by Brian Hough
As we inch closer to the general election in November, it’s becoming even more apparent why national security should be top of mind for all voters in 2020. When we think about democracy, our constitution, our unalienable rights, and the virtues that make us uniquely American, we need to consider the safety, security, and preservation of these values. What goes into allowing us to have freedoms, such as freedom of speech or freedom of the press? Of course this isn’t a simple answer, but one element is clear: it is our national security that grants us many of these freedoms we cherish as Americans. In this article, I hope to paint a picture about what is at stake on the national security front for the upcoming election and share important criteria to consider leading up to Election Day
On a topic as important as national security, what should we be thinking about and what should we be paying attention to as voters? For starters, it is important to note the 70 former National Security Officials from Republican administrations—spanning former President Ronald Reagan to current President Donald Trump—who banded together in a statement on August 21, supporting Joe Biden. Their argument centered around 10 key points about why a Biden presidency would be vital for our nation’s national security program. The list was quite exhaustive, but I’ve included some highlights below, which are worth considering.
The first point centered around the need to repair our nation’s global reputation, morale, and diplomatic influence. We cannot afford to call strategic intergovernmental military alliances like NATO “obsolete,” especially given its historic significance in uniting countries across the nation for peace, unity, and collaboration following WW2. With the increase in economic globalization, increased international trade, and the expansion of global business, we cannot sit back and distance ourselves from the conversations that will set the economic table for decades to come. We must be a part of these arrangements and deals, which means we cannot seclude and isolate our nation.
The second point the former security leaders listed was the mishandeling of the COVID-19 national crisis and pandemic. The leaders expressed grave concern about a president spreading misinformation, such as calling COVID a “hoax,” to blaming state and local officials without providing clear federal guidelines for states to operate within. The health of the American people should always be a top priority, and we cannot afford to waver in blame, scapegoating, or fear mongering when our nation is struggling with a nation-wide crisis. During such tough times, we have all needed a single leader to rally behind and guide us through these troubled waters.
Perhaps their most crucial call for a Biden presidency centered around the current disparagement of our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and officials — something truly shocking for a central figure in power. The past four years has seen a repeated series of attacks against our US intelligence agencies, incorrectly labeling our diplomats the “deep state,” and even mocking American prisoners of war. While none of these events are normal, they have become commonplace, regular, and expected. We cannot afford to have infighting, nor a constant whittling away at the trust of our own government departments. Can we afford four more years of attacking our own nation’s intelligence?
Rhetoric is another area that isn’t solely specific to national security, but encompassing of all areas of government and law in America. The past four years has been fueled by “political, racial, and ethnic divisions, weakening our nation and delighting our adversaries” as the former national security advisors proclaim. The angry rhetoric of “American carnage,” “angry mobs,” and “anarchists” is the complete opposite of the America President Barack Obama painted for our nation. The reversal to pessimism and incitement has certainly taken a toll on our morale.
In November, voters will have a chance to make an important decision about what kind of America they want for the next four years and the precedent this will set for many years to come. Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s foreign policy platform is set on “restoring dignified leadership at home and respected leadership on the world stage.” To start, he will focus on reinforcing our Democracy, such as restoring the Voting Rights Act, institute strict conflict-of-interest and anti-corruption policies for the Biden administration, and bring back daily press briefings at the White House, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Defense. He knows how important transparency and communication are to the nation, and restoring this level of trust to the people will be vital for a brighter 2020 and beyond. Biden also intends to restore moral leadership, with a focus on revitalizing America’s commitment to furthering and bolstering human rights and democracy around the world.
One platform pillar that stood out in particular was Biden’s pledge to host a global Summit for Democracy. This global event would unite the world’s democracies together and develop a shared agenda to address the concerns facing our nations’ common values. Key discussions would include: fighting corruption, upholding democratic pillars, like election security, and advancing human rights locally and around the world.
Biden’s platform is robust, comprehensive, and detailed. He paints a much more hopeful and optimistic view of America than the one we have been served over the past four years. At a time of increased divisiveness, we must all come together, especially now when we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic head on. We need a dedicated leader to guide us through these troubled waters and help us emerge stronger on the other side, not weaker. Whether you are voting by mail or in person, do not let your chance to vote slip away this November — your vote is needed now, more than ever before.