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Is living our true national values
In the US, our NSS, National Security Strategy outlines the most significant threats to our nation and outlines the policy focus of the US government agencies, required to meet our threats. Every administration is obligated to create this strategy. Today, I want to discuss what I believe to be the key element of implementing our newest official, NSS.
Military doctrine often talks about an intangible called, “the will to fight.” As we can plainly see from our most recent headlines from Ukraine, Russia’s military lacks a near total, will to fight. Ukraine’s will, on the other hand is the very embodiment of their resistance. Such a will is an intangible, difficult to quantify but essential to success.
There are plenty of US examples as well. For instance, by the end of Vietnam, the US will to fight had largely evaporated. Unrest at home, a failure to be able to connect the dots between what soldiers did, “in country” to the US values they had grown up with. In order to sustain a will, capable of winning, troops must be defending something they value… deeply.
After 9-11, there was no lack of will among the US and our allies. We had been attacked and had a deeply patriotic obligation to defend ourselves and others. By the time the so-called GWOT, global war on terror reached our hasty exit from Afghanistan last Aug, few deployed truly knew what they were fighting for and why. With the GWOT, leadership over 20 years had lost the plot and therefore failed to provide troops and other national security resources the foundational will, required for success.
What the quote below acknowledges, is that the very values we hold so dear within our democratic republic are what shape our will to defend our nation, as defined by our lofty values. To be blunt, if we do not defend what makes us Americans, we will fail against most threats. Hence, the very factors that make up our American identity, are also what has made us a strong force to protect the US, our allies and others being victimized by tyrants. Degrade those elements of our democracy and what follows is a defense community devoid of substantial will. A national security community divided, is what we have experienced within the force for the past 6 years. This is because those in the natsec community have been force fed, a diet of redefining those values into authoritarianism, masquerading as democracy. Russia’s shoddy showing in Ukraine is again, exemplary of this dynamic.
“Building back better requires us to commit ourselves to revitalizing our own democracy. America’s ideals of democracy, equality, and diversity are a fundamental and enduring source of advantage – but they are not a given. Embracing that advantage means living up to the founding promises of our nation, strengthening and renewing our democratic processes and ideals, and demonstrating by our actions that democracy is essential to meeting the challenges of our time. We will combat voter suppression and institutional disenfranchisement. We will require transparency and accountability in our government, root out corruption, and confront the distorting role of money in our politics. We will recommit to the rule of law, restore respect for the constitutional separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, renew faith in the apolitical nature of federal law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community, our diplomats, civil servants, and military, and reaffirm the importance of free speech, freedom of the press, the right to peacefully demonstrate, and other core civil rights and liberties.”
- NSSIG, National Security Strategy, Interim Guidance
NSC, National Security Council
Yesterday’s headlines about a former Special Forces general and election denier, winning the New Hampshire Republican primary, is a sign of what is weakening America. Fully 60% of one of America’s two main parties, is running on election denial and lining up behind the “big lie.” This madness is a direct contributor to derailing our lofty values and eroding our “will to fight.” The same deniers are part of a party that has for decades, attempted to redefine, American patriotism into something at odds with the morality embodied by our constitution. Attempting to convert our constitutionally defined, secular society into a theocracy of sorts is harmful. Declaring gun ownership as a sign of patriotism is un-American, despite the NRA propaganda. Imposing the religious beliefs of one element of US society onto the rest of us, is blatantly un-American.
Selective and nepotistic use of the law by the former POTUS and AG, is one of the deepest cuts into the body of democracy. All of this and then to wield legislative power to corrupt and undermine our voting system, is the ultimate insult to true American patriots and a near lethal wound to our founders’ dreams. Using my home state of TX as an example, the party holding power exclusively for the past 27 years, has institutionalized Jim Crow, 2.0 voting rules. They’ve also legislated vigilante justice for abortion, ban books, legislated “debtor’s prisons” and litter their political platform with Seditious commentary, in support of candidates who also deny the results of the last presidential election. This type of activity is not just TX, although with Greg Abbott as governor, we are often the poster child of this type of behavior.
America, if true patriots from either party are to protect our democracy and when attacked, the will to defend it, we must join in one voice to condemn and resist, fake patriotism and fake democracy. There are plenty of “principled” conservatives although most have left the party. If there is to be informed debate in Congress about what is required to keep America safe, principled conservatives must retake their party from the fake conservatives. Worshiping a cult figure and calling it conservatism is like the old saying, “don’t spit in my face and tell me it’s raining.” For all the discussion of “slippery slopes” in certain policies, it is allowing fake patriots to claim and redefine the word, “patriot” that will eventually destroy all that we have achieved as a nation for over 200 hundred years.
Words and actions have meaning. Sixty percentage of Republican candidates, espouse election denial, and now seek office from the same system they denigrate. This is the political version of going to a doctor who is prescribing “snake oil” cures for COVID. The patient dies, the doctor collects a fee and faith in medicine is destroyed. If a candidate, from any party cannot accept reality and make reasoned decisions based on truth and facts, they are anti-patriots and both incompetent and immoral in their pursuit of office. We did not get to the moon with conspiracy theories, and we can’t defend our democracy with them either.
Coming full cycle in this long post, about what makes America strong, is our centuries old adherence to and protection of our national values. Replacing those values with new definitions of them based on, lies, corruption and conspiracy theories, equals a failed nation and at a pace, much faster than assumed. Right, left or otherwise, the only patriots are the ones who understand, act on and protect our brilliant founding principles. The first place to employ our will to fight, is with the keystone of American of values, the voting booth.
National Security Council, The White House U.S. Department of State Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of the Director of National Intelligence U.S. Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Today Magazine United States Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Security Innovation Forum and COE NATO NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) UK Ministry of Defence The Associated Press Reuters BBC News The New York Times The Wall Street Journal The Washington Post San Antonio Express-News Houston Chronicle The Dallas Morning News Austin American-Statesman
El Paso Times
Columbus Dispatch The Kansas City Star
Chicago Tribune Media Group
The Denver Post
The Seattle Times
Los Angeles Times
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Information Professionals Association
Doowan Lee USSOCOM Joint Special Operations University Alan Malcher MA The Texas Tribune