December 04, 2017

Evening in America?

Little peace, and our strength is ebbing: A report from the Reagan National Defense Forum.

By Jerry Hendrix

This past weekend marked the annual Reagan National Defense Forum, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. It was the first Forum since the Republicans took control of the White House and both houses of Congress. In the past, the Forum has facilitated vibrant discussion among leaders in the national-security community, and this year was no different. The panels and speakers included a bipartisan mix of administration, congressional, analytical, and retired military leaders. Virtually every panel offered a headline worthy of comment. Insights ranged from Representative Mike Gallagher’s allusion to Halford Mackinder’s early-20th-century World Island theory to General John Hyten’s new thought that there is no “war in space. There is only war, and space is one of the domains in which it will be fought.” 

One of the themes that emerged throughout the day was that there is very little peace in the world. Former secretary of defense and CIA director Leon Panetta observed that he had never seen so many flash points in the world at the same time. Various speakers called out Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and, more broadly, radical Islamic terrorism as threats to the peace and security of the United States. Retired General Jack Keane bluntly stated that China was trying to dominate its region without firing a shot, and Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, the current national-security adviser to President Trump, candidly called out North Korea, with its investments in intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads, as a clear and present danger to the United States.

Read the full commentary in National Review.

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