You Make a Difference! Our mission and operations are funded entirely by Patriots like you! Please support the 2021 Year-End Campaign now.

Edwin J. Feulner / November 19, 2011

Focused on Foreign Policy

When the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore were held in October 2000, the 9/11 attacks were less than a year away. Guess how many times “al Qaeda” or “Osama bin Laden” came up in those debates? Not once.

There was a single mention of “terrorism” in one of the debates, but it was made in passing. One word did stand out from those verbal jousts, but it had nothing to do with any threat from abroad. The word was “lockbox.” Hard as it may be to imagine now, the candidates spent more time locking horns over what they planned to do to reform Social Security and Medicare than how they’d bolster America’s security.

When the presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore were held in October 2000, the 9/11 attacks were less than a year away. Guess how many times “al Qaeda” or “Osama bin Laden” came up in those debates? Not once.

There was a single mention of “terrorism” in one of the debates, but it was made in passing. One word did stand out from those verbal jousts, but it had nothing to do with any threat from abroad. The word was “lockbox.” Hard as it may be to imagine now, the candidates spent more time locking horns over what they planned to do to reform Social Security and Medicare than how they’d bolster America’s security.

Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with covering important domestic issues. The economy, for example, frequently demands our attention, and seldom more urgently than it does at this moment. And no one expects candidates to have a crystal ball. Even the best prepared among us can get blind-sided by a crisis.

But crises rarely materialize out of nowhere. The signs of a gathering storm can be detected if one is paying attention.

The 9/11 attacks, for example, surprised us all, but they were hardly a bolt out of the blue. “In August 1998, Osama bin Laden’s Afghanistan-based terrorist network bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,” Middle East expert James Phillips wrote in a paper published by The Heritage Foundation in July 2000. “Yet Afghanistan has still not received the high-level attention that it deserves as the world’s leading exporter of terrorism, Islamic revolution, and opium.”

We’d also seen the USS Cole bombed while it lay in port in Yemen. And let’s not forget the first bombing attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

Phillips and other experts had been sounding the alarm repeatedly by the time the 2000 election came around. Yet no debate moderator asked Gov. Bush and Vice President Gore what steps they would take, if elected, to help diffuse this threat.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that the president is also the commander-in-chief. Maybe it’s human nature to want to forget. After all, who wants to dwell on the fact that it’s dangerous out there, especially when we have enough problems at home?

But when you consider our position in the world, and what it takes to make sure that we remain secure, we see the need to be prepared – not just in a general sense, but to anticipate specific threats and figure out how to deal with them.

That’s why it was heartening to see the last debate between the Republican candidates focus on foreign policy. It’s crucial that we hear, for example, what they would do to ensure that Iran doesn’t wind up armed with nuclear weapons. Or how they’d handle trade with China. Or what they would do to help bring peace to the Middle East. Or how they’d respond to religious persecution. Or what they think about foreign aid. And so on.

Fortunately, we haven’t heard the last word from the candidates on these and other related topics. Heritage, with the American Enterprise Institute and CNN, will be sponsoring a debate on foreign policy and national security that will take place in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. EST.

The timing couldn’t be better. We’re setting the Thanksgiving table, so to speak, for some lively family discussions. We should welcome such talks – how we approach these issues has a direct bearing on the future of our country.

As President Reagan once said, “The task that has fallen to us as Americans is to move the conscience of the world, to keep alive the hope and dream of freedom.” But it won’t happen automatically. It takes action. So let the debate begin.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.