- - Friday, January 14, 2022

Last week, representatives from the U.S. and NATO met with Russian officials over the country’s threatening of Ukraine. There should be no negotiation. Russia has good reason to doubt America will execute an offensive strategy. 

It is a perpetually uncomfortable topic for Democrats that the United States must lead aggressively to counter Russian and Chinese expansion and the destabilizing impact of Islamic terrorism surgically used by those powers to sow instability. 

For Republicans in Washington, the so-called foreign policy hawks have either been run out of town or forced out of the conversation by President Donald Trump and the others’ bashing of so-called “forever wars.” Their absence from the national discussion has been devastating to global perceptions of America’s strength.

Not only has the experiment in Russian democracy failed, but since the beginning of the Obama administration, our desire to keep the former Soviet states independent has largely been a failure as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on proxy wars and “Fifth Column” attacks for two decades. It’s paying off as former Soviet republics, one after another, now are controlled by the iron man who once called the collapse of the Soviet Union one of the “great tragedies of the twentieth century.”

In the Beltway, the left’s control has meant paralysis. As he did with Iran, President Biden is again telegraphing to the world we haven’t come to play hardball with anyone, let alone Russia and China. 

Mr. Biden’s interests appear limited to promoting trillions in welfare expansion, giving speeches denigrating the American democracy, and leveling charges of racism against his own population. His party is more focused on climate change, critical race theory and advancing its war on gender than pushing back against our adversaries. 

The mainstream media is also complicit in the erosion of American power. For the sake of helping the left advance its domestic agenda and culture war, they blur the lines between democracy and communism, freedom and despotism. 

The strong leadership role of the U.S. on the world stage cannot be dismissed as a rusty vestige of the 20th century. It must endure. The Europeans don’t lead. They plunged the globe into two of the deadliest conflicts in human history in the last century. 

Europe’s frayed alliances have made it dependent on Russian energy, soft on Chinese aggression and incapable of exhibiting collective strength without an American commitment to back it up.

If Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine, as they indicated this week, then there is no reason why the United States shouldn’t deploy a limited number of military advisors and advanced defensive weapons to Ukraine. If Putin isn’t interested in Russian imperialism, then NATO, with the United States’ strong backing, should begin the process of Ukrainian membership. 

Until Russia pulls back from its current posture, new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline should receive bipartisan support in Congress. 

Russia is building bases and alliances in Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria. Chinese weapons are being funneled to the Houthi terrorists in Yemen via Iranian ports. After failing to keep its Doha commitments, the U.S. handed the Taliban and a hodgepodge of Islamic terror groups control of strategically located Afghanistan, now on the verge of collapse. 

The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq paved the way for both Russian and Iranian influence. China is making deals with multiple nations in Central and South America. Logic would suggest that North Korea’s new hypersonic missile if it is truly operational, is made with Chinese components. China is building new nuclear missile fields and expanding its Navy at an alarming rate. 

America’s military and foreign policy hawks need to rebuild their nests and quick. Being more hawkish today isn’t about running headlong into a military conflict. It’s not a “shoot first, ask questions later,” philosophy. We have more tools at our disposal than ever before to aggressively shape the global balance of power. It doesn’t mean long-term military engagements alone.  

The left is more than happy being consumed with expanding abortion rights, fighting climate change, funding ineffective anti-poverty programs and other utopian public policy notions than recognizing the devastating impact on our economy and security by emboldened authoritarians. 

Biden-style negotiation with terrorists, communists and dictators won’t work. Ronald Reagan’s “we win, they lose” attitude needs to make a comeback. Official Washington needs to again welcome the hawks back into the policymaking conversation, lest the doves get the free world shot out of the sky. 

• Tom Basile is an author, a former Bush Administration official and the host of “America Right Now” and “Wake Up America Weekend” on Newsmax Television.

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