- - Friday, July 9, 2021

America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is already leaving chaos in its wake. The power vacuum will be exploited by the Taliban, Islamic terrorists, Russia and China. The disregard for America’s strategic interests and the resulting human calamity could end up matching President Obama’s callous dismissal of the ISIS threat.

These days, both Republicans and Democrats think blasting a policy of “forever wars” makes for a good line. The refrain may score cheap points with voters, but it also telegraphs to the world that America is increasingly conflict-averse and tired of leading on the world stage.

Make no mistake: an increasingly aggressive Communist China waits in the wings to assume that mantle.

America’s forever war must continue, but it goes beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a battle of principles about how humanity organizes itself. It needs to be fought in many forms, every day in every corner of the globe with friends and allies.

Shrinking from this fight will spark a repeat of the 20th century’s atrocities. Those may not be marked by rolling tanks or concentration camps, but through debt-trap diplomacy, the hijacking of natural resources, psychological warfare, bioweapons, eugenics, and digital chaos.

America’s forever war isn’t won with bombs, boots, and guns, but the full panoply of tools at our disposal to counter the intrinsic evil of oppression. Foremost among those tools is our will as Americans to accept the responsibility of global leadership.

Since the appeasement of Axis Powers led to the deaths of tens of millions, the United States has been the guardian of God-given human freedom. We led the fight against Soviet communism and championed the creation of multilateral institutions designed to advance freedom and human rights.

We leveraged our economic power and strong alliances to help drive reforms in nations that led to a better quality of life for billions. We reaffirmed freedom of speech and religion, racial tolerance, and pluralism. We led by example.

Today, a war-weary nation needs to recommit itself to the concept of freedom through strength.

Our use of half-hearted power — the result of fickle politicians, global commercial interests and a skeptical public — often ensures our military strategy and execution fail to match our clear tactical advantage. That degrades our global position.

Institutions the U.S. helped create, like the United Nations, have been co-opted by dictatorships and banana republics bought off by communist China. Europe’s flaccid response to external threats now raises questions about NATO’s effectiveness absent strong U.S. strategic leadership.

America must make a choice. The willful abandonment of our global responsibilities for the sake of some modicum of peace, an extreme devotion to compromise, and a commitment to moral relativism will open the door to oppression the likes of which we haven’t seen since WWII.

With the digital world collapsing territorial barriers, this new tyranny will more easily be felt at home as well.

History has demonstrated conclusively that when the US recoils from its leadership role, the world becomes less free and more unstable. Joe Biden’s world is getting more dangerous by the minute, but he’d rather drive electric trucks, talk about climate change, and eat ice cream.

Of those to whom much has been given, much is required. It is a truism that is dismissed by the liberal cognoscenti today, but it is the price we pay for being born here as opposed to Togo or Peru.

What happens in the world impacts our nation, our freedom, our quality of life and our future. We should be comfortable in this fight in all its varied forms.

We are Americans and the torch of freedom burns at home and abroad because of our sacrifices. Whether we like it or not, that’s our destiny. That’s our forever war and it must go on.

• Tom Basile, host of Newsmax Television’s “America Right Now,” is an author and adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he teaches earned media strategy.

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