Both of these should matter to every American. Security is about our internal protection and the death of socialism in Venezuela could be a bigger tragedy that spreads beyond its borders.
Shutdown showdown détente
The longest partial government shutdown in our history is over. We are back to the process that needs to be carried out and 15 days from now we will have the next seminal moment.
Some will say that the president caved, others will say that the Speaker of the House and the Democrats won and some will say that the president won. Somewhere betwixt all of the narratives is just reality.
Today the conference committee comprised of House members and Senate members will meet and begin to hash out a deal. It’s important to know that the conference committee is not just the leadership of each party but other elected representatives from both sides. This means that those who are potentially vulnerable on either side will have to consider the politics of what they do more than the leadership, which is rarely as vulnerable. More than two dozen freshman Democrats are already worried about returning to their districts and facing their constituents who supported President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE.
A while back the White House asked Cabinet secretaries and agencies to look for money that could be used to build the border barrier system and enhance the security apparatus.
Separate from this are the request in the Customs and Border Protection security improvement plan for fiscal 2019. Those are important and that’s where we will see if the House Democratic leadership really means what they say when it comes to improving our security and immigration system as a whole.
The State of the Union address is the opportunity for President Trump to follow the constitutional requirement of reporting to Congress and the nation.
Here it is in plain words: “The President shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
The president can recommend for their consideration that national security as applied to the southern border and all the other elements of our immigration system are necessary and expedient.
Feb. 15 matters because it is the last day in Washington, D.C., for Congress before they go home. Not only the freshman members, but most members of Congress will have to face their constituents. Yes, some of them may take congressional delegation trips, but their staffs will still be in the district offices. Activists on both sides will activate and advocate. This was a smart move on the administration’s part because whatever happens between the Feb. 5 State of the Union address and Feb. 15 will get back to the local level when Congress goes home.
This political tragedy and political gamesmanship being played in Washington with our security as a nation is going to reach a boiling point. Security is the real issue as I have written before and that is irrespective of any political affiliation.
The death of socialism once again
Venezuela is a tragedy that has been developing since the late 1950s with a period of calm until the dictatorship of Hugo Chávez aided by Cuba and other players including Iran, China and Russia. Nicolás Maduro is the continuation of the destruction of a once wealthy nation.
Socialism to the extreme results in the deaths of thousands and the destruction of cultures, yet there are some in the United States who think we can get it right. In fact, no one will ever get it right. Socialism in any form, with any adjective, is a path to failure.
In Venezuela there are some 22,000 Cubans who helped Chávez and his successor Maduro control and destroy the country.
In the plains of Venezuela there are possibly about 20,000 members of FARC and the Colombian ELN who don’t have a place to go. They can’t go back to Colombia because the Colombian army waits for them on the border.
Aided by Iran, there are an uncertain but large number of Hezbollah terrorists who have no way to leave Venezuela. They must either disburse into South and Central America and wherever else they can go and continue to spread or stay and fight it out for control of territory.
Common between these groups and others is a combination of drug trafficking, international crime and terrorism as tools to advance their individual causes.
In summary, this is the failure of socialism to the extreme and the possible end of a dictatorship mixed with the departure of an invasion concealed by the Chávez government and carried on by the Maduro government.
It is tenuous and dangerous and the administration’s approach is careful. Any plans will have to be adaptable to a changing situation. America’s presence in many of these nations south of our border has had its less than favorable outcomes. We have to consider how they see us, while at the same time reminding them that we see them as better off when they are free and successful.
If both of these topics are not successfully addressed and our southern border is not secure, there may well be another march northward. It could become part of a growing migration that we cannot afford to absorb from an economic or security perspective.
This is why it matters to you.
Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, Host of “Reality Check with David Webb” on Fox Nation, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.