We are a large country whose lot in life has made us a hostage to fortune. Most Americans leave the heavy lifting of policy to the expert (and increasingly, the inexpert) individuals who volunteer for the task, our president being the chief “decider.”

The decision tree is mostly a deterministic cascade. To break it, as President Biden did with his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, requires perspicacity and patience. Voters are the final arbiters. Our adversaries see our growing impatience and weakness, our problems with military recruitment and diminishing stocks of weapons and the intense political partisanship enervating the republic, especially as economic anxieties expand.

It is in these perilous times — when opponents are allying together and nipping at our heels — that our president must educate the nation as to why we remain a fixture of freedom and democracy worldwide. We and our allies can lose it all if our vision is dimmed by selfish interests. Iranian proxy attacks on American bases in Syria require a strong response lest our enemies, always probing for weakness and flagging, ignite a cascade of their own which leaves us so imperiled, we cut and run.



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