This post originally appeared in West’s Townhall column: “When I was a Congressional representative from South Florida, one of the major concerns was beach re-nourishment, the process of pumping sand back onto eroded beaches. The district I represented was all coastline, from Ft. Lauderdale up to Jupiter Inlet, and one of the major economic concerns was the erosion of the beaches. As we all can understand, if the beauty of the south Florida beaches declined, so did the attraction of visitors and economic growth.
It is no different when one considers the slow erosion of American strength that has been occurring over the past seven years. This has led to the decline of our regard on the global stage. Recent events tell the tale cracks in our foundation, as well as serious (and we pray not irreparable) damage to American strength.
Take the economic blackmail threat by the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister’s reference to legislation supporting the declassification of 28 pages from the 9/11 investigative report. There are many who believe that these pages contain information implicating Saudi officials in the financial and resource support of the 9/11 conspirators, many of whom were Saudi nationals. The fact that the Saudi Foreign Minister would threaten the sell-off of U.S. treasury securities is a blatantly disrespectful gesture. It is reprehensible when we consider that this is the Saudi response to what could be a revelation of their complicit actions in an act of war against the United States. However, when there is a decline in American regard, such obtuse and belligerent statements can be made with full arrogance.
China, whose President Xi Jinping received full honors and a State dinner at the White House recently, has defied every sense of international regard in constructing islands in the South China Sea. And, have emplaced military weaponry and airstrips on them, which now receive military aircraft. Those who know a little about history can recall in the 20th century when an Asian nation militarily fortified islands, constructed airstrips, and sought to build its maritime force. This action has sought to evidence a lack of regard for American influence with other nations in the Pacific Rim region such as Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. China has strategically built these new islands along a major sea lane of commerce with some 30-35 percent of trade transits. Certainly not a coincidence, considering the impending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excludes China.
And, let us not forget the massive “investment” China has made into its offensive cyber capability. Some say its dedicated unit is comprised of some 800K. The continued aggressive nature of Chinese cyber activity, along with their focused intellectual property threats, cannot be debated. Yet, we are dismissing it. This, along with their economic subterfuge, shows a clear decline in American regard that has even inspired China’s attack dog, Kim Jung Un and North Korea, to ramp up its belligerence.
With Iran, there can be no more greater evidence of a decline of American regard. First, let’s be very clear. There is no such thing as a nuclear agreement with Iran — they are not signatories of anything. Yet, the current presidential administration has released billions of dollars to the number one state sponsor of Islamic jihadism and terrorism. And no, there is no such thing as “snapback sanctions.” That horse has long since left the barn.
Who can forget the pictures and videos of our U.S. sailors on their knees at gun point by the terrorist designated Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – and, then we thanked the Iranians. Israel just uncovered new Hamas tunnels. Needless to say, we all know who funds Hamas and their exploits. Iran has fired off more ballistic missiles and we have done nothing. Iran’s head of the terrorist designated Quds Force, General Qassem Suleimani, has violated U.N. resolutions and traveled on several occasions to Russia. His latest excursion was to seal the deal on Iran’s acquiring, not just new state of the art T-90 tanks and fighter jets, but the lethal S-300 surface to air missile system — which Iran has stated it will parade upon receipt. The acquisition of the latter, with their new found economic boon, is a game changer for any potential operations against a nuclear facility. They know it, and we know it as well, but we are doing nothing. Iran has become a regional hegemony in the Middle East over these past seven years, now controlling Sanaa Yemen, Beirut Lebanon, Damascus Syria, and Baghdad Iraq. President Obama clearly stated his foreign policy strategy was to pivot from the Middle East and engage in the Pacific, a flawed strategic policy that has resulted in the further decline of American regard.
Lastly, the continued provocations of Vladimir Putin and Russia are not by mistake. After all, President Obama did tell then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that after his reelection he would have more “flexibility.” That “flexibility” has resulted in our Naval warships, in international waters of the Baltic Sea, being buzzed at dangerously close distances by Russian Su-24 fighter jets. These actions against our maritime forces evidence Russian aggression at a time when the Baltic States have major security concerns. We continually hear the rhetoric of “avoidance of war” but those are sweet and aromatic words to despots and dictators — such as it was to the ears of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo in the last century. Even with a failing economy, Vladimir Putin shows strength, and on a grand international stage portrays American weakness.
Sadly, this will continue for the remaining months until our nation can make a decision in November as to whether we want to be liked or respected. In the past two presidential election cycles we chose the former. It has led to this, a decline in American respect and regard. And this missive did not make mention of the expansive growth of the global Islamic Jihad.
As Alexander the Great once stated, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by lions.””