PR firms data-mine blogs relevant to their clients expertise and send out unsolicited emails to the blogger encouraging them to write about their clients or cause. It comes as part of the territory, these invites to set-up interviews, especially during the silly season aka elections. Our Congressman, Steve Stivers from the 15th District, sends out periodic emails to let us know what he is doing (truth in lending; Congressman Stivers and I met a few times when we both were officers in the Ohio National Guard). His most recent email blast caught my attention, titled "Addressing the Growing Threat from North Korea" I quickly clicked on it.
Congressman Stiver's email summarized many of the recent acts of hostility committed by North Korea in the region and called for more US action to intervene in the future (presumably by the next administration). There was a link within his summary to "better.gop" as well.
The link takes you to Speaker Ryan's website and under "national security", I found Ryan and the GOP's strategy listed:
1. DEFEAT THE TERRORISTS
- We must make it our top national security priority to prevail in the war against radical Islam.
2. PROTECT THE HOMELAND
- We must keep terrorists out of America, secure our borders, and stop cyber attacks.
3. TACKLE NEW THREATS
- We must make sure our country is ready to tackle the threats of our time and beyond
4. DEFEND OUR FREEDOM
- We must restore American influence, advance free enterprise, and expand the community of free nations
The 4 bullet points read like those mission statements everyone was writing for the company or organization back in the 1990s. You know the ones, they went something like "A world class organization posed nimbly to rapidly respond to global changes in a dynamic environment with a well seasoned, diverse staff of experts ready to meet your needs". Try fitting that on a business card!
The GOP "Better Way" strategy is much like those mission statements; an amalgamation of the latest buzzwords that really don't say anything. Take for example goal number 1, "Defeat the Terrorists", we are admonished to make it a top national security priority to prevail in the war against radical Islam. It begs the question, so for the last 15 years we haven't? Does this mean non-radical Islamic terrorists get aren't a top national security priority?
Perhaps the most frustrating part is Ryan's intellectual laziness in using the term "radical Islam". I challenge you to find 5 people, experts of lay people, who can give you the same definition of radical Islam. It is lazy since Ryan (and whoever wrote this for him) chose a sound-byte rather than a more workable definition. Why even mention Islam? A terrorists is a terrorist and if we only are concerned about the theological motivations we are going to be missing a more people who want to kill Americans.
In "Protecting the Homeland", Ryan and the GOP want to keep terrorists out of America. To which you need to remind them, the terrorists are already here. ISIS has been recruiting their operatives virtually from around the world. They don't need to smuggle operatives in, they are already here. Securing our borders really means the border with Mexico now doesn't it? Why not say so and instead of building a wall or some other such nonsense, why not develop a strategy with the Mexican government to improve conditions for their own people?
"Tackle new threats" makes it sound like the Pentagon hasn't ever though of a new threat. That's all students in the various war colleges are challenged to think about and write papers about. And exactly how much of the taxpayers money is Mr. Ryan and his GOP friends will to spend on this?
"Defend our Freedom" and restore our influence. Careful, this sounds suspiciously like empire-building but moreover, why? Why should taxpayer dollars be spent on this? What does "expand the community of free nations" mean exactly? Those countries that are beholding the United States?
Each time I read through these, I get a little more upset. Someone, or a group of someones, probably got paid handsomely for this tripe and it is passing as a national security platform. Nowhere was North Korea and its nuclear weapons addressed. Nowhere was Iran and its blossoming nuclear program addressed. Nowhere was Russia and its increased paranoia towards the US addressed. Nowhere was China's expansion in the Pacific Rim addressed. Almost all of the bullets were about terrorism or trying to invoke Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again".
If this is what the GOP is hanging their hats on in regards to national security, perhaps this is why none of their candidates were able to beat Trump.