A Republic, If You Can Keep It': It's Not Looking Good

September 17, 2021 was the 234th anniversary of when the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. Recall that a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government they recommended (It still had to be ratified by the 13 states.) He famously responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Franklin’s words certainly apply today … and it’s not looking too great for the home team. All our current leaders are sworn to uphold the Constitution, and their accumulated record is not good.

At the United Nations on September 21, 2021, President Biden pledged “relentless diplomacy” to address the issues of COVID-19, “climate change,” and human rights abuses, and to avoid “a new Cold War.” He mostly ignored the growing threats from:

  • The Sharia-driven threat, more often referred to as “Radical Islam,” now renewed with a vengeance in the wake of the debacle from the ill-timed and executed withdrawal from Afghanistan — that abandoned Americans and our partners and allies to Taliban retribution
  • Exaggerated and undue optimism illustrated by excessive reliance on “over-the-horizon” capabilities without “boots on the ground,” illustrated by the August 29 “remotely managed” drone attack on a “remotely-assessed” threatening target, but instead killed 10 civilians, including seven children — eventually acknowledged on September 17 to be a tragic mistake
  • Growing instabilities with our nuclear adversaries — Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, like re-establishing the terrible Iran Deal, the Joint Cooperative Plan of Action (JCPOA) that is likely to enable rather than block Iran’s efforts to produce nuclear weapons
  • China’s unhelpful influence throughout the globe — especially as its nuclear capability grows as Judith Bergman reports in her recent Gatestone Institute article
  • A global situation in which our friends increasingly no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.

Given the killing of innocents in Afghanistan, the illegal entrance of tens of thousands of innocent Haitians entering our country through our unprotected border, the insulting treatment of our historically first international ally France (even if the decision to support Australia is correct, as I believe it is, to help counter China), the Food and Drug Administration’s smackdown of President Trump’s coronavirus plans, and other missteps — to be generous, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the country is being run by an arrogant man with modest capabilities and mediocre talent.

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in his 2014 memoir, "I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

That was seven years ago, and I think there has been little, if any, improvement since then — including during the time that Gates was Defense Secretary in the Obama-Biden administration. See Liz Peek’s Fox News appraisal and Joseph Crui’s Washington Times article on more recent events.

Indeed, President Biden’s “relentless diplomacy” is an echo of former President Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy that now is being executed by many of the same people in more influential senior positions.

And they are being supported by their congressional allies who seem intent on spending trillions on so-called “traditional” and “human” infrastructure while ignoring vital existential threats and important military support to allies.

As discussed previously, the “powers that be” are ignoring the existential threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would take down our electric power grid indefinitely.

Such an attack is included in the Military Doctrine of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. Protecting against it would require a minor portion of the trillions being advocated by the Biden administration and Congress.

Ignoring this threat reminds me of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Congress is not all that supportive of sound policies that support our allies either. For example, Former Vice President Mike Pence recently tweeted: “This is a disgrace! House Democrats voted to cut $1B in funding from Israel’s Iron Dome, the missile defense that saved thousands of lives as Hamas rained rockets on innocent Israelis this year. Restore Iron Dome funding now!”

I certainly agree.

 Actually, I have a historical familiarity with the Israeli ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs since serving as Director of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), when I repeatedly rescued development of their first missile defense system, Arrow, in its early development.

For example, I sent retired U.S. Army Lt. General C.J. LeVan (a personal friend who had led earlier Army BMD efforts) to help get the program on the right track initially. And I fought off those in Congress who sought to cut Arrow funding, particularly Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, of “Charlie Wilson’s War” well deserved fame, in helping the Afghan mujahedeen run the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

When David Ivry was Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. in the early days of the Gorge W. Bush administration, I was proud that he invited me to celebrate Israel’s Arrow’s Initial Operational Capability (AOC) at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

David was a storied leader of the Israeli Air Force, who among other things led Israeli 1981 destruction of the Osirak reactor, heading off an Iraqi nuclear weapon capability. As Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, he played an important role during my SDI watch and applauded my role in supporting Arrow which achieved its IOC well before our Patriot System.

There’s something about facing the hangman in the morning that focuses the mind.

In any case, we should stand with our Israeli allies including with their Iron Dome efforts which could play an important role in our defense as well.

Finally, I much prefer Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength” rather than “Relentless Diplomacy” as a guiding principle.

Moreover, if we don’t get our act together, we will deserve the judgment that “Our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.” And we may well fail Benjamin Franklin’s observation that our Constitution gives us “a Republic, if we can keep it.”