With the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence – and key leadership in congress, we have an opportunity to re-establish the “three-legged stool” that characterized President Ronald Reagan’s metaphor for governing with a unifying approach for the combined interests of social, economic, and foreign policy/defense conservatives. All three are important. All three make vital contributions. All three support the common good. Furthermore, President Elect Trump has indicated his support for returning to this approach that propelled us Reaganites over a quarter century ago.
First, in remembering all those who serve and have served to keep us free, click here to read my tribute for last year’s Veterans Day. I reviewed the history of this day and why we remember. I also lamented on the sad situation that had overtaken us during my lifetime as we have forgotten our heritage and accepted far too much political correctness in our daily lives. Today, I see a more hopeful possibility for the future.
My message this week focuses on the opportunity for President Elect Trump and his future administration to again, like Ronald Reagan, employ the above “three-legged stool” and bring “morning to America.”
- On the Social Conservatives front, Donald Trump has committed to appoint Supreme Court Justices after the pattern of Antonin Scalia, who strongly supported Americans concerned about key social issues (e.g., the “Sanctity of Human Life”), as well as sticking to the mandates of the U.S. Constitution rather than legislating from the bench on controversial matters that should be moderated by legislative action mostly at the state level. And the Senate now will likely support giving his nominations a timely hearing – though confirmation will no doubt remain contentious as opponents seek to stall the process.
- On the Economic Conservatives front, he has signaled his major concern about dealing with numerous problems, including: Our burgeoning debt, now approaching $20 trillion; Exploding Obamacare costs; The myriad of taxes and regulations that burden individuals and especially small businesses with seemingly endless paperwork and other constraints that limit their freedom and ability to grow profitably; Intrusive philosophical energy-related mandates that have cost numerous blue collar jobs; and Trade policies that have led to the export of major production industries and associated blue collar jobs overseas.
- On the Defense and Foreign Policy front, he has indicated that we must: Close our open and porous borders, especially to un-vetted refugees from the Middle East that might add to the cadre of Islamic terrorist cells already in our country – while dealing with valid humanitarian concerns via overseas “safe zones” and, hopefully, efforts to help Christians persecuted by the Islamic terrorists in the Middle East; Understand and counter the underlying problems that are posed by the strains of Islam that fuel the growing threat of Islamic terrorism around the world, including within the United States; More wisely employ our military forces and diplomacy to deal with friend and foe while countering traditional peer adversaries (Russia and China), rogue states (e.g., North Korea and Iran) and Islamic terrorist groups (e.g., Sunni ISIS, al Qaeda, etc. and especially all those supported by the World’s greatest exporter of terrorism, the Shia Mullahs of Iran who openly state their intention to destroy the Little Satan Israel and the Great Satan America); and Again underwrite Reagan’s “Peace through Strength” policy by reversing the atrophy of our strategic and tactical military capabilities and modernizing our key systems across the board, hopefully including with more cost-effective ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems.
I’m sure my brief summary above leaves out some of President Elect Trump’s interests – but you should get the point that he is already on Ronald Reagan’s wavelength – and he and his team could emulate the “Reagan Revolution” supported by the above 3-legged stool. He should again support the Judeo-Christian values that led to America’s founding and a vigorous “Peace through Strength” agenda as promoted early by our first Commander-in-Chief, George Washington.
I am proud to have supported President Reagan’s agenda during the last wave that reversed the “malaise” of the 1970s, created the conditions for a major economic boom, rebuilt our then characterized “hollow” military and initiated key defense programs that ended the Cold War. It is no small point that many of today’s Judeo-Christian community were among Donald Trump’s strongest supporters – and they will be watching closely to evaluate how the beneficiary of their votes leads to a Trump Revolution.
And make no mistake, Donald Trump’s election was helped in a major way by “blue collar” Democrats who once composed a major component of Reagan’s broad support, but who lost interest due to the Republican elites who subsequently abandoned them and their values. I understand them – indeed I was a “Red Neck” in my youth and understand the source of that description from the many hours I labored in the fields on our South Carolina farm. I still am very comfortable with being labeled with that descriptive term. I, like they, some time ago developed a disdain for Democrats and their progressive policies and associated legislation and regulations that have eroded America’s core values – but also lost my interest in the Republican Party and its leaders who abandoned Reagan’s legacy on so many fronts.
These issues have been alive for several years in the Tea Party, which has received considerable disdain from the Republican elites. But it is alive and well in the Trump camp. As you know from my previous reports and linked YouTube videos on the High Frontier webpage (www.highfrontier.org ), I have addressed these folks often on the need to protect the electric power grid upon which our very survival depends – and they are appalled when I explain to them that their leaders in Washington have been doing essentially nothing to protect them, as they have rightly assumed the oath of office requires their elected leaders to do. Both legislative and executive branches have been badly broken for years.
President Trump and a new House and Senate led by Republicans will have an opportunity to rectify my sad and often shared assessment.
As I have shared my concerns about the electric power grid and explained what is needed to correct the current situation, I usually also explain in particular that the National Security leaders of both parties have left the American people vulnerable to the existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat that could be posed by rogue states (North Korea and Iran) or their Islamic terrorist surrogates who could detonate a nuclear weapon a hundred miles or so over the United States.
North Korea and Iran have long ago demonstrated this inherent capability by launching satellites that can carry nuclear weapons to be detonated over the United States after approaching us from over the South Pole. We have little if any defense against this existing threat. Moreover, North Korea and Iran – or an Islamic terrorist group – could launch such a high altitude EMP attack from a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. And they may have even practiced operations to pose this threat against which we today have no defense whatsoever. But we could have such a defense by defending Americans with the same Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense (BMD) system we have deployed in Romania and are deploying in Poland. Click here for a discussion of that important threat with recommended near-term countermeasures – written over a year ago and understand that nothing has changed to improve the current situation.
You’d think that if we protect our NATO allies from ballistic missile threats, we’d protect Americans at home. Wrong!
Action Item for President Trump. Hopefully, a Trump administration will advocate a new direction to end these vulnerabilities quickly – with decisions within the first 100 days, to be worked with the Hill leadership, of course.
Beyond the above quick steps with our existing BMD systems, I recommend that President Trump and his transition team revive key development programs like those pioneered by Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and abandoned over 20 years ago for political rather than technical-military reasons. I specifically have in mind President Reagan’s interest in space-based interceptors like Brilliant Pebbles, the most cost effective BMD system concept developed by the SDI decade between 1984 and 1993, abandoned by the Clinton administration and never reinstated by the subsequent administrations of both political parties.
Click here for my discussion of the key related conditions on the eve of this year’s anniversary of President Reagan’s March 23, 1983 speech that launched the SDI program. This message also links to the preceding two and “the trilogy” summarizes the reasons why an initiative now would be responsive to a number of unfolding conditions relate to the vulnerabilities of our current defenses and the concern of many leaders that our current BMD systems are on the “wrong side of the cost curve”- i.e., each defensive interceptor costs much more than the attacking ballistic missiles it is intended to defend against.
This would be an important “Trump initiative” and would dove tail with a recent letter from previous Directors of the Pentagon’s BMD acquisition programs (including yours truly) since Reagan initiated the program in 1984, urging the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to change the policy constraint that has directed development of defenses against only limited attacks. (Click here for my September 6, 2016 email message which includes this important letter that calls for building effective defenses against all, not just limited, attacks as is our current congressionally imposed policy.)
Finally, I urge that President Trump and his administration, across the full spectrum of government organizations, initiate a serious, integrated program to counter all the threats to the electric power grid – physical, cyber and EMP attacks as well as the EMP from a major solar emission that will one day occur.
Among other things, I strongly urge that he assure the recently re-established EMP Commission be given full reign over addressing the full nature of the threat to the electric grid, including from the dysfunctional nature of the U.S. Government interagency process and the associated Regulatory regime.
Under the right conditions and with the right focus and leadership, it really could be “Morning in America” again! This would fit Donald Trump’s campaign theme to “Make American Great Again.”