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What Did Washington Mean by National Strength?

Vernon Burnes

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How then are we to position our nation to survive and prosper in the 21st century? The same as President Washington advised for his time when he wrote “taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture.” General Washington was speaking of national strength. Strength expressed in three ways.
 
First, and the base for the second, economic strength and self-sufficiency a prosperous nation, unencumbered by public or private debt with strong private enterprise and limited sector. A country in control of all the resources it requires and not held hostage to the control of our enemies because we won’t use our own ample supplies.
 
Second, a military with the unquestioned ability to defeat any enemy, any time and anywhere. A military based on our technical and industrial superiority never engaging the enemy on his terms, only on our terms with overwhelming force. Crush the enemy, kill him, don’t fight fair, win and come home. Don’t stay ten years, don’t try to remake another country. Think of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and the first Gulf War. When the world knows this the world will be safer for all nations.
 
Third, the strength that is more vital than the first two is the national will. The will to recognize and defend our own national interest. A clear vision and strength of purpose stated in a manner easily understood by the world, friends and foes alike. The most dangerous condition for our nation, our friends, and our enemies occurs when our enemies believe we are weak and unsure in our resolve. An example is when in the spring of 1950 the Truman Administration declared South Korea to be outside the interest of the United States. Then on June 25, 1950, the North Korean communist invaded South Korea. The cost of this blunder can’t be calculated, but consider this, in the war itself there were 54,246 Americans killed, 103,284 wounded, and 5,178 missing or prisoners. There was also over one million South Korean civilians killed. And if we had a true count of both civilian and military dead in North Korea and Communist China that figure may reach three million. This forgotten war didn’t end in victory only an unease truce. With no victory and no permanent peace plan, we have been in South Korea for over 61 years.
 
To prevent such miscalculations by our enemies, both nation states and their terrorist puppets, we must have a new “Monroe Doctrine” so to speak. A very clear and well-worded statement telling the world, friend and foe, what to expect as a response from the United States. Aggression, let it be known, in case of an attack on our citizens, civilian or military, anywhere in the world, we will respond with sure purpose and the most overpowering of force. Our response will be not only to pursue the terrorist themselves but to hold the nation states that promote, finance, and shelter these criminals accountable with force and destruction.
 
All nations must know we will not tolerate those who make war on the United States.

Peace through strength.

Peace through national resolve. 

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