- - Friday, December 10, 2021

Robert Gates was right. In his book titled, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” the former Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama said that President Joe Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

During a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper pressed Secretary Gates about his past statements about Mr. Biden. He responded by saying, “I think he‘s gotten a lot wrong.” He pointed out Mr. Biden‘s opposition to “every one of Ronald Reagan‘s military programs to contest the Soviet Union,” the first Gulf War, and even to their differences regarding Afghanistan during the Obama administration.

Not surprisingly, Secretary Gates believes that Biden‘s withdrawal policy in Afghanistan was a complete failure. He said, “You have to be pretty naïve not to assume things were going to go downhill once that withdrawal was complete,” he said.

If only Mr. Biden‘s failures in foreign policy were limited to hurting his poll numbers. Instead, they project a sense of weakness in the world. Secretary Gates said as much earlier this year when he declared that Russia and China are more aggressive because they believe the United States is weak. 

As we remember the 2,402 Americans killed 80 years ago this week at Pearl Harbor, it is important to review the climate in 1941. The Japanese wanted to establish their power in the Pacific and targeted Hawaii to neuter the influence of the United States. They assumed that a surprise attack would cripple our forces and push America into retreat. 

World War II was well underway by December 7, 1941. Isolationism was the prevailing thought in the country, and the Japanese misread that as a sign of weakness. The attacks forced the United States into the war. 

Six months later, the turning point of the Pacific was the Battle of Midway. There, American service members showed that, while the government’s leadership might have been weak and ill-prepared before the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military was ready to fight back. 

We need to show the rest of the world that even if Joe Biden is a weak, bumbling fool, the American people are not. We are strong and filled with resolve.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is prepared to move. He has staged 175,000 troops on the border of Ukraine. He wants it. Historians see similarities with Hitler invading Poland in 1939 at the start of World War II. 

As President Ronald Reagan advocated, peace comes through strength. His Peace Dividend lasted well through the 1990s. He avoided war because our enemies were afraid to take us on. Now, they see the opposite with the Biden administration. He even gave Russia the green light to a pipeline while shutting them down here in America. 

In addition to Mr. Putin being ready to invade Ukraine, Xi Jinping wants to take control of Taiwan. China has a hypersonic missile. And they are taking over the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and major ports around the world. Mr. Biden can’t even muster enough strength to do more than cancel a few diplomats’ trips to the Winter Olympics. How pathetic. 

At the same time, Iran funds terrorists. They continue to expand their influence throughout the Middle East –– to eliminate Israel and the United States. 

Things took a turn for the worse when Obama drew a red line in Syria and didn’t enforce it, then lifted sanctions on Iran while giving them the capacity to develop nuclear weapons with stacks of cash delivered by the U.S. government. 

Don’t expect help from most of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members. The treaty came in a post-World War II environment where the leaders of the major nations hoped to never repeat the horrors of such a war. Today, however, many member nations are just as weak and reluctant as they were before World War II. 

President Reagan rebuilt the U.S. military. He strengthened the bonds with our allies and stood up to our adversaries. He called out Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He helped the United States win the Cold War without firing a shot. 

That does not come from woke weakness. We can’t police every action in the world, but we can’t hover in fear in the corner either. Reagan‘s peace through strength approach worked, and it can succeed again. But we need a Commander-in-Chief who makes national security and foreign policy decisions based on sound judgment and not just political instincts. 

We owe that to the men who died at Pearl Harbor 80 years ago. We owe that to veterans like Senator Bob Dole, who risked their lives for this great nation. And we owe it to future generations to preserve their freedoms. 

• Scott Walker is the president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.  

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