- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Readers of this column know too well my concerns and reservations with regard to current administration’s policy. While reflecting on Poland’s recent tragic and devastating loss of their president and top military brass, it certainly forced me to think deeper about what our president is facing abroad. Poland’s president was an important ally of our nation.

When the senior leadership of a nation dies suddenly, a tremendous leadership vacuum ensues. The country is vulnerable during that period of time until the new regime is in place and gets organized. The outcome of the new pending leadership could certainly reshape American foreign policy in that region.

The concern is whether the new leadership and government will all of a sudden fall back under the influence and intimidation of the Russian government. This is why President Obama felt is was critical to lead a delegation to President Lech Kaczynski’s funeral; it usually falls to the vice president to attend state funerals.

In fact, Poland was alleged to be the location of one of the infamous CIA black sites, where terrorist were held and interrogated.

It is simple for journalists and columnists to write critical essays about our president’s foreign policy. However, it is occasionally important and necessary to explain that we are all on the same team and that we merely differ in our paths to the goal. Their must be deeper consideration for the complicated and often misunderstood process of how our sovereign leaders must navigate the treacherous waters abroad.

It’s obvious from the statements released by the White House regarding Poland’s recent tragedy that Mr. Obama is very mindful of how delicate and sensitive this situation has become. We must look through a broader lens of what Mr. Obama inherited when he began his presidency on Jan. 20, 2009.

Few presidents have faced such extraordinary challenges — on day one! To enter office with an unprecedented global economic crisis, multiple hot wars and a resilient transnational threat focused on bringing our way of life to a cataclysmic end is nothing short of legendary. Yes, past presidents have faced wars and economic downturns, but few, if any, have ever faced the converging of all of these events simultaneously on their first day in office.

Even Franklin D. Roosevelt on his first day was afforded the opportunity to first change the economic course of the United States before being forced into the war to end all wars — well — so he thought at the time.

The historical convergence of a global economic crisis in the midst of multiple long military campaigns is an agenda on day one few men would wish upon any president. However, these are the challenges that face the current administration.

They are, in fact, just the facts and they are intertwined. In the end, it is the economic engine of this country that drives our capacity to engage and help our fellow citizens of the world. It is our economic engine that provides the means for the United States to field maintain and deploy the greatest all volunteer military in the world.

It is within this interconnected web of the economy, war, vice and virtue that we may well find our greatest national security threat.

Global military operations since 2001 have been vital in disrupting and dismantling state and non-state actors and transnational extremists. These operations directly protect our way of life and our enduring economic interests at home and abroad. Conversely, these military operations are only possible because of the economic engine of the United States. To sustain one, you must sustain the other.

The president’s enduring concentration of effort to disrupt, dismantle and eventually defeat global extremist organizations is absolutely essential. Of equal importance are the president’s enduring economic initiatives that feed the engine that allows us to continue to play a central role in the world. We find ourselves at an interesting juncture in history when the challenges in number, complexity, gravity and speed bear no parallel to a past time. The situation is further compounded by an unrivaled level of interconnectedness that is brilliantly bold one moment and in the next breath deceptively subtle.

Another convergence of these two themes is the importance of maintaining world peace through military deterrence and sometime war-fighting for the purpose of expanding U.S. markets abroad. A corollary to open markets would be maintaining open lanes of transportation and communication.

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