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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.

7 hours ago

Geneva County Commission strips funding for school resource officer program

The Geneva County Commission has placed the Geneva County School system in a bind after it pulled funds committed to the school resource officer (SRO) program.

Per a Dothan Eagle report, the county commission voted in June to give $15,000 to the SRO program this year, including an additional $60,000 next year.

After commissioners found that the budget would not balance, they realized that the promised funding for the SRO program could not be provided.

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Fred Hamic, chairman of the Geneva County Commission, sent a letter informing Superintendent Becky Birdsong of the decision and included a $15,000 check.

Birdsong said she was “disappointed,” but assured she will work hard to ensure the SRO program remains in place.

“I am disappointed, but I am still committed to doing what’s right for our students,” Birdsong told Dothan Eagle. “We don’t want parents to be concerned that this is going to make our schools less safe. I’m not saying we have the money now, but I am going to work on this and try to secure funding for this.”

Birdsong said that she is working with parents to increase security on school campuses in the schools she oversees.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

7 hours ago

Steve Marshall talks liberal tech bias, joins select group of national officials tackling the issue

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday joined a select group of state attorneys general for “a productive dialogue” led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Department of Justice (DOJ) officials regarding perceived discrimination against conservatives by leading tech companies.

Per a DOJ release, “The discussion centered on ways the Department and state governments can most effectively safeguard consumers using online digital platforms. Each state attorney general’s office shared their views of the important issues for federal and state authorities to consider when addressing these evolving technologies. The discussion principally focused on consumer protection and data privacy issues, and the bipartisan group of attendees sought to identify areas of consensus.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Marshall – who joined the meeting by teleconference – made it clear that there was a long way to go before reaching a consensus on how to tackle the complicated issues of tech transparency and bias, saying, “To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

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“Today I participated in a bipartisan meeting of several state Attorneys General, hosted by Attorney General Sessions, to discuss consumer protection concerns related to the tech industry. The conversation covered many of the same concerns raised in recent Congressional hearings,” Marshall outlined.

He continued, “I appreciated the invitation to participate and was interested to hear the perspectives of the various states represented. To the degree that there was any consensus, it is that we still have a lot to learn about how to best protect consumer interests in this context.”

The DOJ, which was represented at the meeting by Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore and other senior staff, explained, “Many shared the view that it is essential for federal and state law enforcement authorities to work together to ensure that these challenges are addressed responsibly and effectively.”

Sessions’ DOJ will review the information and insights shared by the state attorneys general and expects the constructive dialogue will continue moving forward. Marshall, in an interview earlier Tuesday morning with Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, made it clear that he prefers a market-based solution as opposed to stifling government regulation.

“It is a field that I think we need to tread very lightly,” Marshall explained. “You look at the ability of government to regulate – I think we do the military well and everything else is a struggle. So I think we need to be very, very careful in how we tread in that regard.”

The argument from some is that social media platforms are like modern-day utilities.

“You hear it coming more from Democratic AG’s across the country … it’s why, I think, you have to be very careful, because the market itself has the ability to regulate and one of the things that we have to do from the government side is do not tread into the world of antitrust lightly,” Marshall outlined.

Alabama’s attorney general used Google as an example, saying consumers have multiple choices in search engines, free online email providers and the web browsers themselves (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.).

“It is important, however, when you do hear the stories of internally that Google may be directing people for political purposes that otherwise is not disclosed. That is concerning,” Marshall said.

For Marshall, the questions of whether these tech companies should allow their left-leaning biases to affect consumers “need to be asked, whether or not government needs to get involved in that, however, is a different story.”

Marshall summarized that his overall view is the tech services need to be held accountable to being open and honest with what they are doing and then the market can effectively take care of the rest. If consumers do not like what the services are doing, competition, not the government, should be the counterbalance.

“To the extent that there is transparency, I think it’s a good thing. Across the spectrum, whether it be private business or in government, and in this field particularly, if they are able to respond to questions about how it is that they control content and what they do, then I think we all have knowledge and then can make decisions ourselves,” he advised.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Strong like Samson, tough like Benaiah and wise like Solomon -Thomas Cox reveals his plan for himself and raising his kids

Finding the time to do everything in a day is tough, but Thomas Cox shared his secrets on “The Ford Faction.”

In this episode, Thomas Cox from Mealfit.co discussed where his parenting techniques come from and how he finds time to execute them. He breaks down the processes he does with each of his children.

First, he teaches them to be strong like Samson. He wants his kids to be strong in many ways: mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.

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Second, Thomas wants his kids to be tough like Benaiah.

He said, “Toughness is one of the biggest parts of our lives we have to get better at so we can adapt to what’s happening around us.”

Finally, you have to be wise like Solomon.

Thomas told host Ford Brown, “I think if you’re not spending a lot of your day on self-development, you are missing the boat.”

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Rep. Byrne: Breaking down Tax Reform 2.0

Since Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year, the American economy is booming, and Alabama families have more money in their pockets. By lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code, we have unlocked our economic potential and made life better for hardworking Americans.

The economic numbers speak for themselves: higher wages, lower unemployment, more jobs, bigger paychecks, employee bonuses and much more. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the average family in Southwest Alabama will see their tax bill decrease by $2,187 a year.

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The good news is that we aren’t stopping here. This week, the House is expected to vote on additional changes and improvements to the tax code, something we are calling Tax Reform 2.0. Working with President Trump, we will continue to make the tax code even fairer and more competitive.

Tax Reform 2.0 includes three major pieces. Here’s a quick overview.

First, we want to make the tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families permanent. Due to Democrat obstruction and arcane rules in the Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was only able to lower taxes for ten years. Under Tax Reform 2.0, we will make the tax cuts permanent.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation found that making the middle-class and small business tax cuts permanent will create 1.5 million new jobs and increase gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.2%. This further expands our economy and makes life even better for families and small businesses.

Making these changes permanent, will also lock-in the simpler tax filing process. As you may remember, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplified the tax code to the point where many Americans are now able to complete their taxes on a postcard-style form. A Tax Foundation study shows that this will save Americans between $3.1 to $5.4 billion in compliance costs. Instead of needing an accountant to navigate the complicated code, most Americans will be able to file on their own.

Second, Tax Reform 2.0 promotes family savings and helps more Americans plan for retirement. Currently, too many Americans have been unable to save for retirement or put money aside to cover unforeseen emergencies.

We want to help small businesses provide retirement plans to their workers by allowing small businesses to join together to create a 401(k) plan more affordable and by giving employers more time to put new retirement plans in place. Just as important, we will help more workers participate in retirement plans by exempting small retirement accounts from mandatory payouts and by eliminating the age limit on IRA contributions.

We don’t stop there. Tax Reform 2.0 will create and expand additional programs to help Americans save. For example, our plan creates a new savings account to offer a fully flexible savings tool that families can use at any time right for them, expands 529 education savings accounts, and creates a new baby savings program to help with the birth of a new child or an adoption.

Finally, Tax Reform 2.0 will help grow the economy by promoting start-up businesses and spurring innovation. We do this by allowing new businesses to write off more of their initial start-up costs and by making it easier for start-ups to bring in new investors. America must lead the way on innovation.

As you can tell, Tax Reform 2.0 builds upon our efforts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure the American economy remains strong. We do that by allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. I fundamentally believe our country is the strongest when money is with the people instead of the government.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

8 hours ago

Ivey, Merrill celebrate National Voter Registration Day – ‘Easy to vote and hard to cheat’

Tuesday is recognized as National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), which Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill celebrated by encouraging all of the state’s eligible voters to register.

The annual occasion is the largest single-day drive to register voters of the year. Merrill joined hundreds of different partners around the nation to observe NVRD, with Merrill specifically encouraging a “voter refresh” effort to update state voter rolls with correct information about Alabama citizens.

“Since I became Secretary of State, we have registered more than a million new voters who have helped us shatter state records for voter registration and participation in our elections,” Merrill said in a release.

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“But we also want our voter rolls to be up-to-date, so we are urging everyone to take a moment to make sure their current address is correct in the state system. We are pleased to participate in this special day that encourages more participation in our electoral process. We continue to work daily to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen in our state is registered to vote and has a photo ID. We want to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Merrill continued.

NVRD, held on every fourth Thursday of September since 2012, is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors. Since 2012, more than 1.4 million people around the nation have registered to vote or update their registration as part of this event alone. This year, libraries, schools and other partners will hold local voter registration drives.

Since Merrill took office, Alabama has registered 1,064,616 new voters, bringing the state’s total to 3,418,839 as of September 7. Yellowhammer State residents can update their voter registration information by downloading the “Vote for Alabama” app on a smartphone or visiting the Secretary of State website here.

“There is no freedom more integral to this Republic than the right to vote and participate in our democratic process,” Merrill emphasized. “I am so proud we are able to work with the partners involved with National Voter Registration Day to help make increased participation a reality here in the state of Alabama.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn