Thirty-five years ago I was finishing up my senior year of high school and heading to my first year at the University of Tennessee. Something also happened that year — the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and began the 10 year Soviet-Afghan War. If anyone had told me in 1979 that one day, 26 years later, I would be landing at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan, I would have thought them crazy. However, history does indeed repeat itself for those who fail to learn from it.
So here we are in 2014 with a weak president, just as 35 years ago, watching another invasion. Once again we have a president who has diminished our military capacity. Once again we have a president who is limiting our energy security advancement in favor of radical environmentalists.
There are so many parallels between the tenures of presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama some postulate this is what a second Carter presidency would have resembled.
This past week, President Obama was in Europe displaying his failure to comprehend strategic level geopolitics. Europe has always been a battleground between East and West, between liberty and tyranny. The difference now is that we do not have resolute leadership such as President John F. Kennedy who went to West Berlin and stated, “Ich bin ein Berliner” meaning to say he was a citizen of Berlin (not a “Berliner” jelly-filled doughnut). And young Kennedy was indeed challenged by the brutish belligerence of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev by way of the Cuban missile crisis. Yet he stood his ground.
Years later it would be another American president, Ronald Reagan, standing at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin demanding, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” And indeed the wall did. It was Reagan who clearly defined his Cold War strategy, “We win; they lose.”
So when our current president makes weak, stumbling, incoherent statements such as, “this is not some zero-sum game” referring to Ukraine and Russia, he evidences his ignorance and cowardice to belligerents worldwide — and worse, to our allies. It is a zero-sum game and as Kennedy stated in his 1961 inaugural address:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge —- and more.
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder….We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
And so we sit back and watch history all over again as weakness becomes the enticing elixir drunk by dictators, autocrats, theocrats, and despots. There is only one way to meet evil: head on. It is not about being a “warmonger” but rather a guardian of liberty and freedom — and a guardian of the republic for which we stand.
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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.