Latest update: July 14th, 2013
Today, America faces a number of critical challenges. At the top of the list are the threat of radical, violent Jihad and the associated threat of nuclear proliferation.
I think many of us fail to comprehend the extent of this threat. Take former president Jimmy Carter. Carter thinks Israel’s security fence is the thing that keeps peace from coming to the Holy Land.
Having just been to Israel, I came to the opposite conclusion: the security fence keeps peace in Israel – that fence is helping prevent bloodshed and terror and violence.
What Jimmy Carter fails to understand is what so many fail to understand. Whether it’s Hamas, Hizbullah, Al Qaeda or Shia and Sunni extremists, there is an overarching goal among the violent Jihadists, and it transcends borders and boundaries. That goal is to replace all modern Islamic states with a religious caliphate, to destroy Israel, to cause the collapse of the West and the United States, and to conquer the entire world.
Jihadism – violent, radical, fundamental Jihadism – is this century’s nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism. We are faced with the horrific proposition that those who speak of genocide are developing the capability to carry it out.
Radical, nuclear Jihad is the greatest threat that faces humanity. It cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.
In my view, there are several steps that America has to take.
First, we have to sharply increase our investment in national defense. I want to see at least 100,000 more troops in our military. I want to see us finally make the long overdue investment in equipment and armament, weapon systems, and strategic defense.
That’s going to require that we spend at least 4 percent of our GDP on defense.
In the Korean War, 11.7% of the nation’s economic activity was associated with the protection of this land. During the Reagan years, it reached approximately 6% of our GDP. Today, it’s down to 3.8% and I believe we have to increase at least by 40-50 billion dollars a year our spending on military strength.
Second, America has to become energy independent. Our economic and military strength require it. We use 25% of the world’s oil. The United States has approximately 1.7% of the world’s crude oil reserves. We obviously have to become energy independent for strategic purposes and I’m not just talking about symbolic measures, I mean that we finally have to take the necessary steps to actually produce as much energy as we use.
Third, we have to transform our international civilian resources, to enhance our influence for peace, for security, and for freedom. Just as the military in our country has divided the world into common regions with a single commander for each region, our civilian agencies need to do the same thing.
Fourth, we need to strengthen our old partnerships and alliances, and inaugurate a new one. I agree with former prime minister Aznar of Spain that we should build on the NATO alliance to defeat radical Islam.
And further, if I were fortunate enough to be elected president, I’d call for a National Summit of Nations to create a new partnership – a Partnership for Hope and Prosperity.
This partnership would assemble the resources of all the nations of the world to work to assure that Islamic states that are threatened with violent jihad have public schools that are not Wahhabi madrasas; that they have micro credit and banking, the rule of law, human rights, basic healthcare, and competitive economic practices.
And fifth, we have to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. The Iranians’ ambition to develop nuclear weaponry is clear: they have a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean natural gas for energy, they have refused Russia’s offer to supply nuclear fuel for their power. Obviously, their nuclear ambition has nothing to do with clean energy.
President Ahmadinejad has gone beyond the boundary of outrage, beginning with his calculated desecration of history. His purpose is not only to deny the Holocaust; it is to deny Israel. He is doing what another evil man did before him: conditioning minds to acquiesce to the elimination of a people.
In January I was at the Herzliya conference and I discussed the threat of Iran. Since then, Iran continues to operate its nuclear program in defiance of the UN Security Council. It’s expanded its centrifuge operations in Natanz. It’s issued a new banknote that features a red nuclear symbol superimposed on the map of Iran.
Earlier this month, Iran boasted the production of nuclear fuel on an “industrial level” with a goal of installing 50,000 centrifuges. On April 9, Iran marked a new national holiday – “Nuclear Day.” Does the world understand what’s going on here? Do they recognize the threat posed by this nuclear-developing nation?
It’s time to take Ahmadinejad at his word and act accordingly. We are going to continue to work, we’ll work with the UN, we’ll encourage China and Russia to work with us at the UN Security Council.
But the U.S. and Europe can’t afford to wait.
I have proposed a strategy to combat Iran’s nuclear ambition. Let me describe just a few of the elements.
First, we should severely tighten economic sanctions. I think the Bush administration deserves a lot of recognition for restricting access to our banking and credit services, because financial, and credit and monetary penalties are some of the most effective sanctions there are. And we must get other nations to act now to follow our lead.
Second, I think it’s important for us to isolate Iran diplomatically. Its leaders should be made to feel exactly like those of Apartheid South Africa, or worse. That’s why I ordered the state police of Massachusetts to refuse security details for former Iranian president Khatami when he came to Harvard.
Of course, we can communicate and talk with Iran and I support the upcoming efforts to discuss security in Iraq with Iraq’s leaders and their neighbors in the region. But until there are indications that high-level engagement would do anything other than reward bad behavior, I don’t believe we should be engaging Iran in direct, bilateral negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.
Now, there is one place of course where I’d welcome Ahmadinejad with open arms – and that’s in a court where he would stand trial for incitement to genocide, under the terms of the Genocide Convention.
Arab states need to join this effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. These states can do a lot more than just wring their hands and urge America to do all the work. They should support Iraq’s nascent government; they can help America’s focus on Iran quickly by turning down the temperature on the Arab-Israeli conflict; they can stop the financial and weapons flows to Hamas and Hizbullah; and they must tell their Palestinian friends to drop their campaign of terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
This one’s a little sensitive, so listen carefully: We have to make it clear to the Iranian people that while nuclear capabilities may be a source of pride, they can also be a source of peril. If nuclear material from Iran falls into the hands of terrorists and is used, it would provoke a devastating response from the entire civilized world to the very nation that supplied it.
There is yet another source of Jihadist nuclear danger, beyond Iran. It’s the pursuit by Jihadists of acquiring what are commonly known as “loose nukes.” The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which was launched last year, was a good start, but we need to accelerate and expand it.
First, I’d appoint a senior American official to serve as Ambassador-at-Large to Prevent Nuclear Terror. He or she would have the authority and resources to work across agencies and departments in the United States to ensure that our strategies are coordinated here, and abroad.
Further, I’d promote an international initiative to develop a new body of international law that would make nuclear trafficking a crime against humanity, on a par with genocide and war crimes. And by allowing for universal jurisdiction, charges can be brought up at any court, to help prevent traffickers from hiding in complicit or weak countries. Already, people have been caught trying to smuggle nuclear materials to sell them on the black market. Their acts shouldn’t be dismissed with the kind of nonchalance that sometimes accompanies routine violation of the law.
Countries that want to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes should convene to reaffirm their commitment to non-proliferation. For years now, we have depended on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the centerpiece. But recent technological and political developments suggest that the bargain at the center of this effort needs to be updated. We need to set a gold standard for security, given the amount of highly enriched uranium that still exists in the world.
Finally, the United States in my view should take the lead in organizing an international fuel bank, which would guarantee low-cost supplies of nuclear reactor fuel to countries willing to abide by very high standards for safety and security.
The threat from Jihad is real and it is exacerbated by the demographic crisis. Today, over half that region is under 22 years old. The combined GDP of all Arab nations, including oil revenue, is less than Spain’s. Think of that. And with the growing population and lack of jobs, the ground for radical Islam will be increasingly fertile.
We should remember that in the two other global confrontations with totalitarianism in the past century, it wasn’t always obvious that we’d win. Indeed, in those conflicts, the balance of power was not always in our favor.
Those were wars we could have lost, but we didn’t.
In the current conflict, defeat is not nearly as dangerously close as it was during the darkest moments of the Second World War and the Cold War. There’s no comparison between the economic, diplomatic, and military resources of the civilized world and those of the terrorist networks that threaten us today.
In those previous global wars, there were many ways to lose, and victory was far from guaranteed. In the current conflict, there is only one way to lose: if we as a civilized world decide not to lift a finger to defend ourselves, our values, and our way of life.Mitt Romney
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