National Defense & Military Assistance to Allies

In war, all choices are imperfect, risk-filled, and thus difficult. That is how it has been since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. This is how it is in Israel and Gaza, too. This is how it may be in Taiwan soon. The situation and the choices Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, America, and our mutual allies confront today indeed are tough.


To resolve complex and troubling international power struggles that implicate American national security, we need economic and military strength, along with political courage and unity around vital principles. Principles involved include law and justice, freedom, limited government, and protecting the vulnerable. We also need federal leaders who exemplify the principles of peace, respect, service, and understanding.


One prerequisite to America’s ability to meet our allies’ needs is that our own military storehouses must be full to excess with technologically superior arms. Frederick the Great, a King of Prussia during the eighteenth century, said that “diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments.” Applying that statement today demands consensus that Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan cannot negotiate for peace without sufficient weapons to win their wars. 


Our own defense budgets need strengthening, not cuts, and the United States also should increase our military efficiencies (more bang for the buck, literally) through technology, innovation, financial oversight, and accountability. As necessary, it also must increase military spending commensurate with GDP, leading our allies to do the same. We must work sincerely with the United Nations, NATO, and alliances in the Pacific and the Americas.


Our country learned in World Wars I and II that things only get worse if America does not help its friends stop unprovoked attacks by foreign powers quickly, rather than hoping the bloodshed can be contained abroad without our involvement. Accordingly, the U.S. (along with other Western nations) must continue to fund our allies and donate tanks, armored vehicles, missiles, drones, and whatever else they need. If Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan defeat their foes, these expenditures will be a bargain in America’s overall efforts to deter Russia, Iran, and China. 


We must remember that opposing powers ultimately want to outshine America, outlast democracy, and overcome the West as the dominant influence in the world. As it has been for centuries, Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan are the unfortunate battlegrounds in that bigger conflict. Stymying their enemies is the best way to deny autocracy’s desire for dominance.


As Ronald Reagan famously said in 1980, “War comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak.”