Posted to National Interest
Show me an America with less debt, greater economic strength, and robust trade relationships across the globe, and I will show you a safer, more secure, America.
October 7, 2016
I recently delivered a major foreign address at the University of Chicago, in which I highlighted the need for a departure from our foreign policy adventurism—and the need to demonstrate American strength through economic trade and through diplomacy.
Although President Obama ran for office in 2008 on a promise to get America out of Middle Eastern wars, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his administration continued a series of policies of regime changes, particularly in Syria and Libya.
First, let’s be absolutely clear. The president’s first and most solemn responsibility is to keep us and our freedoms safe, especially from foreign attack. If the government does nothing else, it must do that.
Keeping us safe means having a military capability that is unquestionably second to none. Ronald Reagan was onto something when he spoke of “peace through strength,” and even in our most severe budgetary constraints, we have the resources to maintain the greatest defense on the planet.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot reduce military spending. In fact, we must.
Where the debate comes into play is what we expect our military to do. The best word to describe my approach to military interventions abroad is that I am a skeptic. As president, I would not need to be talked out of dropping bombs and sending young men and women into harm’s way. I would be the president who would have to be convinced it is absolutely necessary to protect the American people or clear U.S. interests. I will be the skeptic in the room.
And there is good reason for skepticism. Just look at the past fifteen years. I supported going into Afghanistan after 9/11 to deal with Al Qaeda and its Taliban hosts. We were attacked, and we attacked back. But seven months after we sent our troops to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda had scattered to the winds and the Taliban had been removed from power. Al Qaeda was gone, but we stayed . . . and stayed . . . and stayed. We’re still there.