“I said recently the neocons would start WW3 to cancel the 2024 election.
How’s that prediction looking right now?”
WALL STREET JOURNAL
At least 11 Americans were among the hundreds killed in the weekend attack in Israel, which has begun striking back at Hamas. The invasion, planned with an assist from Iran, ought to wake up both parties in Washington. The world is awash in threats that will inevitably wash up on our shore if America doesn’t get its act together.
The Israelis have launched air strikes as a prelude to a larger effort in Gaza, and more volatile days are ahead—especially if Hezbollah, another Iranian client, opens a second front on Israel’s northern border.
The larger context is that the U.S. and its allies now face two regional wars provoked by rogue states that are increasingly aligned. Israel and Ukraine are on the front lines, but the risk of an expanded conflict is real. Iran is feeding weapons into Vladimir Putin’s invasion in Ukraine. Mr. Putin is a junior partner of the Chinese Communist Party, which could try to exploit the moment in the Pacific.
The strategic and political point is that the return of war against Israel isn’t an isolated event. It’s the latest installment in the unraveling of global order as American political will and military primacy are called into question.
The President now has an obligation to increase the defense budget and stop treating the U.S. military as a political wedge to feed the American welfare state. For three years Mr. Biden has proposed cuts in defense spending after inflation, even as the world has become more dangerous.
The President can stop the budget games—the demands that every dollar on U.S. forces be matched with another for solar panels or food stamps—and work with Republicans to rebuild U.S. military power. That package should include aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. It should feature a generational effort to expand U.S. munitions inventories, from 155mm artillery to sophisticated long-range antiship missiles. Ditto for a plan to build more U.S. attack submarines for the Pacific.
Already officials are leaking that the U.S. may struggle to supply both Israel and Ukraine with artillery or other weapons while also deterring China. But America can either meet the moment or regret it later when the world’s rogues attack other allies, or U.S. forces deployed abroad, or even the homeland.
The weekend’s bloodshed in Israel should finally end illusions that Iran can be coaxed or paid off to change its behavior. The Iranian regime’s ambition is to destroy Israel, dominate the Middle East, and become a nuclear power that can menace Europe and the U.S. It is a revolutionary state, not a status quo power. The U.S. needs a strategy that recognizes that reality and challenges Iran at home and abroad.
Mr. Biden could also stop trashing all Republicans as stooges of Donald Trump. The world moment looks increasingly comparable to the 1930s, with gathering threats. Mr. Biden will need bipartisan help in a crisis. That means working with Sens. Mitch McConnell (see nearby) and Tom Cotton, Reps. Mike Gallagher and Michael McCaul, and other Republicans who are serious about U.S. security.
As for Republicans in Congress, they will have to get serious about governing and elect a new Speaker with dispatch. They need to isolate the Steve Bannon acolytes who treat shutting down the government for no good reason like a personal power play. Americans may be among Hamas’s hostages, and the GOP should support Mr. Biden if he sends a military mission to rescue them. The world needs to see that the U.S. can unite in a common security purpose.
If Mr. Biden does reach out to build a bipartisan coalition on U.S. military spending and foreign policy, Republicans should welcome it. They can influence him in the right direction rather than descend into partisan opposition like some have on support for Ukraine.
The growing global disorder is a result in part of American retreat, not least Mr. Biden’s departure from Afghanistan that told the world’s rogues the U.S. was preoccupied with its internal divisions. But too many Republicans are also falling for the siren song of isolationism and floating a defense cut in the name of fiscal restraint. The Hamas invasion should blow up dreams the U.S. can “focus on China” and write off other parts of the world.
Donald Trump didn’t rebuild U.S. defenses as much as he claims, and his political competitors should say so. Former Vice President Mike Pence was correct when he said over the weekend that the awful scenes abroad are what happens when political leaders are “signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world.” Nikki Haley sounded similar notes.
They seem to know what time it is. The rest of Washington needs an alarm clock.
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Appeared in the October 10, 2023, print edition
Oh really Mitch?
“The same people who say DONT TRUST THE MEDIA and DONT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT are going along with every single thing the media is saying about the Middle East right now and whatever the government does. Why is that?”