Newsmax: Christians in the Culture Wars: Root and Branch

For decades I have taught, written, and spoken about international affairs and national security. I have written multiple books, journal articles, and public press articles on issues ranging from North Korean nuclear weapons, al Qaeda and terrorism, and strategic space policy.

Occasionally I have written about so-called “culture-war” topics, such as the malevolent nature of woke counter-culture, the strange obsession with the darker side of modern epics such as the empire in Star Wars, and often about issues of human rights and persecution, especially that of Christians.

In 2015 I coined the phrase “red puritanism” long before the word woke entered the mainstream. It referred to an intolerant, humorless creed couched in a self-serving relativism that was primarily directed at the heart of western civilization.

However, as important as all of the topics are concerning national security, one must be reminded of the root and not continuously focus on the branch. It was this that finally pushed me to write a book I have been thinking about for decades: The International Relations of the Bible, published by Posthill.

This venture was in many ways the culmination of my thinking that we need to return to the headwaters.

I am often a participant in discussions, conferences, and research that drill down into specific policy options and recommendations. When someone is droning on (a common occurrence with both academics and policymakers), I let my mind and spirit reflect on matters much more important.

As someone who has devoted their entire career in one way or another to American national security, I wonder if my colleagues think about why this is so important. Those of us who are open conservatives often follow the leftwing down the black hole of policy minutiae.

We and I are just as guilty of this. We get enraged at the left’s willingness to sacrifice American interests for their own immaturity on almost every major issue; we forget the importance of America as a whole.

We argue about their attacks on American foreign and defense policy, their acquiescence to America’s adversaries, and their misguided views on diplomacy that we forget what is really at stake. When one does that, one realizes how marginal and misguided secular-leftist ideology really is.

I would encourage any reader who cares about this country and his or her relationship with God to think about this issue in the following way. The United States was created through the hand of God, gifted as a land for Him to shape the destiny of mankind.

God inspired Christians to carve out from the wilderness a place for Him to be worshiped free from the control of others. He stretched forth his spirit in writing the Mayflower Compact, the first of our American state papers.

“Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country,.. do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony.”

It is the foundation of our nation, and any deviation from this is a deviation from the covenant of this New Jerusalem.

This was entirely reaffirmed in the most pivotal of all of our pillars, the Declaration of Independence. It was here where we pledged our collective loyalty to the absolute value of God’s will through natural law. It was here that the United States committed itself to a clear American identity that transcended ethnicity, race, or gender that was starker and more demanding than any other nation.

In an exact opposite of the false leftist narrative, American identity is crystal clear and sharper in how it defines itself with its submission to God’s will and through his divine hand granting mankind with life, liberty, and property.

This all comes with a warning that the international relations world of the Bible teaches in unambiguous terms. Each time the people of Israel rebelled against God’s will through the worship of false idols and doctrines, they were severely punished by God removing His hand of protection.

This culminated in an ancient apex when God transformed the persecutors of the faith and made Rome into the great evangelizer of the faith.

American national security is important, and our vital and national interests are critical, but they are only essential because America is the defender of Western civilization, culture, and tradition. Western civilization is only important because it is below the headwaters of the faith.

God blessed what we call western civilization by making it His instrument for what is good and right in the world, and America is the champion of that. Any time this is corrupted by those who wish to use it for ill or those seeking to destroy it, American civilization will suffer.

This should serve as a reminder to Christians that they are either an active participant in this clash, or they are a passive enabler for the other side. Edmund Burke, the forefather of all conservative thought, once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Each time our adversaries can persecute the innocent, each time God’s name is erased from our schools, each time we cede ground to another power, it is not only an American failure; it is a failure of any Christian who has retreated from the world.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 July 2021.

Newsmax: It is US Duty to Lead in Space Technology

As I have previously written, dominance in space will determine dominance on earth. In order to silence flawed thought from the start, one needs to understand the following premises.

First, space has been and is being militarized, with or without the United States. Second, the new space race based on geo and astropolitics is already under full throttle.

Third, Russia and China are making aggressive moves while the E.U. has been relegated to a state of passivity and chaos. Each year that passes, the space race will overshadow conflict on Earth to determine the winner on Earth.

Fourth, there will be a pivot point of no return at some point and there is much speculation on this. In other words, there is a future date whereby any nation that is not in the prime position will be unable to attain it and will be relegated to a peripheral or tertiary power.

This race will first be determined by will. Second, it will be determined by strategy. Third, it will be determined by a synthesis of sound economic policies and the securing of strategic technologies.

One of those technologies that the United States needs to develop is called Superconductor-based Magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thrusters, known as SUPREME.

One of the massive problems for utilizing, exploring, exploiting and conquering space is the cost of transportation. Ultimately, the ability to move cargo and material from the Earth, the moon, Mars and beyond will determine who wins the military and economic space domain.

There are two primary systems for providing propulsion, chemical and electric. Most of the readers are familiar with chemical, having witnessed the space programs of NASA and companies like SpaceX.

These chemical systems push high thrust, but at the cost of increased fuel consumption, use around 2/3 of the spacecraft for fuel while being cost-prohibitive when trying to carry large amounts. On the other hand, electric propulsion is much more energy-efficient but falls short on thrust and maneuverability.

A new alternative, SUPREME using argon gas (100 times less expensive than the current xenon), can be one of the game-changers for the new space economy. The savings to transporting goods is literally astronomical when one compares transport to the moon.

Compared with chemical propulsion (think space shuttle or SpaceX), savings of up to $1.3 billion per cargo transfer from Low Earth Orbit (LEO, below 1,200 miles) to the moon.

Compared with conventional electric propulsion technology like the Hall Effect Thrusters (current electric propulsion), the savings can be around $100 million.

When we look at the case for Mars, the savings would be even higher, up to $10 billion compared with chemical propulsion and up $350 million compared with electric propulsion. Further, MPD is recognized as the most compatible technology to be used with nuclear reactors.

This system would be most beneficial for cargo transport, satellites for secured communications, asteroid mining, human exploration, space tugs and ultimately nuclear-powered ships.

One of the leading companies, Neutron Star Systems, winner of the New Space Business Plan Competition at the New Worlds Conference in Austin, Texas, is developing this technology right now and is promoting its relevance for security and defense, not just an economic one.

Founder of Neutron Star, Manuel La Rosa, put it this way, “SUPREME technology offers a unique opportunity to build in a platform that is scalable over a wide range of power and that it can serve as the standard for supporting operations not only in near-Earth domain but also in the moon, Mars and other planets of the solar system, it is of paramount importance that this technology is developed and commercialized. The USA is the only country in the world that offers the necessary conditions to successfully develop this technology.”

MPD is one of the many new space technologies that the United States will need to develop to continue its preeminence in space and prevent adversaries, not only to itself but also of democratic values from dominating.

The beneficiaries of these new technological and engineering marvels are not just the private enterprises that produce them, but the American entrepreneur and consumer who will have a new frontier to profit by, protected by the United States and her allies.

THis piece originally ran on Newsmax on 13 July 2021.

Israel-Palestinian Conflict Proves Nothing New Under the Sun

Death, violence, turmoil, strife and fire reigning down from the sky are the current headlines from the Middle East. It should strike no one as surprising that the roots of this chaos are historical, but it may surprise some readers how far back this mayhem goes.

One of the most exciting ways I have drawn parallels in foreign policy in my new book, The International Relations of the Bible, is through a story about CIA officer James Fees and then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.

The year was 1973, the same year as the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) War, where Fees informed Kissinger that a memo existed detailing the turmoil in the Middle East, including the problems in the Sinai and Iranian expansion into places like Yemen.

Kissinger was shocked. He assumed someone was leaking classified information until Fees revealed to him that the memo was written in 700 B.C. We are reminded of the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

In 2021, we see the parallels of all three events, the one from 700 B.C., from 1973 and this week. The same geopolitical entities that shaped the Middle East for millennia continue to do so now.

Iran was the root of the problem in 700 B.C. and is the number one sponsor of Hamas today. The strategy is also the same; the Arab armies used a religious event to surprise attack Israel in 1973 and Hamas began its rocket barrage around Shavuot.

In another parallel to 700 B.C., my mind went back to a counter-terrorism conference I was part of in Israel in 2009, where one of the speakers said, “If Yemen is set on fire, the Gulf will burn.”

International relations dominate the Bible and, through God’s hand, determined the fate of the Jewish people and Israel today. Whether it was the Babylonian and Egyptian Empire, the influence of Greek Hellenism or the critical role of the Romans, international affairs are an omnipresent backdrop.

There can be no story of Exodus, no Babylonian captivity, no consistent crossroads of war, no publicans or Roman governors, no judgment by Pontius Pilate and no St. Paul’s story as a Roman citizen, without considering the role of international affairs.

A few examples highlight the multi-millennial depths we must extract to understand the events in the Middle East today. The battles between the Hyksos and the Egyptians set the stage for enslavement and the Exodus. The Jews engage in crusades against heathen kingdoms such as the Hittites, Amalekites and Canaanites.

Israel’s geopolitical situation was comprised of a three-way division that arguably still dominates the Israel-Palestinian conflict today. The first area was the coastal plain, which evolved into a more cosmopolitan, trade-oriented and worldly.

Second, there was a hilly northern region dominated in part by the harder, warlike Galileans. It was where invaders would be funneled into the Megiddo plain (Armageddon).

Lastly, two deserts helped to protect Israel from invaders. The problem area for Israel primarily came from the north, which provides few natural barriers except for the Litani River.

Israel was an international affairs convergence zone for any land empire expanding southward or eastward. The period in the Bible where a unified Kingdom of Israel exists dates from circa 1020 B.C. to 930 B.C. This encompassed the kingships of Saul, David and Solomon.

The Philistines (where we get the word “Palestine”) were warlike and pagan people. They occupied Canaan and posed an existential threat to Israel. This is how far we must reach into antiquity to understand the roots of today’s events where words like rockets and iron dome replace spears and shields.

There were attempts by some Jewish rulers to enter the great game of international politics by trying to play Egypt and Assyria off each other, often becoming vassals of one or the other. This was further exacerbated by the enmity between the northern and southern kingdoms.

The period where biblical international relations focused on the Kingdom of Judah showed a dangerous typology of international affairs and the Jews. It was one where there was a rebellion against God and a miscalculation in foreign affairs, where the people were crushed and the kingdom despoiled.

This Persian period illustrates another typology, the Persian model, where the Jewish people allied themselves with a greater imperial power in exchange for autonomy. The Persian Wars that liberated the Jews were also the wars that would lead to the downfall of the Persians and the conquest of Israel by the Greeks.

The Hellenization of Israel and the reaction against it serves as one of the most telling aspects of the Old Testament and international relations. The Jews, who had been favored subjects of the Persians, fell under the Greek world. This led to the establishment of larger Gentile colonies, which were often populated by Greek veterans.

Great power conflict in international relations again determined the fate of the people of Israel. They were caught between two Greek empires due to Alexander’s death and here is where a new player emerges: Rome.

Civil war among the Jews played a huge role during this period and their attempts to ally Rome on one side or another was another point of international affairs history that did not end well for them.

It was ended only by Roman intervention by Pompey the Great in 63 B.C, who was frustrated with all Jewish factions. When these factions attempted to resist Rome, Pompey became even more aggravated. This led to his decision to take Jerusalem and incorporate what would now be known as Judea into the province of Syria.

Rome was now the master of the people of Israel. Four hundred years pass between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Many Christians term this period the intertestamental time.

The entire New Testament revolves around Jesus, who is born, lives, dies and is resurrected during Roman rule. It is, therefore, impossible to explain the international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy of this period without a complete understanding of Roman rule.

Three factors led to the Romans dominating the region. The first was the aforementioned civil war, where both sides invited them in to restore order; the second was the dissolution of the Greek empires and last was the rise of Parthia (Iran).

The biblical lands changed hands between Parthia and Rome. They were caught up not only in the Roman-Parthian conflict but also in Rome’s civil wars following the assassination of Julius Caesar.

The international relations world changed in 31 B.C. due to the Battle of Actium, where Octavian triumphed. It secured the Roman Empire for the Julio-Claudian dynasty, changing Rome into an imperial monarchy and becoming the reigning superpower on the planet.

The New Testament begins under the reign of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. He was the emperor at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Augustus ordered the census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem under the authority of his governor, Quirinius.

The ministry of Jesus occurs during the Roman occupation and the shadow of the Parthians. The trial of Jesus must be seen in the context here described. Rome looked through a grand strategy lens, with order being the primary goal.

Rome would initially have had no interest in a Jewish religious leader that did not preach violence or revolution. Pilate would ultimately be recalled to Rome. The trial he presided was the most important legal trial in history, including its impact on international affairs.

The end of the Bible and international relations ends with the coming Great Revolt of the Jews. The city finally fell in 71 A.D, fulfilling the prophecy made about Jerusalem by Jesus.

The end of the revolt concluded with the destruction of the Temple, the very Temple at the heart of the conflict this month. This resulted in the diaspora of the Jewish people and the destruction of a Jewish homeland until the re-creation of Israel in 1948.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 20 May 2021.

Newsmax: Free Trade Is More Than Trade

Lost in the desert that is now called public discourse regarding trade are the nontrade benefits of free trade arrangements.

Like so much that is polarized about American politics, the extreme camps dominate the public discourse. We have taken the complex universe of trade and attempted to box all positions into either “Free traders” or “Protectionists.”

It is granted that extremists on both ends usually can be revealed easily since their positions on economics supersede the nation’s needs. Free trade extremists, acolytes of the religion of globalization, would sacrifice national security interests for profit. At the other end of the spectrum, extreme protectionists would ensure that failing industries, that would eventually hurt the nation, continue under government largesse.

Often lost in this swamp is one of the principal benefits of actual free trade, which increases security and diplomatic power. The common-sense approach realizes that free trade, which is based on mutual benefit, secured against government corruption, predatory pricing and lending, dumping and over-regulation, is a net positive.

Needless to say, China engages in all of those harmful practices, making it the most flawed example of free trade on the planet.

One free trade agreement that would knit together economic, security, diplomatic and cultural alliance is the one between the U.S. and the U.K.

One of the potential positive outcomes of Brexit is to reignite the need for this economic union. What comes to mind is Winston Churchill’s famous quote of 1940, “We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible. Our qualities and deeds must burn and glow through the gloom of Europe until they become the veritable beacon of its salvation.”

Many economists have focused on the failed attempt from 2013 to 2016 to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which failed primarily due to the EU overregulation and protectionist practices in areas such as agriculture and automobiles.

Prior to Brexit, any free trade arrangement with Great Britain would have had to be under an EU umbrella. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was vilified by many on the U.S./U.K. leftwing for supporting Brexit, though few would trade the U.K.’s response to the COVID pandemic with that of the E.U.

As a result of Brexit, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Johnson engaged in five negotiation sessions which started on May 5, 2020, to hammer out a U.S./U.K. FTA.

The Trump administration envisioned the benefits of such an agreement to expand economic opportunities in all sectors, create better-paying jobs for Americans and eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers between the two. In addition, the U.K. felt that such an agreement would enliven British GDP and consumer choice.

Although there are many more positives than negatives, there are hurdles to overcome. For example, British food standards that oppose particular GMOs, chemical, antibiotic and hormone use by U.S. producers are a clear issue on their side of the Atlantic, while Americans view the British National Health Service (NHS) effectively undercuts American pharmaceuticals through government support. There are also sticking points over digital service taxes.

This U.S./U.K. FTA would join the world’s first- and sixth-largest economies and promote military and defense sales and technology exchange when anti-Western adversaries are growing in strength. More importantly and beyond the scope of any economic calculation, such an FTA would strengthen the Anglo-American special relationship at a time when Churchill’s dream of the destiny of the “English-speaking peoples” is needed more than ever.

It would fulfill the fifth clause of the 1940 Atlantic Charter between President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill: “Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;”.

This is not merely the concrete military and diplomatic link which is the strongest between two nations, perhaps in history, but a bond of history, law, culture, religion and society.

Such an agreement is the natural and organic outgrowth of the Anglosphere as the center of gravity of western democratic and Judeo-Christian values whose influence over democracy promotion, human rights, the rule of law, the free flow of goods, services and ideas are the very cornerstones needed for a bright 21st century.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 May, 2021.

Newsmax: It’s Time the Biden Administration Recognizes That Space Force Is No Farce

There seems to be a cottage industry developing around the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, and her gaffes and mischaracterizations.

For example, when asked about the Biden administration’s support for the new military branch, the United States Space Force, Psaki was caught off guard.

A reporter asked about the Biden administration’s commitment to keeping Space Force, and she responded, “Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today.”

The reporter pushed back, and Psaki continued by saying, “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”

House Armed Services ranking member Mike Rogers was blunt when he remarked, “It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Psaki later walked the comment back.

The White House confirmed their “full support” for Space Force.

However, most analysts agree that space-national security is not a top priority of this administration.

As one of the presenters and authors of Space Command’s, The Future of Space 2060, it is incumbent on those enmeshed in space strategy to comment during this genesis period for the new U.S. Space Force.

Space Force is under siege by various factions with drastically different ideologies, ranging from left-wing secular progressives that believe Space Force will militarize an already militarized space to libertarians who believe that it is a colossal waste of money.

These two vastly different groups share two traits: firstly, they want to characterize Space Force as a “Trump vanity project.”

Secondly, they have zero understanding of the strategic precipice America is walking on. Thus, these groups focus on cosmetic attacks because they are entirely out of their depth on strategy.

They make fun of the uniforms, the name “guardians,” the use of the delta insignia (which pre-dates Star Trek), and the general absurdity via a Netflix series.

A review of the fundamental issues is in order. There were long-standing debates about the need for a military space branch. Ultimately, these debates distilled down to arguments over the concepts of “Guard,” “Corps,” and “Force.”

The third idea, a Space Force, would be an independent branch after transitioning from the U.S. Air Force.

These debates were held among space and military professionals in niche areas and did not include the broader national security elite or the electorate. This is one reason why the extremists have controlled the narrative and may offer cover to those in the new administration that want to stall Space Force rather than eliminate an already existing institution.

In an interview with the NYT on March 8th, General Raymond, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, summarized the new branch’s importance: “I think it’s really important for the average American to understand access to space and freedom to maneuver in space is a vital interest.”

The benefit to the American people protected by our Space Force Guardians is immeasurable. Any professional looking at the future of American national security realizes that this security will depend on which power exercises military primacy and space governance.

Thus, there will no longer be a separation between what we call national security and space strategy, to be precise. They will literally and figuratively be the same. Let that sink into any reader as one evaluates the need for the U.S. Space Force. The benefits and threats from space will dwarf those on Earth.

All of those benefits and threats on Earth will ultimately be decided by space strategy.

The mightiest Carrier Task Force, tank platoon, or bomb squadron will be utterly vulnerable to space-based threats just as the medieval fortress became almost useless versus mobile artillery and, later on, warplanes.

China and Russia are embarked on complimentary space policies to beat us in space. They already have their versions of a militarized space branch, and more importantly, space dominance doctrines that are specifically designed to dethrone the United States from its military and economic position.

Thus, a newsflash for opponents or those that mock Space Force is this: space was militarized long ago and continues to be militarized. Russia and China fully intend to amplify this regardless of American efforts, including diplomacy and or negotiations.

The coming economic revolution, the revolution of “New Space,” the revolution of the “triplanetary economy,” will unleash economic forces and powers that will extend economies and resources beyond anything in human history. This econosphere will either be protected by Space Force or left to be exploited by America’s adversaries.

The new space economy will need to be protected, communication will need to be managed, travel and spacecraft control maintained, and debris will need to be cleared. No economic system can exist without the protection of the law, private property, contracts, and protection from hostility, violence, chaos, and criminality.

The future of WMD defense, cyber defense, energy production, environmental protection, and democratic values will be entirely dependent on American space strategy.

The creation and success of Space Force now signal to America’s adversaries the seriousness in which we take American security beyond rhetoric.

The Space Force is the foundation to build this security for the future.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 29 March 2021.

Newsmax: US Must Draw Red Line Amid China Saber Rattling

China engaged in high-level saber-rattling and boldness when Chinese Politburo member and State Councilor Yang Jiechi used the muscular red-line term in diplomacy.

“We in China hope that the United States will rise above the outdated mentality of zero-sum, major-power rivalry and work with China to keep the relationship on the right track,” Yang said on February 2, 2021, in a speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

He exhorted the U.S. to stop “harassing Chinese students, restricting Chinese media outlets, shutting down Confucius Institutes and suppressing Chinese companies.” He said Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang affairs were a “red line that must not be crossed.”

As I have written about before, the famous diplomatic red line’s origins transport us back to the Roman Republic. It revolved around a meeting between the Roman ambassador and the King of the Seleucid Empire, threatening Egypt’s Roman protectorate in 168 B.C.

The meager Roman mission was to force the king to return to Syria. The exchange between the two, as the story itself, has many variations. Initially, the Seleucid’s laugh at such a paltry show of force until the lone-old ambassador draws a line in the sand and says that he had better be marching toward Syria when he steps across the line, not Egypt.

The king retreated, and the red line was born. The concept of a red line was reborn in the contemporary period during the Obama administration when on August 20, 2012, Obama declared an American red line if Assad used chemical weapons again. The Assad regime continued to use them, and there were no dire consequences. The administration had failed in their weak attempt to learn from antiquity.

This vacillation was the bane of the Obama years. The diminishment of American credibility abroad, the self-loathing of American exceptionalism, and the inability to take a firm stand against the worst tyrants, all while hollowing out the U.S. military.

If we parse Communist bombast, we are left with the following: China, which wishes to be the sole superpower by the 100th anniversary of the PRC’s founding in 2049, hopes for the USA to stop an “outdated mentality.”

America should allow Chinese companies to engage in economic espionage, propagandize through our media, and ignore the grossest violations of human rights on the planet. This is all within the context of China’s subjugation of Hong Kong, the ethnic cleansing of the Uighurs, the internal colonization of Tibet, and the intimidation of Taiwan.

If there was ever a self-evident difference between the kind of nation the United States is versus others, it is here. We issued a red line to stop an evil regime from using weapons of mass destruction on their people, and China issues a red line to engage in the same style of evil at home and abroad.

The China red-line speech reflects a very typical Chinese diplomatic style: mix threat, friendliness and victimhood in the same statement and policy.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken responded by stating, “that the United States will work together with its allies and partners in defense of our shared values and interests to hold the [People’s Republic of China] accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system.”

China responded by dialing up the temperature on its original red-line rhetoric when Ambassador for the PRC to the United States Cui Tiankai belittled America in an interview stating that America “still shows the example of power rather than the power of example. You don’t have an effective foreign policy just by talking tough or playing tough. This is not the right way of doing diplomacy.”

China has recently escalated its hostile posture toward Taiwan with continuous probing into Taiwanese airspace. It further plans to engage in a “trilateral naval exercise” with Russia and Iran in the Indian Ocean.

China’s neo-Maoist ideology, combined with anti-democratic propaganda, a self-righteous persona, mixed with revanchist psychology, is a toxic atmosphere that the United States must stand against at every point globally. China needs to be taught the real meaning of a Roman red line.

This post first appeared on Newsmax on 11 February 2021.

Newsmax: Challenges for the Next Presidential Term

During the next four years, the man who occupies the presidency will face many serious challenges, none of which received any attention during the last election cycle or, bizarrely, any time during the presidential debates.

The American people may pay a high price for the media’s inability to prioritize, engage, and understand foreign affairs and international relations.

This is not a discussion of every foreign policy problem the president will face. The realm of strategic flashpoints is the area least likely addressed by the media since these are long-term strategic issues fundamentally based on geopolitics and astropolitics.

Thus, a brief primer will illustrate the strategic challenges the president will face. These are best exemplified by the potential flashpoints that condense the national security decision process into a short period. Eleven likely flashpoints could erupt during the next four years to some degree or another. Seven of the 10 involve China in a significant way.

The four remaining primarily involve Russia.

The first two Russian flashpoints are the Euro-Russian frontier stretching from Poland to Romania, and the second is the Baltics. These potential eruptions are all within the context that the EU is in directionless chaos. Russia continues to bully the Baltic and utilizes the ethnic Russian population as a potential menace while threatening to use gray-zone-hybrid warfare to destabilize Baltic independence.

They couple this with the Russian Air Force’s continual harassment of NATO forces and airspace. Now that the Baltic states are full partners in NATO, Russia’s attempt to use any type of force or threat of force must be considered an attack on American national interests.

Russia’s shadow is just as dark when it comes to Russia on the eastern European frontier. Russia has attempted to use energy as a weapon and campaigns hard to drive wedges between the east part of NATO and the core western powers. Needless to say, the threat of a “Soviet” style conventional attack has never evaporated.

Finally, we have Russia’s overt use of conventional strength and expansion into the Arctic, setting the stage for major territorial and resource grab.

The Middle East is a perennial hotspot, but it crosses into great power conflict with Russia’s specter. Russia’s power projection into Syria and its unholy relationship with Iran bolsters the two of the three worst regimes on the planet (the third being North Korea, which maintains close ties to the others.) Any calculation for American actions in Syria or Iran must factor in the Russian equation at some level, even if it is actively to ignore it.

The remaining seven flashpoints center on China’s hostile actions. Those don’t consider the tipping point where western nations will no longer take a passive attitude toward China’s human rights abuses. The next three flashpoints all have to do with China’s strategic maneuvering in Asia. China’s march toward hegemony is finding a demonstration in the South China Sea, which at some point could explode into an outright territorial grab beyond what they have done up to this point.

China’s naval actions make all of her neighbors in the Sea of Japan very nervous. China’s continued backing of the totalitarian regime in North Korea allows that regime a free hand to engage in nuclear weapons development and genocide at home and weapons proliferation abroad.

Two other flashpoints are in and around the sub-continent. The Indian Ocean and the Sino-Indian border illustrate India and China’s tension and conflict as India attempts to rebuff an Asia dominated by her enemy.

The 10th flashpoint is exceptionally dangerous. The potential for naval conflict or a maritime dispute that escalates again relates to China’s power projection, with conflict zones in and around the Taiwan and Tsushima straits a possibility.

Finally, and most importantly, is the realm of space power and space economics. The next few years will determine space leadership. China makes a clear bid for space supremacy with concrete policies and advances that will need to be aggressively and vigorously countered. We are the opening act of a real space opera.

All of these potential flashpoints will either not erupt or will be short-lived based on American decisions. America’s role as the dominant world power has created order, stability, and hope. Any American retreat from this role will enhance violence and chaos.

Newsmax: Biden’s Foreign Policy Without a Strategy

As a young Foreign Service officer without authority or status, one of my first experiences in Washington was attending a debate between the senior foreign policy advisers to Senator Jesse Helms and Joe Biden.

I sat in the small hearing room and listened as both men displayed their acumen as surrogates regarding missile defense and the legacy of President Reagan’s SDI. It astonished me that Biden’s man had so little understanding of realpolitik and, in particular, the goals of our adversaries.

The back and forth continued until the Biden representative retreated into the old canard that the SDI vision could not be accomplished regardless of the political issues because of the problem of technology. During the Q&A, I distinguished myself as a member of the minority in the audience by asking the following question. I still ask today: “In the end, your argument is about a lack of technology and innovation, but that is not your real problem, if we had the technology today, would you still be against it? Is your real problem a disdain for American primacy?”

This vignette, reported to you by less than a bit player, was a colossal change for me. The exchange ultimately led to my introduction and friendship to one of the most outstanding Americans of the age, Ambassador Jim Lilley. The contrast to the vision of Ambassador Lilley and that of the Biden campaign could not be greater. It also serves as a microcosm that haunts Vice President Biden’s record and trajectory on foreign policy and national security.

It is, at its core, a view with no vision and without a strategy. It fails to embrace the very roots of successful American national security strategy, based on Primacy, Democracy Promotion, Preemption, and Prevention, all within the greater sphere of American exceptionalism and superiority.

A review of Vice President Biden’s foreign policy failures has been done and redone. Some have less meaning to the youngest generation, but for those of us in Generation X and older, much will resonate.

As far back as 1975, he showed his true colors opposing support of our South Vietnamese ally following American withdrawal and withholding assistance for South Vietnamese refugees requested by President Ford. In the 1980s, he fought support for the anti-communist resistance in Nicaragua and the anti-communist government of El Salvador. In the 1990s, he voted against Operation Desert storm to expel Saddam from Kuwait and, of course, opposed the National Missile Defense Act.

In the 21st century, he opposed the surge in Iraq that saved Iraq from further civil war and national disintegration. He even openly advocated that Iraq should destroy its sovereignty by dividing the country into three parts, a plan that would have been the greatest gift to Iran that could be conceived. He was consistently critical of President Bush’s foreign policy to right the ship of state from the disastrous Clinton years.

Naturally, as vice president, he supported President Obama’s trio of appeasement, apology, and “leading from behind.” Many are aware of Obama’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ quotation:

“I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Gates was right. He opposed moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and advocated a “two-state” solution. The same mantras that the Democratic Party has supported for decades leading to inaction and negative inertia. He was integral to an administration that allowed the people of Syria to live in a forever nightmare, failed to prosecute the war on terror, opposed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, and squandered the successes that President Bush bequeathed them.

He continues to advocate a tactical rather than strategic response to counter-terrorism, returning to a Clinton-Obama policy that created the weaknesses in our defenses. As one architect of the Iran deal, he offers no solution to the fundamental problem of the Iranian regime and its imperial dreams.

China was and is Biden’s mixed bag; until he decided to run for president, Biden advocated more significant trade relations with China, downplayed their human rights abuses, has been ambiguous about Taiwan, and ignored their military modernization, attempts at dominating space and strategic aggressiveness. His current rhetoric is more hawkish, but his record is the opposite.

Russia is perhaps the strangest odyssey for not just Joe Biden, but also the Democratic party. One would wish Truman or Kennedy’s spirit was pushing them to talk tough, but this would not be accurate. Clinton, Obama and Biden were all part of the group that downplayed the Soviet and then Russian threat. They consistently mocked conservatives and Republicans (Romney-Obama debate) who warned of both. Only when they thought they could use Russia as an election tool against President Trump did they suddenly wake up to a Russian threat.

The very people who exposed the United States to the machinations and aggression of Soviet and then Russian foreign policy now expect the American electorate to believe they have had a change of heart and have morphed into stone-cold realists.

The most worrying aspect regarding specific policy is Vice President Biden’s total lack of vision regarding space, space policy, the new Space Force and the recognition that all the above will determine the future of American national security. His vigorous opposition to the Strategic Defense Initiative and national missile defense grants us a window that his attitude here is one of feebleness.

Ultimately, we elect someone whose primary job is to manage American grand strategy, not a health adviser, curriculum planner, job officer or tax accountant. This, at a minimum, requires a president to understand the grand arc of American history and its trajectory toward the horizon and the stars. Biden’s lack of policy coherence and consistency, combined with his denial of American exceptionalism, will place the Republic on dangerous ground.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 8 October 2020.

Newsmax: VJ Day Ended an Epoch

Sept. 2, 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, an event monumental enough to deserve our remembrance. Japan’s formal surrender occurred aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, in Tokyo Bay.

However, more significant than this, it marked the end of a multi-century epoch and the beginning of a new one.

Americans today live in the shadow of the end of the Second World War like no other event in international affairs. As hard as some try, the legacy of the American victory at the cost of over one million American casualties shines as a beacon of national and individual sacrifice, demonstrating the character of American exceptionalism.

More importantly, the failure of America, to turn the tide would have meant a global descent into chaos, evil, and horror.

As hard as our allies fought, it was American blood, treasure, and leadership that determined the outcome.

America had to fight the triple threat of German Nazism, Italian Fascism, and Japanese Militarism and then immediately pivot against Soviet Communism.

If this was not divine providence, nothing was.

The war did not just up-end the dictatorships of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo, but ended the multi-century international relations period of multi-polarity and ushered in a tense bi-polarity between the United States and the Soviet Union placing the United States as the only defender of human liberty and human dignity.

This is the role we continue in today and will continue into the new space age.

The prior global system was dominated by an era of multiple great powers whose thinking was dominated by irredentism, racism, expansionism, the birth of communism, and imperialism.

The western powers, self-doubting and self-loathing as some on the left engage in today, had attempted the twin titanic failures of isolationism and appeasement because they doubted the rightness and goodness of their own societies.

The end of the war began an American grand strategy and national security that championed democracy abroad as a way to both secure national interests and promote its moral values.

It produced a Pax Americana of international order, civil society, institution building, human rights, free trade, and progress.

This point cannot be overemphasized: American promotion of the empire of liberty has never simply been about elections; it has always been about civil society and liberty under law, whose most tremendous success was illustrated with the creation of a new Germany and Japan under American guidance.

The end of the Second World War created a profound change in American thinking about national security and defense.

The term “national security” came out of this period, and the Truman administration quickly realized that it had to steer a new course for America.

America needed a permanent national security system to forestall another Pearl Harbor and to keep Soviet imperialism at bay. It understood the need for a permanent and sizeable professional military, a new branch of the armed services in the U.S. Air Force, a permanent new intelligence service in the CIA, and a new body to advise the president, the National Security Council.

All of these foundations we rely on today come out of the aftermath of VJ Day (Victory Over Japan Day).

America resisted the calls to return to a self-absorbed, inward-looking fool’s paradise.

The United States took the more challenging road and not only built a Republic devoted to liberty at home but liberty abroad as well.

America unleashed forces that would give hope to nations and people seeking independence, and the desire to throw off the tyrant’s yoke put men on the moon and became the engine of a global economy based and stability and prosperity.

My father, who was a combat paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne during the war mirrored most of his citizen soldiers in that they sought no great accolades or triumphal arches, just the understanding they had fought for the most remarkable civilization humans had ever created.

In short, America went from a great power to a power for greatness in a single generation.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 31 August, 2020.

Newsmax: 75 Years Ago the Bomb Saved the World

My last column concerned the legacy of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences that were the final summits at the end of the Second World War. The atomic bomb was integral to the outcome of those summits and completely altered both American foreign policy and American national security to this day.

It has and is fashionable to decry President Harry Truman and his decision to use the atomic bomb against the Japanese empire during the Second World War.

The decision has been mutated by the educational and media establishment, which seeks to cast the judgment as incompetence, but more likely, decries it as evil.

Like so much lost in America today, there is no appreciation for the history of this period, and more importantly, the existential struggle the United States faced against the Axis powers, and then immediately with the Soviet Union. In case some readers are unaware, the term “existential,” when applied to foreign affairs literally, means that the civilization involved will cease to exist if the decisions are wrong.

It’s probably difficult for those who possess little education, however much they might have on paper, to fully grasp the horrendous struggle America engaged in from 1941 to 1945.

They are less likely to understand how close to defeat we came on several occasions.

It’s lost on many that had the United States lost a few pivotal battles like Normandy, and Midway, the entire outcome of the war would have changed.

It’s also beyond the scope of many to fully grasp the casualty rates that America suffered.

Contemporary Americans may be shocked to know that America suffered 6,000 casualties on the first day of Normandy, and 49,000 during the battle of Okinawa.

One should pause here because part of Truman’s decision was because of the casualty rates that came in from Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Truman’s decision followed the absurd fighting in places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa and, more importantly, the projected casualties (as reported to Secretary of War Stimson) of Operations Olympic and Coronet (the projected conventional invasion of Japan) to be over 1 million Americans and 5 to 10 million Japanese.

Other myths and fairytales have grown up surrounding the decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

We must keep in mind that the United States had three total bombs, one of which had already been used during the New Mexico test.

The most common myths associated with Truman and this period need a quick dispelling:

Truman had a committee considering alternatives, including using the bomb as a demonstration or continuing the much more horrific option of enforced starvation through a blockade. He also wanted to ensure that the targets made political and cultural sense, and therefore Tokyo and Kyoto were not ultimately targeted.

Truman’s decision was also affected by the growing kamikaze casualties and the militarists of Japan, who clearly stated that it would be better for Japan to be destroyed than surrender. Finally, it must be remembered the Soviets invaded Japan in between the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The question of whether Japan today would have been better off being divided like Korea is one that is easy to answer with an emphatic no.

Can the Japanese people or we even conceive of what the horrors and genocide inside a Peoples Republic (North Japan) of Japan would have looked like?

Finally, an item rarely discussed is that both the Germans and the Japanese were working on their own atomic bomb projects. We know the Soviets were stealing ours during our creation of it.

It’s worth reflecting on what kind of world would have existed if any of those powers would have had a first nuclear weapon, and worse, an atomic monopoly.

The decision to drop the atomic bombs was the hardest any president faced. Truman exhibited the first taste of his national security doctrine with this decision, and it was one that he neither relished nor regretted.

The dropping of the bombs ended the war in the Pacific and saved millions of allied soldiers and Japanese civilian lives. It blunted the immediate Soviet threat and gave the West breathing room to deal with the looming Communist threat that sought world domination through the spread of evil, misery, and terror.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 6 August, 2020.