by Yoram Ettinger
Mitt Romney's Ten Commandments on national security are based on recent pronouncements by the Republican presidential contender, including his Oct. 8 speech at the Virginia Military Institute.
1. Thou shall adhere to the classic U.S. worldview, highlighting American moral and strategic exceptionalism — a U.S. global competitive edge. American moral exceptionalism is a derivative of America’s Judeo-Christian values, formulated by the early Pilgrims and the U.S. founding fathers. Romney believes in America’s moral, economic, scientific, technological, educational, medical and military exceptionalism. He is aware that America’s best interests and the minimization of global disorder — militarily and economically — require U.S. proactive leadership.
2. Thou shall embrace U.S. global leadership, underscoring U.S. freedom of unilateral action, rather than subordinating U.S. policy to multilateral considerations. The U.S. — not the U.N. or any international order — is the dominant quarterback of international relations. U.S. global leadership is critical for its economic, homeland security and military concerns. It bolsters posture of deterrence, providing a tailwind for allies, thus constraining clear and present threats posed by rogue/terrorist Islamic regimes. On the other hand, U.S. withdrawal is interpreted as weakness, emboldening adversaries, weakening allies, fueling clear and present dangers and facilitating the recurrence of the Sept. 11 attacks.
3. Thou shall abide by realism and experience and not by wishful-thinking and delusion. Thus, the Arab street intensifies anti-U.S. terrorism and not democracy. Confronting, rather than engaging, rogue regimes upgrades deterrence and reduces the threat of war. Pre-empting, rather than retaliating against, undeterred rogue regimes spares humanity calamitous wars. Moreover, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a rival of the U.S., not an ally. Steadfastness, not flexibility, would restrain Moscow’s imperialistic ambition, reassuring the U.S.'s East European allies. Realism requires confidence, marathon-like resolve, and clarity — not apology, hasty-wavering and ambiguity.
4. Thou shall follow moral clarity — a prerequisite for operational clarity. Do not subordinate moral clarity to political convenience. For example, since Islamic terrorism is the most distinct threat to Western democracies, it must be clearly identified and not be blurred by linguistic acrobatics, such as “workplace violence,” “man-caused disasters,” or “isolated extremism.” The threat of Islamic terrorism must be lucidly presented and not be deleted from the training literature of the defense and counterterrorism establishment. Islamic terrorism has systematically afflicted the U.S. since the 18th century. Core American values of liberty and justice are a lethal threat to rogue and tyrannical Islamic regimes. The U.S. is the chief strategic obstacle to megalomaniac transnational aspirations.
5. Thou shall advance strength, and not pliability, to promote peace. Strength deters, and perceived weakness fuels, terrorism. Enhancing military capabilities — of the U.S. and its European allies — is essential to facing the rising threats and deterring aggression.
6. Thou shall enhance strategic cooperation with capable, reliable, stable, predictable, democratic and unconditional allies — such as Israel — which contribute to the U.S. in the areas of defense and commercial high-tech, intelligence, battle tactics, training and operations. Israel is the only ally resembling a U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American on board, cannot be sunk, already deployed in an area critical to primary U.S. interests, snatching hot U.S. chestnuts out of the fire, saving the U.S. taxpayer some $20 billion annually.
7. Thou shall not indulge in the morally wrong and strategically flawed moral equivalence between a role model of counterterrorism (e.g., Israel) and a role model of terrorism (e.g., Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO); between a role model of unconditional alliance with the U.S. (e.g., Israel) and a role model of systematic alliance with enemies of the U.S. such as Nazi Germany, the Communist Bloc, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden (e.g., the Palestinian leadership).
8. Thou shall prevent Iran’s nuclearization for the sake of American, and not Israeli, interests. A nuclear Iran would traumatize the supply and price of oil; devastate pro-U.S. Gulf regimes; coalesce Iran’s takeover of Iraq; accelerate nuclear proliferation; upgrade the military capabilities of anti-U.S. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador; embolden anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, including sleeper cells in the U.S.; and would devastate the U.S. posture of deterrence.
9. Thou shall be cognizant of the secondary role played by the Palestinian issue in the Middle East. It is not the root cause of regional turbulence and anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism; not the crown jewel of Arab policymaking; and not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. As Romney said: The Palestinians are concerned about the existence, not the size, of Israel. He is aware of the indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria for Israel’s existence. He is also aware of the adverse impact by the proposed Palestinian state upon cardinal U.S. interests. Hence, the unacceptability of the “two-state delusion.”
10. Thou shall not subordinate the Ten Commandments to political correctness, expediency and global/domestic pressure.
Will Romney be faithful to the Ten Commandments on national security if elected on Nov. 6, 2012?
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