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TIME Op-Ed: ‘I Am Not an Isolationist’

September 4, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Some pundits are surprised that I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily. They shouldn’t be. I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist. I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.
I still see war as the last resort. But I agree with Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.
As Commander-in-Chief, I would not allow our enemies to kill our citizens or our ambassadors. ‘Peace through Strength’ only works if you have and show strength.
Our recent foreign policy has allowed radical jihadists to proliferate. Today, there are more terrorists groups than there were before 9/11, most notably ISIS. After all the sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do we find ourselves in a more dangerous world?
And why, after six years, does President Obama lack a strategy to deal with threats like ISIS?
This administration’s dereliction of duty has both sins of action and inaction, which is what happens when you are flailing around wildly, without careful strategic thinking.
And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.
If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS. I would have called Congress back into session-even during recess.
This is what President Obama should have done. He should have been prepared with a strategic vision, a plan for victory and extricating ourselves. He should have asked for authorization for military action and would have, no doubt, received it.
Once we have decided that we have an enemy that requires destruction, we must have a comprehensive strategy-a realistic policy applying military power and skillful diplomacy to protect our national interests.
The immediate challenge is to define the national interest to determine the form of intervention we might pursue. I was repeatedly asked if I supported airstrikes. I do-if it makes sense as part of a larger strategy.
There’s no point in taking military action just for the sake of it, something Washington leaders can’t seem to understand. America has an interest in protecting more than 5,000 personnel serving at the largest American embassy in the world in northern …read more


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