Judd Gregg: America missing

Judd Gregg: America missing
© Getty Images

The world is missing America.

It may not want to acknowledge this fact but it is true nonetheless.

A stabilizing power that is governed by principles and the rule of law is critical to maintaining some reasonable level of order in a world that is inherently disorderly and chaotic.

ADVERTISEMENT

If such a power is not willing to take on this role then a vacuum occurs. In global affairs, nations or groups who are governed neither by admirable principles nor by the rule of law almost always fill that vacuum.

We are seeing this today, of course.  

The Obama doctrine — denying reality in the name of hope and refusing to acknowledge the critical need for American leadership — has led directly to disorientation, confusion and increased threats in almost all the major arenas of the world.

Eastern Europe has devolved and Russia is filling the space with aggression. The Middle East has become totally unhinged from any force for coherent and constructive governance due to the Obama administration’s negligence. 

China is expanding its sphere of influence and doing so in international waters. It is clear that Afghanistan is headed in the same direction as Iraq, with the likely re-establishment of the Taliban as the dominant force.

Then there is North Korea, which appears to be moving again toward a capability of delivering a nuclear weapon with a missile. 

Those are the obvious results of the Obama administration’s policy of denial.

There are other threats that, though predictable, are rising and dire. They can be traced directly to the lack of American engagement in critical issues and regions around the world.

Consider what will happen if the radical Islamic movement overthrows the government in Saudi Arabia or Jordan (or in both places). A region that is already a disaster for many others and us will get much worse.  

This is made possible by America continuing to disengage, even as it allows the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the other violent Islamic groups to engage.

Where does Russia go next? It has invaded Georgia. It is invading the Ukraine. It has declared that America is a threat. Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia's snub of Geneva Convention protocol sets dangerous precedent Trump's aversion to alliances is making the world a more dangerous place Gadhafi's ghost still haunts US policymakers MORE is clearly trying to re-establish the empire of the Soviets.

Without American leadership, Europe is incapable of confronting this expansion. The Obama policy of following, not leading, has no answer to Russian expansionism. We do not even seem to be trying to anticipate the next move of Putin, much less trying to thwart it. The crisis that exists in Ukraine is likely a precursor to a larger move by Putin this year.  

America does not need to be the world’s policeman but it does need to be the force that stands up to, and addresses, threats that affect our strategic interests.   

When folks look around for someone to counter the evil of fundamentalist Islam or the threat of dictators like Putin to critical regions and democratic governments, who is there if not America?

This administration has left the world with a giant and dangerous question mark. Where and when will America stand up for itself and those who are attracted to our values of democracy and rule of law? No one knows any longer.

The road ahead has some very predictable threats that will significantly affect us here in the United States.  

The next president better put down the rose-colored glasses of political expediency that have been worn by the Obama team and get us ready as a nation to act with resolve in the face of these threats. 

Whenever the White House candidates on both sides of the aisle decide to discuss seriously — not in packaged one-liners — the real issues that the next president will have to deal with,  defining America’s leadership and role in the world must be at the top of the list.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.