Astonishing. Truly astonishing.
The #NeverTrumpers who style themselves “Delegates Unbound” have used a snippet of President Reagan on the use of military force, with Reagan saying this:
“Use of force is always and only a last resort.”
The clip then has Donald Trump saying this of how he would deal with ISIS:
“I would bomb the s–t out of them.”
The obvious implication: Reagan would negotiate with ISIS, not “bomb the s–t out of them” because Reagan was wise enough to understand that the “use of force is always and only a last resort.”
Question? After 9/11, Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, Orlando and now the attack in Turkey (not to mention London and Madrid and heaven only knows what other places around the globe attacked by these radical Islamists), do we seriously have a group of Republicans who do not think the use of force against ISIS is more than justified? Are they really saying that with radical Islamists doing their damnedest to kill not just Americans but Westerners that the answer is… negotiate with ISIS? Really? Really?
This is no mere fracture leading up to the GOP Convention. This is a Grand Canyon of a difference. I’m not one to try and predict what anyone departed from their mortal coil would do in a present-day situation. But certainly what any historical figure did while living and in power is relevant to an understanding of history and principle.
In 1983, confronted with the reality of a Communist coup in Grenada that was designed to make the country another Cuban-style Soviet outpost just miles from American shores, Reagan went Trumpian. He ordered “Operation Urgent Fury” and sent 6,000 troops and the full air power of the U.S. military to (borrowing from Trump) “bomb the s–t out of them,” them being the Cubans and local Communist allies who had taken over the island. The invasion and bombing were a stunning success. That was the end of the Soviets in Grenada.
In other words, while we will never know what Reagan would do with ISIS, we know for a fact that when faced with an enemy takeover of Grenada he did exactly what Trump is saying he would do with ISIS. And it’s worth noting that Trump is well on record saying he would never have invaded Iraq — but now that we are there it was a mistake to pull out and leave the field to ISIS and their blossoming Islamic Caliphate.
Quite clearly, by attacking Trump for saying he would bring the full force of the American military to bear in destroying ISIS — something President Obama has stoutly refused to do — the “Unbound Delegates” have, unbelievably, sided with Obama.
And these are the people who are insisting that Trump — popularly chosen in the GOP primaries — should have his nomination overturned? Based on this ad and the appalling idea of appeasing ISIS instead of destroying it, clearly it seems the real revolt here is from the “Unbound Delegates” who want to take the Party of Lincoln and Reagan and remake it as the Party of Neville Chamberlain.
Make no mistake, based on this TV ad criticizing Trump for standing up to ISIS, this “Unbound Delegate” ploy is a return to the quasi-leftish mush that passed for GOP foreign policy when Ronald Reagan decided to challenge Gerald Ford in 1976. One of the reasons for making that challenge to President Ford was Ford’s refusal even to meet with the famed Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn after the latter was expelled from the Soviet Union. Ford was afraid he would upset the Soviets and hence damage his policy of détente. Reagan was furious with the timidity — a Ford bow to appeasing the Communist bullies of the day. He took to his newspaper column to sharply criticize Ford’s “preemptive concessions” to the Soviets. Among other things, Reagan wrote that “We have given the Soviets our trade and technology…. Mr. Ford snubbed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of the great moral leaders of our time….” Reagan went on to directly charge that Ford’s foreign policy “has coincided precisely with the loss of United States military supremacy.” Later, as biographer Craig Shirley would note in Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All, Reagan would tell reporters : “I fear for my country when I see (Ford) White House indifference to the decline in our military position.”
Primaries can leave wounds. And speaking of 1976, there were wounds then. Yet Ronald Reagan stepped to the plate and quite publicly pledged his support when he lost to Ford. He let Ford take his case — the case of the elites of the GOP moderate Establishment — to the American people. Ford lost. Four years later Reagan took his foreign policy views — peace through strength — to the American people and won in a 44-state landslide. Four years after that, after Reagan had indeed “bombed the s–t” out of the Communists in Grenada — an operation that was strongly opposed by the Democrats of the day — Reagan won a 49-state landslide.
Let’s be clear. Every foe in American history has been different. Yet in their own way the Nazis and the Communists and the Islamists are startlingly the same. In the name of their cause they intended — and intend now in the case of radical Islam — to remake the world in their image. By force.
On the heels of Istanbul and Orlando, the very idea that there are “Unbound Delegates” to the GOP Convention essentially criticizing Donald Trump for saying he would take ISIS on directly — in the style of Reagan in Grenada — appalls. Appeasing ISIS? Really?
Say again? Wow.
Now there’s a GOP platform fight worth having.
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