Here’s what Trump got right (and wrong) in his national security speech


President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks regarding the Administration’s National Security Strategy (White House/Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, yesterday, we talked about the tax package that was passed by Congress. There was another news story that made headlines last week and that was Donald Trump’s national security strategy speech.

To highlight the four pillars of that speech:

  • Protect the Homeland
  • Promote American Prosperity
  • Preserve Peace Through Strength
  • Advance American Influence.

WHY A NATIONAL SECURITY SPEECH?

DR. REEDER: Tom, it was given the name “The Sustainment Strategy of America First or American Greatness or American Exceptionalism” as the nickname it was given.

Every president in recent history has had a national security speech, but what is interesting is, our last two presidents, President Bush, it took him 20 months before he made one and it was on the heels of 9/11 and President Obama made his speech of “leading from behind” as a national security strategy and he made his speech, I think, it was 16 months. Now, President Trump has done so in less than 12 months.

It doesn’t make it good or bad – it’s just interesting. He had a team fully focused on this and this was something very important to him in terms of his promises in the campaign and so General McMaster, and Dina Powell and Nadia Schadlow were the ones that had been working so hard on it.

Nothing in it should surprise anyone, but I will confess the coherency of it somewhat surprises me and then there were a couple of things in it that did encourage me, overall. Let’s walk our way through that.

PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH

First of all, this national security strategy very much is a “peace through strength,” which has been the mantra of every president from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the present except for President Obama. Every president has gone the route of “peace through strength.”

I actually like the way the speech said it: “If we do not build a military capable of winning any war, then we will not be capable of keeping the peace.”

If you have a military that is so overwhelmingly strong, then except for this terrorist approach to war, the regular conventional warfare, people are not going to want to do that because they know it is to their ultimate destruction.

This “peace through strength,” he put a big emphasis on technology. He did talk about increasing the number in our military forces of soldiers, and sailors and marines. He did mention also, over the next 12 months, of increasing the size of the navy to a 355-ship navy.

ECONOMIC STRENGTH CRUCIAL

One of his pillars in this is the importance of economic strength. Economic strength is what undergirds military strength and military strength should allow creativity and economic industrial activity.

However, he also made the point that he wanted to build the military from home-based factories and home-based manufacturing and home-based technological development – that the two work together. That was very much what Eisenhower developed and warned against – it’s called the “Military Industrial Complex” – but, very clearly, that in this speech he tied the two together.

He also gave a statement that provided somewhat of a moral underpinning to his America First idea. He made the point, “What I mean by America First is what I would expect, any leader of any nation that I’m talking with, I would expect them to be concerned for the country they’ve been elected to represent first.”

ALLIES … AND ENEMIES

He also did something that no other president has done in this: He actually called out, in the speech, Russia and China as threats to America’s security. Here is a guy being accused of colluding with Russia – being too close to them – but it’s interesting how, on his personal level, he keeps reaching out to their leaders trying to build a bridge but, in the public arena, he is identifying them as, right now, economic enemies and potentially military enemies and we have to be ready to defeat them on both fronts.

He also made a commitment to renewing the integrity of our relationship with our allies. To sum up, he said we’re going to protect the homeland, meaning our people and our economic well-being and our virtues.

OUR VALUES — NOT ANY ETHNICITY– MAKE AMERICA SUPERIOR

America is rightly so – this needs to be understood – America should not be seen in its strength in terms of an ethnic superiority of any one element of America, but of its values that are represented in its founding documents.

Now, he never defined virtues and values. I’m hoping that’s what somebody will point out to him – the values and virtues that are encased in our founding documents.

He also made the point that national security is tied to economic well-being and prosperity, again, the home industries being foundational for the military strength of the nation and, in the “peace through strength,” that he affirmed that as a strategy and that he would advance the interest of our values in other nations, but he is not going to engage in nation-building.

And, personally, I would say that is exactly what I think a government should be doing. A government is not a church to evangelize our way of life upon other people.

We can attract people to our way of life, we can use our strength to defend people who are under attack by despots and tyrants and we can be there for our allies, but our call is not to go into nations and undermine one national government to institute our own national government, but to have the kind of government and nation that will attract people to what we do.

WHAT WAS MISSING FROM SPEECH

Now, what was absent in it, I did not hear the resounding note of what is absolutely crucial to America – and many presidents have done this so it’s not unpresidential – and that is the spiritual strength of the people.

While I do not believe the government is to pick and choose losers and winners in the field of religion, it is to recognize the importance of it. That’s why, in the First Amendment, the first affirmation is the free practice of religion.

A government where the Constitution is king, a government that is a republic that works by consensus and covenant and a government of laws must be a government of a people who are a moral people. If we are not a moral people, then capitalism becomes greed and then people will find ways for segments of society to dominate other segments of society.

We need to be a moral people and that means the government must see, first of all, the value of the free practice of religion, protect the free practice of religion, promote the free practice of religion and affirm it publicly through its presidential proclamations.

I found that element missing. That’s an element that I’m hoping at least others within his cabinet and within his leadership team will promote.

WITHOUT THIS … WE’LL NEVER BE GREAT

A country will not stay strong just because it has a great economy and just because it has a great military. Its ability to sustain an economy and a military is directly related to the moral fiber of a nation and that’s related to the soul of a nation and that is no more than the sum impact of influential dynamics of a strength of spirituality. In our country, it has been two great awakenings and I’m praying for another great awakening.

Then again, having made that critique of the president, I would say the responsibility for the spiritual dynamic of this nation does not rest upon him – it rests upon the church of Jesus Christ and people like me. I need to get about the business about the Great Commission, making disciples; the Great Commandment, loving the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind and my neighbor – all my neighbors – as myself; and I need to be about a great commitment to lay down my life for Christ to reach this nation and to reach the world.

Tom, let me be very specific: The church of Jesus Christ needs to be sharing and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that He died for our sins and that He rose again – and you can know the eternal security of a relationship with Christ and you can share it and give it away to others. That’s what I am speaking of our strategy to reach a nation so that we might reach all the nations.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

35 mins ago

Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear retiring; Kim Boswell appointed as successor

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday announced that Lynn Beshear will retire as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) effective December 16.

Beshear was appointed by Ivey to this position in July 2017, shortly after the governor took office.

Yellowhammer News earlier this year named Beshear a 2020 Woman of Impact.

“When Lynn was appointed, I knew that she would approach her role always thinking of what is best for the people of Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement.

“She has created a collaborative team approach within the Alabama Department of Mental Health to solve intricate problems regarding delivery of services for mental illness, substance abuse disorder and intellectual disability. I am truly grateful for her service to our state and wish her best in her next chapter,” she continued.

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While leading ADMH, Beshear has spearheaded several initiatives to increase access of services for Alabamians with mental illness, while navigating complexities of delivery by the department and community providers.

“It is been an honor to serve as the Commissioner of the department,” Beshear commented. “I am stepping into the next chapter of my life proud of the accomplishments of the department and am incredibly honored to have worked with such dedicated individuals who are committed to improving the lives of others. I profoundly thank Governor Ivey for her trust in me these last three years and have no doubt the department will continue to change the lives of the people of Alabama for the better.”

Ivey’s office in a release outlined that under Beshear’s leadership, ADMH launched Stepping Up Alabama, which uses the national model to reduce the numbers of jailed individuals with mental illness. Alabama is the only state to expand the goal to include ER’s and substance use disorder. It is anticipated that a case management component of Stepping Up will be in place in all 67 counties by the end of the Fiscal Year 2022.

Additionally, three mental health crisis centers were recently announced as crisis diversion centers, with the goal of individuals receiving “the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

Expansion of school-based mental health, hiring a housing coordinator for individuals’ stabilization plan, and expansion of early childhood services and autism services are examples of ADMH’s expansion of services during Beshear’s tenure.

The governor on Monday also announced she is appointing Kim Boswell to be the new ADMH commissioner effective December 16.

Boswell reportedly has more than 36 years of experience working with individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities.

She currently serves as chief of staff for Beshear and has been both associate commissioner for Administration as well as director of Human Resources for the department. During her career, Boswell has worked as a planner to improve human service delivery systems, a Program Evaluator, a School to Work Transition Coordinator, and has also served as the State Office Administrator for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

“I’m pleased to announce Kim Boswell as Commissioner for the Alabama Department of Mental Health,” Ivey stated. “She has spent the entirety of her professional career devoted to helping struggling individuals and I appreciate her willingness to serve in this new capacity. Her background as a mental health provider as well as administrator makes her uniquely qualified.”

The governor’s office noted that Kim Boswell is of no relation to ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Report: Democratic-aligned group tried to register dead Alabama woman to vote in Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday said his office is investigating four different voter registration groups for potential wrongdoing ahead of the state’s crucial January 5 U.S. Senate runoffs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Raffensperger, a Republican, held a press conference at the State Capitol in Atlanta to outline these investigations.

The theme of the alleged actions by all four groups under investigation pertains to attempting to register people who do not currently reside in Georgia to vote in the Peach State’s runoffs.

One of the groups was founded by Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who lost the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018; she has still not conceded that election. Her group allegedly solicited individuals residing in New York City to register to vote in Georgia.

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Another group, Vote Forward, is alleged to have attempted to register a dead Alabama woman to vote in the upcoming runoff.

Vote Forward is a 501(c)(4) aligned with Democratic groups and left-leaning causes.

The group’s other prominent Alabama tie?

On Vote Forward’s website, the organization cites its voter registration and turnout efforts in the Yellowhammer State as being effective in helping U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) win his 2017 special election bid.

In fact, the website says, “The project began as an experiment conducted by Scott Forman in Alabama in 2017. Encouraged by the success of that test, Scott and a small group of friends and fellow Opower alumni built this platform…”

On Monday, Raffensperger stressed that Vote Forward and the three other named groups “have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting.”

“If they do so, they will be held responsible,” he added.

The outcome of Georgia’s runoffs is of paramount importance for Alabama, as U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) will lose the chairmanship of the powerful Committee on Appropriations if Republicans do not win these two races.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has launched a nationwide Georgia Battleground Fund leadership team to aid fundraising in their effort to hold the Senate majority. Led by Karl Rove as national finance chairman, this also includes state chairs and a distinguished team of national and honorary co-chairs.

Katie Boyd Britt — current president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and former chief of staff to Shelby — is the Alabama state chair for this effort.

“America’s fate rests on the outcome of these Georgia races,” stated Rove. “Democrats have not been shy about what they’ll do if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi run Congress, so it’s imperative every freedom loving American go all in for Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler so they’re victorious. I’m honored to work with so many great Republican leaders from all 50 states and D.C. to ensure these two Senators have the resources to protect the last line of defense against the Democrats’ left-wing agenda.”

RELATED: Republican organizer leading team of volunteers to aid Senate races in Georgia

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Alabama sets state record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

Alabama recorded its largest yet number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Monday as the state’s coronavirus statistics continue to reach alarming levels.

There were 1,717 individuals in the hospital with COVID in Alabama on Monday, eclipsing the previous record of 1,613 set on August 6.

UAB Hospital, the state’s biggest and most prominent medical facility, is currently treating 125 coronavirus patients, a new high for the facility.

“125 patients means 125 patients receiving in-hospital, bed-specific care. These are patients who are either very sick, unable to get better, or potentially unable to survive without medical attention and care,” UAB explained about their hospitalized patients in a press release.

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Clicking image opens interactive chart in new tab (BamaTracker)
(UAB/Contributed)

UAB’s numbers include any patient admitted to the hospital with a diagnosed case of COVID-19.

The hospital’s numbers appear to indicate a worrying spike in the Birmingham metropolitan area. UAB was treating just 79 coronavirus patients on Thursday.

Overall, Alabama’s count of new coronavirus cases remains about as high as it has ever been. On average, 1,733 new cases have been added each day over the last week.

Clicking image opens interactive chart in new tab (BamaTracker)

Yellowhammer News is using statewide coronavirus numbers from BamaTracker in this piece. BamaTracker is a website that collects and displays coronavirus data published by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Additionally, Yellowhammer is counting new cases as those confirmed by a chemical test performed in a laboratory. When adding results from rapid tests and other methods classified by ADPH as “probable” positives, Alabama’s seven-day average rises to 2,206.

Past trends in coronavirus data show that a spike in hospitalizations follows a spike in new cases by 2-3 weeks. A corresponding increase in deaths follows the increase in hospitalizations by around one month.

All but three of Alabama’s 67 counties reported a new COVID-19 case on Monday, indicating continued widespread transmission across the state.

Of all COVID-19 tests administered in Alabama over the last 14 days, 26.1% came back positive, the highest rate the state has suffered during the pandemic.

In recent days, for every eight tests administered, one was positive, per BamaTracker’s calculations.

Approximately 13 coronavirus deaths were reported in Alabama each day over the last week. The state’s death toll now stands at 3,246, with another 332 listed as “probable” but not yet confirmed by ADPH.

Doctors continue to recommend wearing face masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, and washing hands frequently as the best ways to slow the spread of the virus.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Alabama’s state Christmas tree to be delivered on Tuesday

Alabama’s official Christmas tree will be delivered to the State Capitol on Tuesday, the governor’s office said.

This year’s tree, donated by Robbins Taylor, Sr., is an Eastern Red Cedar arriving from Letohatchee in Lowndes County.

The tree stands about 35 feet tall and will be displayed on the front steps of the State Capitol building in Montgomery.

Following its delivery, the tree will be decorated throughout the week with lights and other adornments before the traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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4 hours ago

Four tips to keep seniors safe from scams

This holiday season, we have a suggestion: Check on your parents. Or grandparents. And make sure everything is OK.

Holidays are about family time, but 2020 is decidedly different. Social distancing will be the norm. Unfortunately, scammers don’t follow the rules. And that puts seniors at even more risk.

Cold, hard numbers bear that out. According to Protecting Older Consumers 2019-2020: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), adults 60 and over are more likely to be victims of fraud – and less likely to report cases to authorities. The FTC points out that the risk gets worse as people age. The FTC also reports that adults age 80 and older suffer the biggest losses, with a median reported loss of $1,600.

It gets worse. Adults aged 60+ are six times more likely to be the victims of tech support scams; they are three times more likely to report losses due to prize, sweepstakes and lottery scams; and this demographic is twice as likely as young adults to report financial losses due to impostor fraud.

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“Always keep in mind, these people are trying to bait you in to giving them information,” said Jon Kucharski, fraud strategy manager at Regions. “The best strategy is to ignore them. For example, if you respond, ‘You’ve got the wrong guy,’ to an unsolicited text message, the person on the other end knows they’ve a got a live phone number. These people are making a lot of money because people respond.”

You can protect grandparents – and yourself – by recognizing these four signs of potential fraud:

  1. Scammers pretending to be from known organizations – With new technology, numbers can look official on Caller ID. But the IRS, Social Security and Medicare aren’t going to call you and ask for personal information. And a tech company won’t offer to fix the problem they “just discovered” remotely on your computer.
  2. Scammers calling with a problem, or a prize waiting for you – Again, the government isn’t going to call out of the blue. Nor will a legitimate official tell you to send money to get a loved out of a legal scrape you knew nothing about. A sweepstakes company won’t call you saying you’re the grand prize winner, and only need to pay a nominal fee to receive your jackpot.
  3. Scammers pressuring you to act immediately – They may tell you if you don’t send money or act right now, they’ll have you arrested or sued. The threats don’t end there. They could threaten to take away your business license or deport you. And in one of the latest technology scams, they’ll threaten to take over your computer if you don’t respond.
  4. Scammers insisting you pay in a specific way – To get out of trouble, you can send a money transfer or a gift card. Or they’ll insist they’ll send a check for you to deposit. In return, you send them money.

Jeff Taylor, Regions’ head of commercial fraud forensics, points out that there are obvious reasons why scammers exploit seniors more effectively.

“Seniors are targeted because they’re available and they’re at home,” Taylor said. “In some cases, they may have hearing impairments and may not understand all they’re hearing. And many are not as technologically savvy.”

Despite all these scams, stopping fraudsters is simple. Share these tips with your parents, grandparents – in fact, anyone you care about:

  1. Block unwanted phone calls and filter unsolicited texts – They can’t get to you if you don’t respond. And if you see an unfamiliar number, don’t answer.
  2. Don’t give out personal or financial information to someone you don’t know – Legitimate organizations, including banks, won’t ask you for that information in a phone call, text or email. If you really think the call was legit, look up the organization, find a real phone number and make the call yourself to confirm.
  3. Take a deep breath – No matter how urgent the matter is according to the person on the other line, don’t act immediately. Someone reaching out for legitimate purposes will give you ample time to fix the problem.
  4. Stop and talk to someone you trust – That’s what family and friends are for. Tell them what happened and, together, decide if you are being scammed.

Learn the scams and steps to take – and keep – loved ones safe. If all else fails, report fraud and help others avoid the same fate at this website: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Stay on top of fraud prevention with the new resource page from Regions at www.regions.com/fraudprevention.

The information presented is general in nature and should not be considered, legal, accounting or tax advice. Regions reminds its customers that they should be vigilant about fraud and security and that they are responsible for taking action to protect their computer systems. Fraud prevention requires a continuous review of your policies and practices, as the threat evolves daily. There is no guarantee that all fraudulent transactions will be prevented or that related financial losses will not occur. Visit regions.com/stopfraud, or speak with your banker for further information on how you can help prevent fraud.

(Courtesy of Regions Bank)