- - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The most prolonged period of sustained military conflict in American history. That’s what we’ve been living through since Operation Desert Storm began in 1990.

Sadly, only when flag-draped coffins return from the battlefield, met by mourning families, saluting soldiers and remarks from a somber commander in chief do we even take notice  —  and then only fleetingly. War has become background noise to a desensitized population.

But why?

The primary reason is that, for a long time, peace has simply not been an option available to our leaders when threats arise. 

President Trump has changed that.

For decades in America, the gradual erosion of our freedoms and increasingly socialist tilt to our politics has led to choices that weakened our economic, military and cultural strength. 

The Obama-Biden administration accelerated the process. In particular, through their high tax, harsh-regulation approach, they damaged or destroyed thousands of small businesses.

They hobbled American industry, in particular our energy industry, as they bowed to their masters in the Socialist environmental movement.

They hollowed out our military by failing to invest in its modernization. And, sadly, tragedies like Benghazi robbed our military of some of its spirit and gusto.

Worst of all, former President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden served as enablers of an erosion in Americans’ confidence in ourselves, the goodness of our nation and in the culture that made us strong.

When the Obama-Biden administration declared America “not all that special” among the nations of the world, they downplayed the sacrifices of those who built and gifted this blessed land to us, and they re-positioned America’s brand from one that wacko regimes like Iran’s wouldn’t want to mess with to being a mark run by snobby, weakling appeasers Iran’s leaders could (and did) easily manipulate to the tune of $150+ billion in cash.

In fairness, it’s hard to know if the left is capable of grasping the connection between subverting our historically effective cultural norms or stopping the construction of a new domestic oil refinery and American soldiers coming home in body bags.

But as the left made America weaker economically, culturally and militarily, it made war the only option available to our presidents when things go sideways somewhere.

Mr. Trump changed that. He realized that the position we were stuck in was an almost laughably unnecessary self-inflicted vulnerability created by our own leaders. Mr. Trump saw that war would always be the choice when peace wasn’t available as an option.

Everything Mr. Trump has done for the past three years, in terms of his policies, can be summed in one simple phrase: “Make peace an option again.”

He lifted the harsh regulations imposed on American businesses.

He cut taxes unleashing American economic might. The stock market jumped overnight and never stopped rising, setting records over and over.

Mr. Trump took government’s boot off the throat of energy entrepreneurs and allowed our nation to attain its rightful status as a net energy exporter, for the first time since 1953.

Mr. Trump is fixing an out-of-control illegal immigration problem bequeathed to him by the Obama-Biden administration, leading to more job options and faster wage growth for Americans entering the job market.

Mr. Trump saw through the lie that American manufacturing was doomed because of high domestic labor costs and realized that we had much greater leverage to negotiate fair trade deals on behalf of American workers. This week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada and China Phase I deals prove he was right.

Mr. Trump rebuilt our military strength, both in equipment and training and in the confidence that this commander in chief, unlike the Obama-Biden administration won’t abandon our soldiers in the field — ever.

Mr. Trump started using “economic sanctions” rather than throwing troops at every problem. He understands better than prior administrations how effective these tools can be.

Most beneficially, Mr. Trump took on those in our society, emblemized by the likes of Colin Kaepernick, AOC, the spoiled children in the liberal media, and the sex predators in Hollywood, who see America as a cancer. 

Mr. Trump has refueled the notion of American exceptionalism that has been our birthright for generations. Mr. Trump has challenged the self-shaming of America by reminding our people of their own individual greatness and the greatness of our society.

This past week’s events in Iran prove that if, as president, you believe in economic freedom and in the strength of our people and culture, you can implement policies that make peace an option.

Back in early 2016, exactly four years ago, GDP growth was a pathetic 0.5 percent. Millions had given up even looking for jobs. Wages were stuck. CNN Business was reporting on horrific economic indicators and “fear” as reasons for the 5.5 percent stock market plunge that hit right after Christmas.

In that environment, America had no leverage. War is all that’s left to thwart our adversaries.

The irony here of course is that the president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, actually made our nation more vulnerable to war and the man labeled a warmonger by the fanatics on the left is the one who finally made peace a viable option for the world.

• Chris Turner is CEO of Stampede Consulting and serves on the board of the American Conservative Union. He can be reached via twitter @christurner.

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