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Monday, August 10, 2015

2016 election: where do the candidates stand on issues of National Security?

As I watched last week's initial Republican Presidential Debate, I made a point to jot down any comments from the various candidates on the issue of National Security.  Its not a simple topic.  Some people consider National Security to be limited to any external threat to the United States, including terrorism and rampant illegal immigration, for example.  I include our runaway national debt and unwillingness to control spending as a major threat to National Security, but many consider this to be a domestic issue.  I will include the National Debt in our discussion, but refrain from getting into the weeds.  My criteria for inclusion in the list of threats to National Security include any development which threatens the existence of our republic.  I am a reasonable man, and I am an optimist when it comes to issues that are exclusively controlled by the American people.  But our National Debt is beginning to reach the point of no return.  I am no longer able to calculate how this issue can be brought under control by the current budgetary process.  Even if Congress and the Executive Branch were in agreement, we can only dedicate so much to cutting the national debt, before our ability to pay social security and related social entitlements is threatened  What about National Defense?  Can we continue to have a dynamic and proactive defense industry if we start to cut back on military spending?  The reality is, every fiber of our national government could use a diet.  Waste is rampant in every nook and cranny of Washington, DC.  So many elements of our Federal Government have unlimited access to taxpayers money, that they have begun to see it AS THEIR OWN.  And during the past six years, the problem has exploded, as the Obama Administration has created new and previously unconsidered ways to expand the number of government checks being delivered.  Just how much has the debt grown under Obama?  I've heard many answers, including the politically driven "the debt comes from Bush and his illegal wars" argument.  The ignorance of some people is worn like a badge of honor.  Our economy GROWS in wartime, it does not contract.  Its true that after the conclusion of a war, the economy faces the added pressures of an expanded work force, and fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did not come cheap.   But the actual expenditures by the Federal Government to the entitlements industry absolutely dwarfs the cost of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our treasury bonds have been scarfed up by the Government of China at an unprecedented rate, which means that as long as we consider ourselves a solvent and viable economic state, we are responsible to the Chinese for those bonds.  When did we decide that it was okay to just keep spending money and balance it by selling treasury bonds to nations that do not have our best interests in mind?

As for the various candidates and their positions on National Security, we have two different parties to examine.  The Democratic race, which once appeared to be an anointing party for Hillary Clinton, has become fluid in the last few months, as Hillary loses the reigns of her own "damage control" machine.  I can't see Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the only admitted Socialist in DC, winning the nomination, although it would usher in an era of honesty of sorts.  We've been living under a Socialist government of rampant government control and expansion and executive action for six least Bernie is honest about his motivations.  But a Sander's nomination would hand the presidency to the GOP, so don't hold your breath on his candidacy.  Watch our for Jim Webb of Virginia.  The media has appointed him as a moderate in order to make him more attractive to the independent voter, but Jim Webb is no moderate.  Such a creature doesn't exist in the Democratic Party of 2015.  Joe Biden is chewing up his shorts in excitement of a possible presidential run, but he is limited by his late arrival and his questionable ability to raise money.  As for National Security, Biden, Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of the Massachusetts Tribe will move the United States closer to our European allies and their guilt-ridden, blind approach to international issues.  These three stooges would continue the path we are on, with useless sanctions and failed diplomacy "ad nauseam".  Take a look around the world today and see the result of the European and Obama model of foreign policy: ISIS running free in Syria and putting the Iraqis to flight, and expanding to every inhabited continent; Russia banging the expansionist war drum louder than ever, and North Korea still being North Korea.  As for the Chinese, through innovative and determined use of espionage and diplomacy, the Chinese have turned the United States into a technological client-state.  Its fascinating that the Chinese and U.S. researchers always seem to be working on the same projects simultaneously, with almost concurrent successes.  I'm looking for a candidate that will rid our Universities and Research Laboratories of Chinese spies, and press criminal charges on politicians who take campaign money to lobby for Chinese defense interests in Congress (hello, Bill Clinton).

The Republican candidates present a mixed-bag.  At the moment, when they must appeal to the more conservative Republican voter, everyone becomes a hawk, including Jeb Bush.  But I have a message for anyone who is soft on illegal immigration: you will not win the nomination.  Even though most of the press attempts to downplay the fact that Republican voters are incensed by the Amnesty issue, the candidates can't avoid the results of the ballot box.  Watching Bush, Rubio, Lindsay Graham, and Chris Christie become hawks on immigration will be good comedy, but they will be exposed for their true nature by the fulsome and detailed opinions already given.  Yes, immigration is a National Security issue, and it is directly tied into concerns regarding domestic terrorism.  The consistent hawks include Ted Cruz, Rand Paul (its true), Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.  I can't speak to Huckabee, Jindal, Kasich, Perry or Santorum on this issue, because basically, along with Fiorina I see this second-tier as running for Vice President or for an early exit.  I can't take Donald Trump seriously on any foreign policy issue, regardless of his status in the polls.  He is a candidate of sound-bites, and the GOP electorate will begin to tire of hearing the same "clever phrases" repeated over and over again.  Each time he makes a comment about "taking the fight to ISIS", or "building a wall on the Mexican border", I find myself asking for, Mr. Trump?  Where's the Beef?  While the other candidates release documents highlighting their plans for controlling immigration and tackling the debt, all Trump does is issue platitudes and phrases.  Go home, Donald.

As with all the issues, I find myself drawn to two candidates: Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson.  I like Ted Cruz because he is not afraid to follow through on his campaign convictions.  How we have grown weary of Republican politicians who say one thing on the campaign trail, and then return to the protective political cocoon of Washington DC, where everyone works together to ensure that they all get re-elected- to hell with the best interests of the nation.  Ted Cruz is a true conservative who is not afraid to make a mistake, as long as his motivations and integrity are beyond question.  Cruz is a TRUE CONSERVATIVE and I agree with him on every issue.  He realizes that the threat from both ISIS and Al-Qaeda is much closer to home than most people realize, and that our borders have become as porous as a broken salt shaker.  The FBI does amazing work, considering the politicizing of the Justice Department.  These men and women are out in the field everyday, looking for sleeper cells in our own communities, while the Obama Administration refuses to use the words "Islamic Terrorist" to describe these religiously motivated murderers.  Be that as it may, the FBI has been heavily distracted from the anti-terror focus to concentrate on "race crimes".  I will leave that subject alone for now.

I like Rand Paul because he brings a streak of Libertarianism to the contest.  He is a tireless worker, and I have only disagreed with him on one subject (Cuba).  Even though Rand Paul represents the solid-red state of Kentucky, his nomination would probably swing neighboring Ohio into the GOP orbit.  Unfortunately, nothing Scott Walker does will get Wisconsin to vote Republican, and I wonder about Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio being able to deliver Florida.  They didn't in the last election, if memory serves me correctly.  I think Rand Paul understands the threat posed by China and Russia, and is appropriately galvanized to deal with the ISIS issue.  But my current choice, Dr. Ben Carson, brings something to the discussion of foreign affairs, that we haven't seen in a very long time.  Carson is not an elected official, and has not rubbed elbows with the Ambassador from so-and-so and negotiators from this place and that.  I believe Carson sees the world as a private U.S. citizen; in other words, as we do.  His concern is for the protection of our Democracy and the opportunities and freedoms that existed which allowed him to become a world-renowned surgeon and philanthropist.  He is not a seasoned politician, and I have my concerns about his ability and willingness to rip apart his opponent during a presidential debate (remember Romney?).  But what a change to consider someone sitting in the Oval Office who can remember what its like to drive their own car, and can carry on a discussion with real people about grocery prices, medical and insurance costs, and the fear of terrorism finding its way into our cities and towns.  Carson has been criticized because of his lack of political experience; he has not negotiated a treaty with a foreign government or sat on a Congressional Committee reviewing an international development or incident.  And that may be his greatest asset.  

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