When I moved to Washington in the late 1980s to begin a 30-year career in the US government, the world was different.
North Korea did not have a nuclear weapon and Iran had no intention of acquiring one. India and Pakistan had not yet carried out nuclear tests. The Soviet Union was in the midst of a collapse, which severely crippled the evil empire’s ability to carry out military aggressions and other nefarious attacks across the world.
It will be decades before the Pentagon submits a report identifying that climate change poses an “immediate risk” to national security. Terrorism was located for the most part in the Middle East and North Africa, not the metastasized global network of threats that it is today. Al Qaeda did not even exist.
And China was, to use a popular expression in our current lexicon, a threat to national security “beyond the horizon.”
The world back then was arguably a much safer place. We still benefited from a bipartisan consensus forged during the Cold War to contain and counter Soviet communism. Going across the aisle to collaborate on national security policy was easier and politically painless for our elected officials.
As Michigan Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg said in 1947, politics “have stopped at the water’s edge.”
Mitigating, anticipating and, to the extent possible, eliminating threats to our national security require our politicians to work together to implement the most effective policy measures.
And today the stakes couldn’t be higher. The United States faces a myriad of complex and formidable threats to our national security. The intelligence community, where I made my career, is responsible for collecting information on these threats “left boom” so that they can be thwarted before going to our shores.
Unfortunately, modern American politics are so deeply polarized that even the most significant national security threats such as Iran, Russia, North Korea, China and transnational terrorist groups cannot escape collateral damage from the United States. partisan politics.
Our enemies, most notably but certainly not limited to China and Russia, are ruthlessly focused on pouring gasoline on the partisan fires burning in Washington. Vandenberg rightly believed that America’s leaders should present a united front to other countries despite our national political differences. Therefore, we avoid self-inflicted wounds which only create more vulnerable attack targets for our opponents.
The outcome of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has prompted many on both sides of the aisle to debate America’s place in the world, especially the extent to which we must continue to pursue a strong economic presence. and global military.
There is no better place to abandon politics than China, which steals intellectual property from the West; mount full force espionage operations against the United States and our allies; extend its military weight from Asia to Africa and the Middle East; brazenly violating human rights; and emitting more greenhouse gases than any other country.
And true to the tradition of his former Soviet travel companions, Chinese President Xi Jinping is spreading a mountain of lies – most infamous about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic – to support his corrupt regime.
If there is one thing our fractured political system needs, it is a national consensus on how to manage a mercantilist and militarily ambitious China.
Democrats and Republicans should work together to strengthen our defenses both geographically and in cyberspace and work with our allies, especially in Asia, where China threatens Taiwan’s sovereignty. We should all engage in the task of challenging China’s “wolf warrior” propaganda machine by shining the brightest spotlight on Beijing’s repressive policies.
The model of bipartisan collaboration can be found from 2011 to 2015, when former Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Maryland Rep. Charles “Dutch” Ruppersberger III was the panel’s ranking Democrat. Never having branded any predisposed ideological biases in matters of national security, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Ruppersberger have embodied the sacred principle of Vandenberg’s two-party system in their work.
Partisan dissent should not be expected to abate in 2022, especially with the upcoming midterm elections. But our elected leaders should be held accountable for finding a safe space on national security for the future of our country.
Here’s a New Year’s wish for 2022: may our elected leaders recognize once again that what brings us together far trumps what divides us, especially when it comes to confronting, defending and defending. deter China’s global challenge to our national security.
• Daniel N. Hoffman is a retired Undercover Service Officer and former Station Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency. His combined 30 years of government service included senior positions abroad and at home with the CIA. He has been contributing to Fox News since May 2018. Follow him on Twitter @DanielHoffmanDC.