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ON THE RIGHT TRACK

LEW GILLILAND: Dems simply don’t get peace through strength (column)

The killing of an Iranian terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. servicemen should be a development celebrated by all Americans, but with the Democratic Party determined to destroy the sitting president, that was never going to happen.

Make no mistake, though, while it’s easy to blame Democratic criticism of President Trump’s decision to take out Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 3 on the case of Trump derangement syndrome living large on the American political left, that explanation ignores a more fundamental truth: Democrats simply don’t understand the concept of peace through strength.

It’s a fundamental truth that’s hardly new. When Ronald Reagan challenged the Soviet Union in the 1980s, calling the communist nation an “evil empire” and ordering an arms buildup that pressured the Soviets both economically and militarily, Democrats were appalled. But Reagan knew you don’t defeat a bully by appeasement, knew the Russians didn’t have the capacity to win an arms race with the United States long term, and his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union not long after he left office.

Flash forward more than 30 years, and we have been subjected to almost non-stop Democratic criticism and hand wringing over the killing of Soleimani, so much so that you’d have thought Trump had ordered the death of some great humanitarian. Soleimani, was hardly that. Instead, he was a leading exporter of death and terror on behalf of an evil Iranian regime that has, since 1979, done everything it can to fuel conflict in the Middle East while showing little hesitation toward harming or killing Americans in the process. When Soleimani recently ordered an operation against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Trump decided enough was enough, and in the process, let it be known that harming Americans will have dire consequences. 

Democrats immediately cried that Trump was leading the U.S. into a war with Iran, but that hasn’t happened, most likely because Iran knows that’s a war it can’t possibly win. Instead, Iran’s responded to Soleimani’s death with a futile missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq that killed no one and served virtually no purpose except to allow the evil regime to claim it had retaliated.

Oh, and by the way, the “he’s going to lead us into war” cry is nothing new for Democrats. Go back to 1980, when Reagan was running against incumbent President Jimmy Carter, and you’ll find the American political left warning voters how dangerous it would be to put Reagan in the White House in the nuclear age. He likes to “shoot from the hip” was the charge they made in describing his rhetoric. Carter in a debate against Reagan late in October worked the subject of nuclear weapons into the back-and-forth as often as possible.

Voters rejected those arguments, however, and Reagan before he left office signed a treaty with the Soviets eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons. Not long after that, the Soviet Union collapsed. In essence, Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. 

The vast majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, have no appetite for another long, drawn-out war along the lines of Vietnam or Iraq. But that’s not what peace through strength is about. Peace through strength is about standing up to bad actors and letting them know actions against Americans or American interests will not go unpunished, about letting those who would harm us know that we want peace but will not let evil aggression go unchecked in order to achieve it. 

Reagan understood that concept. So does Trump. The Democratic Party, not so much. 

Lew Gilliland is managing editor of The Daily Home. Reach him at lgilliland@dailyhome.com

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