Americans and people in all other democracies love peace, because we can do our jobs, grow our families and enjoy our leisure time.
We are forced to fight wars on occasion, when attacked, but at least we have peacetime to look forward to the majority of the time. That, however, that is not how our adversaries look at life.
We have two primary categories of adversaries:
1. Socialists/Communist dictatorships (“Reds”): China, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and others.
2. Islamists (Muslim supremacists; “Greens”): Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and others.
While their core ideologies are different, they share three key attributes: They hate freedom, democracy and capitalism; they are engaged in total ideological (if not outright) wars against democracies, 100 percent of the time; and they indoctrinate each successive generation to fervently believe in the moral justification for their war against democracies.
Why this difference in outlook? Democracies are bottom-up organizations, the citizens of which seek “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” not war.
Dictatorships and authoritarian societies—be they the Reds or the Greens—are top-down organizations, with the dictator or tiny ruling clique fighting both a) the domestic population, as well as b) foreign enemies, so as to gain wealth for the nation (and the dictator).
Let’s examine how the Reds and the Greens are working to achieve their aims:
China is working relentlessly to take over the world economically, as well as through:
• Cyber-warfare: Stealing our intellectual property and hacking U.S. government computers to obtain the identities of tens of millions of U.S. government employees, including the background investigations of our most elite technologists and military personnel.
• Cultural subversion: Sowing chaos among our civil fabric, largely by penetrating our universities, and pitting Americans against Americans, based on lies—and violent suppression of dissidents (including attacks on Christians and the imprisonment of one million Uighur Muslims, now festering in “re-education” camps.)
• Military firepower: Largely through technology stolen from the United States, China is now rapidly approaching qualitative parity with America’s military and has even provided weapons to Palestinian terrorists.
Russia, in addition to meddling in our elections and working to sow civil chaos (which it has been doing for more than 60 years), is trying to keep its stagnant economy afloat by creating conditions that will cause the low price of oil and natural gas to rise.
Iran is trying to take over the world through violent terrorism, narco-terrorism and cultural infiltration. Although it is not often discussed in our national news media, Hezbollah, the largest Islamist terror organization in the world, sponsored and armed by Iran, has been smuggling tons of illicit drugs (and who knows what else) into America and Western Europe for decades, the profits from which it has used to fund its global terrorism.
In fact, as Politico reported in 2018, to keep his Iran nuclear “deal” on track, President Barack Obama stymied an inter-agency federal task force, “Project Cassandra,” that was created to take down Hezbollah’s U.S. dug smuggling operations.
The Muslim Brotherhood, primarily financed by Turkey and Qatar, is trying to take over the world through cultural infiltration and subversion of democratic nations’ major governmental, educational and media institutions. In its own words, the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission is:
“A kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are working to take over the world through savage violence and intimidation—but also, through savvy online propaganda.
Regional Islamist terrorist organizations like the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority in Israel are trying to take over their regions by combining physical terror with “negotiations” for peace, which they neither honor or accept.
So how do democracies fight or negotiate with our adversaries, particularly when their thinking is long-term, while most democratic nations tend to think in the short term?
This disparity is a huge challenge for democracies, particularly when elections are on the horizon.
Fortunately, democracies have two key advantages.
1) Our economies grow as free people innovate and create new businesses.
2) The forces of evil, be they socialists/communists or Islamists, often cannot control themselves, and overstep the bounds of decency, thereby forcing democracies to unite and act decisively.
The Trump administration is juggling numerous foreign policy challenges right now, attempting to navigate very treacherous waters, due to our broad array of enemies, adversaries, and “frenemies.”
Let us pray that its senior leaders assemble the right mix of offensive and defensive strategies, to protect us—culturally, economically and physically.
Ken Abramowitz is chairman of Citizens for National Security.