- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 7, 2021

Inside the Beltway recently had a short conversation about the state of national security with retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, who was the commanding officer of the USS Cole in 2000 under a suicide terrorist attack by al Qaeda in the Port of Aden, Yemen.

An informed public appears to be a key element in the security equation. Here’s what the commander said.

“I believe the American people are incredibly smart. They just need to get the facts so that they can understand the threats which are truly facing our nation. The No. 1 threat we have today is China and it is closely followed by Russia, and the possibility that Iran could be in pursuit of a nuclear weapon,” he advised.

“The threat that China is presenting to the short- and long-term interests of the United States has evolved significantly over the past five years. I think the American people need to have a clear understanding and recognition of what they have been doing to us over the last 30 years, and what their aim is,” Cmdr. Lippold said, noting that this trend is particularly significant as Chinese President Xi Jinping approaches a possible third term in office.

Does Cmdr. Lippold still believe in the productive Reagan-era mantra of “peace through strength,“ which implies military readiness and a sure footing?

“I absolutely do. I think you have to have two things in place to have national security. You have to have capability and credibility. For capability, you not only have to have the weapons systems and people that can operate them, but they have to be forward-deployed, so that you can use them where and when you most need them,” Cmdr. Lippold said.

“At the end of the day, even if you have the most capable military, there has to be credibility in place, signifying that you’re going to exercise that last instrument of national power in order to safeguard our nation and its people,” he advised.

Cmdr. Lippold currently is a public speaker and president of Lippold Strategies LLC, a consulting firm specializing in executive leadership development and long-range strategic planning.


Speaking of “peace through strength,” strategic deterrence and other matters, here’s what Ronald Reagan had to say about it when he was a presidential hopeful, according to the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum:

“We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted,” Reagan told the Republican National Convention on July 17, 1980.

And by the way, here is one of the “core tenets” of the USS Ronald Reagan:

“As our nation’s only forward deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan is the cornerstone of Carrier Strike Group 5. Together with Carrier Air Wing 5, our ship-air wing team forms the most lethal fighting force in the world. We will preserve peace through strength, and should deterrence fail — we will always be ready to fight and win under any circumstance. We are ‘Warship 76,’ and we have the watch,” the tenet said.


These are not very pleasant findings for the White House.

“The Emerson College national poll finds President Joe Biden at 50% disapproval and 41% approval. Biden’s approval is down five percentage points since the last Emerson national poll in September, when he was at 46% approval and 47% disapproval. The president’s current numbers have almost reversed from February when his approval was at 49% approval and 39% disapproval,” the poll analysis said.

“The drop in approval is greatest among Black/African-American voters, moving from 72% approval in February to 52% approval in November. Hispanic support dropped from 56% approval to 50% approval, and approval among White voters dropped from 43% to 38% approval,” it continued.

“Three years out from the 2024 presidential election, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden by two points, 45% to 43%, in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup among registered voters. Eleven percent (11%) of voters said they would vote for someone else, and 1% were undecided,” the poll said.

The Emerson College national poll of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted Nov. 3-4.


The dust is settling.

“The results out of Virginia and New Jersey on election night, along with the rejection of progressive ideology in deep-blue jurisdictions across the country, came as a rude awakening for Democrats,” wrote National Journal columnist John Kraushaar.

“Despite the party’s relentless focus on boosting federal spending, voters sent a message they’re once again worried about government excess. Top Democratic strategists have also been engaged in difficult conversations about just how damaging the party’s progressive activists — especially their indulgence of anti-police rhetoric and social-justice ideology — have been to the entire Democratic brand,” he said.

Democrats, Mr. Kraushaar advised, need to “rediscover the moderation” that appealed to voters in 2018.


There was recent interest in “iconic Trump Gift Wrapping Paper” offered by former President Donald Trump’s website in exchange for a donation. But wait.

The Republican Party’s official online store is also offering GOP-friendly wrapping paper which includes an elephant wearing a Santa hat and a patriotic “Trump 45” logo, among other things. Also of note: T-shirts bearing a Christmas tree and the motto “Come and take it” — plus a mug advising all to “Make Christmas Merry Again.”

Find the possibilities at Shop/GOP.com and be sure to check out the overall “Collections” heading.


68% of U.S. adults think the marijuana should be legal; 50% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 83% of Democrats agree; 70% of men and 65% of women also agree.

12% of U.S. adults agreed in a similar Gallup poll conducted in 1969.

32% overall say marijuana should be illegal; 49% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree; 29% of men and 35% of women also agree.

84% of U.S. adults agreed in a similar Gallup poll conducted in 1969.

SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 823 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 1-19 and released Friday plus a similar Gallup poll conducted Oct. 2-7, 1969; the number of respondents in the historic poll was not included in the news release.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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