It’s a Dangerous World Out There

Reagan would have seen that we have to support, fund, and arm our allies.

Michael Evans via WIkimedia Commons
President Reagan at Minneapolis, February 8, 1982. Michael Evans via WIkimedia Commons

Sometimes, when making difficult political decisions, it’s useful to ask: What would Reagan do? Right now seems to be one of those times.

 House Republicans are faced with foreign aid funding bills that are not popular. On a procedural rule vote in order to bring the funding bills to the floor today, 55 Republicans opposed it.

A small handful even want to take down Speaker Mike Johnson. There are measures in those funding bills that many conservatives don’t like, and there are measures that many conservatives believe should’ve been in the bills — and aren’t.

But — what would Reagan do?

I believe the Gipper, for whom I worked as a budget deputy over 40 years ago, would have supported these bills. Why? With all their imperfections, the basic point, as I see it, is this: We have to support, fund, and arm our allies.

It’s a very dangerous world out there. And President Joe Biden has made it a far more dangerous world because of his feckless, weak, indecisive, and outright mistaken policies in the last three years-plus.

Starting with Afghanistan, right through to mishandling Russia and Ukraine, to appeasing Iran, wilting in the face of Chinese hostilities, curtailing the American production of fossil fuels, opening the southern border into a catastrophic crime-laden disaster, and allowing in more than 10 million illegal immigrants.

But conservatives know this. And agree on it. The question is, what to do?

And there is no perfect answer to that.

I believe Reagan would say, yes, arm Ukraine so Russia cannot overrun it, and recognize that a lot of the $60 billion targeted there will help the U.S. industrial defense base.

Help Taiwan, because the Chinese Communist Party threatens them on a daily basis.

And, of course, put up the $26 billion for Israel, because they are one of our greatest allies and the very existence of a democratic Jewish state is being threatened.

Reagan would surely counsel against the use of American troops. Yet he did on many occasions provide funds and weapon sales to our allies around the world who were fighting Soviet communism. Today’s new axis of evil — Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea — must not be allowed to prevail.

Whether it’s a new Cold War or not, the reality is that those four countries are our enemy. Even on a limited basis, the foreign aid funding bills now on the House floor will do something to help our friends and slow down our enemies.

Reagan’s motto was always “peace through strength” — and this aid package would give us a bit more strength. In a sense, House Republicans and conservatives can save Joe Biden from himself and his failed policies. We don’t want to rescue him politically, but, when it comes to national security, we want to support America First.

Now, these bills are not going to be paid for. And that is most unfortunate. Also, there is no off-ramp negotiating mandate in respect of ending the Ukraine war, and there should be.

There are some weak Chinese banking sanctions to stop them from buying Iranian oil, but that will come to nothing because the Bidens will never enforce them.

I believe a Donald Trump presidency would’ve instead threatened China with double or triple across-the-board tariffs until they stopped funding Iran’s war against Israel or, for that matter, Russia’s war against Ukraine. Yet that’s a separate issue.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that a core version of House Bill H.R. 2 to close the border doesn’t have the votes to be a part of the overall package sent to the Senate today. That is a tragedy, because it was a solid bill that would’ve closed the border.

Then again, there are insufficient votes in the Democratic Senate to pass it right now. Yet, for all this, I believe Reagan would’ve supported it. He was always a great believer that, when negotiating, if you could get 70 percent now, you take it, and go for the remaining 30 percent later.

The New York Sun

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