reputation for obsessive secrecy, the IG -- the investigative arm of the department -- discovered that staffers hadn't bothered to conduct a search of her office for the e-mails, the report said.
Apparently, this is not the end of the e-mail investigation by the IG's office who said this week that their probe into the case isn't over -- and a further report, possibly into her misuse of the secret e-mail account, was expected.
Meantime, Wall Street's sell-off this week, triggered by China's latest report of a continuing economic slow-down, exposed further weaknesses in the underperforming, sub-par Obama economy.
And raised disturbing new questions about whether the U.S. can withstand the global economic slowdown that is feeding growing turmoil in foreign markets and unnerving American investors.
It didn't get much attention on the nightly network news shows this week, but the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that orders to U.S. factories fell in November for the third time in the last four months.
An earlier report Monday from the Institute for Supply Management, which tracks manufacturing activity, said its index fell to its lowest level since June 2009.
At least "10 out of 18 manufacturing industries "reported contraction in December. Contraction in new orders, production, employment and raw materials inventories accounted for the overall softness in December," said ISM official Bradley Holcomb.
Construction was also part of the economic slowdown, falling for the first time in one and a half years, signaling that forecasters may lower fourth quarter economic growth rates to less than 2 percent.
Another bearish signal of the economy's decline came from the minutes of the Federal Reserve's meeting last month when some members described the decision to raise interest rates "a close call."
Judging by the weakening economic data over the past seven years, and the economy stuck in a 2 percent growth rate, the Fed's nervousness seems more than justified.
America is entering uncharted waters in the year ahead amid deeply held doubts about the presidential lineup and who the voters will nominate and put in charge to run the country and deal with a mountain of challenges.
We clearly need an experienced, confident leader who has run a government, tackled tough problems, dealt with a bickering legislature and steered a ship of state through troubled waters.
Choosing that candidate will require clear thinking on the part of the voters who aren't just swayed by a great speech, but also by the candidate's resume and record of accomplishment.
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