Problems, we got Problems

Richard A. “Dick” Clarke opines in the pages of the Washington Post about the other national security issues that have been forced out of consideration because of the complexity and difficulty of the Global Counterjihad.

Without the distraction of the Iraq war, the administration would have spent this past year — indeed, every year since Sept. 11, 2001 — focused on al-Qaeda. But beyond al-Qaeda and the broader struggle for peaceful coexistence with (and within) Islam, seven key “fires in the in-box” national security issues remain unattended, deteriorating and threatening, all while Washington’s grown-up 7-year-olds play herd ball with Iraq. […]

As the president contemplates sending even more U.S. forces into the Iraqi sinkhole, he should consider not only the thousands of fatalities, the tens of thousands of casualties and the hundreds of billions of dollars already lost. He must also weigh the opportunity cost of taking his national security barons off all the other critical problems they should be addressing — problems whose windows of opportunity are slamming shut, unheard over the wail of Baghdad sirens.

Read the original article for Clarke’s thoughts. My thoughts are here.

  1. Global Warming: It is a significant scientific problem, and a huge political problem. It needs to be addressed aggressively with the voice of reason so that Al Gore and the luddites are not the only voice in the game.
  2. Russia: Putin and his cronies are rolling back freedoms left and right as they attempt to reform the Soviet Empire by annexing former Soviet colonies. It was an insult to the G8 for Putin to be president of the organization last year. Russia is not a free country or a free economy and it is becoming a neighborhood bully again.
  3. Latin America: Two words: Hugo Chavez. Two more: Evo Morales. Two more: Daniel Ortega. Two more: Illegal Immigration. Hezbullah terror cells are active in Brazil and Argentina. MS-13, narco-terror, a communist resurgence. This is our own backyard. The American economy is tied closely to South and Central America. This region is too close to be ignored so thoroughly.
  4. Africa at war: Somalia and Sudan are huge problems, as is Nigeria and Liberia. But… the US has been working behind the curtains while nobody was looking. Let the Democrats bang their heads against the wall trying to get the UN to commit some troops to Darfur and Chad to protect the black Muslims from the Arab Muslims. In the meantime, US advisors can assist the few good governments in Africa to help turn back the Jihad tide.
  5. WMD Arms Control: North Korea and Iran have been tag-teaming the US and EU on nukes. The US hasn’t taken the opportunity to respond strongly.
  6. Transnational crime: While both MS-13 and the bumper crop of heroin in Afghanistan are problems, I do not think this is a separate problem as does Clarke. When crime finances terrorism, it is a Counterjihad problem. When crime destabilizes governments in South America, it’s a problem for the State Department along with all the other problems in Central and South America.
  7. The Pakistan-Afghan border: The problem here is not the border, though if Pakistan mines the border it would certainly cause lots of problems. The problem is that Pakistan is not serious about stopping Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda financiers, organizers, and jihad trainers roam freely in Quetta and other Pakistani cities with papers allowing them free passage even into military facilities. Pakistan is a nuclear armed enemy that pretends to be an ally. The US needs to stop pandering to Jihadists and their supporters (in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and at home in America) and start giving support to the reformers of Islam, those who want to bring forward a humane, liberal Islam instead of the inhuman, oppressive Islam of the Wahhabists and Khomeinists.

And of course Clarke leaves off what I believe is the biggest invisible national security issue of all: Energy Independence. The US needs a Manhattan Project for Energy with a multi-pronged approach to Energy Independence

  • More drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska
  • More nuclear power
  • Solar power
  • Wind power, Geothermal, and Wave Power
  • Plug-in hybrid automobiles
  • Energy company deregulation and competition
  • Micro-generation (encourage consumers to sell-back electricity to power companies, especially during high-load times)
  • Tax incentives for telecommuting

And one more thing that needs to be done sometime soon, not for national security reasons but because it is the right thing to do. Bad laws need to be taken off the books because bad laws damage the economy and encourage people to break the law.

  • Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley
  • Repeal McCain-Feingold
  • Pass Legislation that overturns Kelo

Also see Memeorandum; Liberal Values; HuffPo; Economist’s View.

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