The American Leadership Crisis

The reputation and influence of the United States has suffered immeasurably during the past few years because of poor leadership in Washington. The response of the U.S. to diverse threats from many places, domestically and internationally, has caused our allies to doubt our resolve in spite of this country’s great military and economic power.


The issues that are bringing America down are numerous. Domestically, the number one problem continues to be the economy and the impact it has had on unemployment and wages.


The housing bubble burst in 2008 and was probably the most important impetus for the Great Recession. Houses are the largest personal investment for most Americans, and these investments declined in value. Credit standards were loosened as part of the housing euphoria resulting in untenable levels of mortgage debt compared to home prices.


The current administration did not respond appropriately to the aftermath of the housing bubble debacle. Instead, trillions of dollars were directed into a universal health care system. In effect, the federal government subordinated the needs of over 300 million Americas to insure 20-30 million Americans. The money and political capital dedicated to Obamacare should have been used to stimulate the economy.


The long-term effect of this strategy has been systemic economic malaise. The most needy are ones that have suffered the most; consider the rapid rise in welfare and the persistent growth of long-term employment. Further, the disastrous decision to focus on health care rather than our economy has resulted in a blood feud between our political parties that has paralyzed the government.


Internationally, the administration has acted indecisively in response to threats of all kinds, thereby emboldening our adversaries. Our most dangerous nemeses can be broken down into four buckets- terrorists creating havoc in several strategic places in the world, Russia, nations that are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction and immigrants that have assaulted our borders.


Terrorism is now an old threat that became prominent on 9/11/01. The incredible success of the “box cutter skyjackers” changed history. The devastation, and the global response to it, caused by this amateur group of fanatics have impacted billions of people in a thousand different ways. There is no way to estimate the true cost of that fateful day.


But even more important, the 9/11 tragedy inspired thousands, and maybe millions of terrorist copycats. Every day, a group somewhere in the world declares a victory after killing innocents. The depressing truth is that America’s response to these horrible acts has been tepid at best, and our warnings are no longer a deterrent to radical nations and organizations.


Our most successful tactic has been drone attacks, as the U.S. has no stomach for new troop deployments. However, the collateral damage affiliated with drone attacks has infuriated some nations. The National Security Agency efforts to identify criminals have been severely hampered by civil liberties advocates even though some useful intelligence information has resulted from NSA efforts.


Russia considers the U.S. a paper tiger. Its flagrant disregard for long held international law in the Ukraine is a disgrace culminating in the downing of a commercial airliner. No one is recommending a military response to the Russian-supported militia in the Ukraine. But, our country’s hesitation to impose significant economic sanctions, with or without support from European allies, is deplorable. Putin no longer considers the U.S. a threat to his aggressive ambitions.


Iran and North Korea are going to develop nuclear weapons in the near future. The only question that will remain is when will they have the ability to deliver a nuclear strike over a long distance (possibly to the continental U.S.). We should end the diplomatic Kabuki dance with these two rogue nations and be more assertive.


Bankrupting Iran with economic sanctions would be a wise course. And, we should begin to plan for a military strike against North Korea if it does not agree to end its nuclear program. Neither country can be trusted with nukes, and neither has negotiated honestly or in good faith to this point.


Our borders have been under assault for years. Millions of immigrants have already entered our country illegally and thousands more are doing so every day. It is certainly a national security risk. I cannot comprehend why this is not the highest priority of our federal and state governments. I assume that those already in the U.S. will be granted a path to citizenship, something I am mildly in favor of. But, why do we allow the flow of immigrants to continue and exacerbate the situation?


These people are already creating a huge financial, health care and educational burden on our country. In fact, our ability to care for needy Americans has been greatly diminished by the money being spent on these interlopers. Why are they more important than the citizens of our country? Why haven’t the leaders of the downtrodden in America been screaming about the diversion of so many resources to illegal aliens?


The United States needs new leadership now. Our ability to keep the peace domestically is in question, much less our ability to protect our allies around the world. Our great military strength is being sapped each day as spending is cut. Our enemies know we are in flux, and they are taking advantage of our distractions. If this continues, the U.S. will soon lose its position of power among the global community of nations.


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