Month: December 2017

The Security Document (Annual Report to Congress)

Tying National Security from foreign threats to economic security in this country is misleading at best.

National Security depends partly on economic security but the strongest measure of economic security at home is a large and thriving middle class. Large public works and infratructure projects almost always boost jobs only temporarily. Trickle down economics, the belief that making the wealthy richer will benefit everyone – the main idea in the recent one party tax bill – is a doubtful path to security at home.

The Security Document presents a dark and combative world view. Foreign relations and trade are not a contest but a cooperation with our allies and at least minimum diplomatic engagement with our adversaries. The warlike tendencies of rogue nations are best reduced through international effort with a path to inclusion in the world community. Extreme natural disasters and weather events that may be the result of human-influenced global climate change are National Security threats that require a world wide solution.

If you remember the western radio and TV series “Gunsmoke”, I am like Marshal Dillon on foreign policy. Matt never threatened anyone. He never tried to bait anyone into a fight. He was always ready when bad stuff started to happen. It is another way of saying “speak softly and carrry a big stick”.

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The Practical Approach

Announcement this week to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem highlights the need for a practical approach to many policy issues.  We already have a good, functioning embassy in Tel-Aviv.  It does not have to be about political philosophy or partisan politics.  We don’t need to buy a new embassy.  And we sure don’t need to start a riot.

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LaBoyteaux 2020-National Monuments/Travel Ban

A president should not undo National Monuments which previous presidents have tried to preserve. Congress can do this in the event of a true resource crisis. But the country is not facing an energy shortage. In fact, the United States has become a net exporter of oil and gas, essentially energy independent.

The public lands are not actually owned by the Federal Government but are held in trust for the benefit of all Americans. Anyone can visit and appreciate these places to recreate and enjoy the wide open spaces. National Monuments are not only about history and artifacts, they are also often units of the National Park System.

These places need to be viewed in the context and uses of all public lands, approximtely 600 million acres, which are managed following the general principle of “multiple use”. Timber harvest, mineral , oil and gas extraction, grazing, wildlife conservation, recreation, unique landscapes, history and artifacts are all part of public lands management, but not all uses on every acre.

Placing 5-10 percent of the public lands in a preserved status is not excessive. National Monuments are not just about a collection of things but also the importance of places in our national identity.

In other news this week the Supreme Court has upheld the travel ban on seven majority muslim countries.  I’m not sure of the Court’s reasoning here but it is clear to me that terrorists can come from a lot of places other than these seven countries.  I can’t get past the hateful things that have been said and tweeted.  Our safety depends on very thorough vetting of everyone who wants to enter the United States.  We do not need to call out anyone by race, religion or national origin.

 

 

 

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