Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought”
Governor Romney’s Ten Commandments on national security are based on his recent pronouncements, including his October 8, 2012 speech at the Virginia Military Institute.
1. American exceptionalism. Thou shall adhere to the classic US worldview, highlighting American moral and strategic exceptionalism – US global competitive edge. American moral exceptionalism is a derivative of America’s Judeo-Christian values, formulated by the early Pilgrims and the US 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 US pro-active leadership.
2. US global leadership. Thou shall embrace US global leadership, underscoring US freedom of unilateral action, rather than subordinating US policy to multilateral considerations. The US – not the UN or any international order – is the dominant quarterback of international relations. US 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, US withdrawal is interpreted as weakness, emboldening adversaries, weakening allies, fueling clear and present dangers and facilitating the recurrence of 9/11.
3. Realism. Thou shall abide by realism and experience and not by wishful-thinking and delusion. Thus, the Arab Street intensifies anti-US terrorism and not democracy. Confronting – rather than engaging – rogue regimes upgrades deterrence and reduces the threat of war. Preempting – rather than retaliating against – undeterred rogue regimes spares humanity calamitous wars. Moreover, Putin’s Russia is a rival – not an ally – of the USA. Steadfastness, not flexibility, would restrain Moscow’s imperialistic ambition, reassuring US’ East European allies. Realism requires confidence, marathon-like resolve, and clarity and not apology, hasty-wavering and ambiguity.
4. Moral Clarity. Thou shall follow moral clarity – a prerequisite for operational clarity. Do not subordinate moral clarity to political convenience. For example, 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 counter-terrorism establishment. Islamic terrorism has afflicted the USA –systematically and not randomly – since the 18th century. Core American values of liberty and justice are a lethal threat to rogue and tyrannical Islamic regimes. The US is the chief strategic obstacle to megalomaniac transnational aspirations.
5. Peace through strength. Thou shall advance strength – and not pliability – in order to promote peace. Strength deters, and perceived weakness fuels, terrorism. Enhancing military capabilities – of the US and its European allies – is compulsory in order to face rising threats and deter aggression.
6. Strategic cooperation. Thou shall enhance strategic cooperation with capable, reliable, stable, predictable, democratic and unconditional allies – such as Israel – which contribute to the US in the areas of defense and commercial high-tech, intelligence, battle tactics, training and operations. Israel is the only ally resembling a US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American on board, cannot be sunk, already deployed in an area critical to primary US interests, snatching hot US chestnuts out of the fire, saving the US taxpayer some $20BN annually.
7. Moral equivalence. Thou shall not indulge in the morally-wrong and strategically-flawed moral equivalence between the role model of counter-terrorism (e.g., Israel) and the role model of terrorism (e.g., Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO); between the role model of unconditional alliance with the US (e.g., Israel) and the role model of systematic alliance with America’s enemies, such as Nazi Germany, the Communist Bloc, Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden (e.g., the Palestinian leadership).
8. Iran. Thou shall prevent Iran’s nuclearization for the sake of the US – and not Israeli – interests. A nuclear Iran would traumatize the supply and price of oil; would devastate pro-US Gulf regimes; would coalesce Iran’s takeover of Iraq; would accelerate nuclear proliferation; would upgrade the military capabilities of anti-US Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador; would embolden anti-US Islamic terrorism, including sleeper cells in the US; and would devastate the US posture of deterrence.
9. Palestinian issue. 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-US Islamic terrorism, not the crown jewel of Arab policy-making and not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. As stated by Romney, 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 US interests. Hence, the unacceptability of the “two state delusion.”
10. Political correctness. Thou shall not subordinate the Ten Commandments to political correctness, expediency and global/domestic pressure.
Will Governor Romney be faithful to the Ten Commandments on national security if elected on November 6, 2012?
Ambassor Yoram Ettinger’s article reflects an Israeli-American perspective. His artlice was first published in “Israel Hayom”, October 12, 2012, http://bit.ly/RCSZQ0.