No superpower

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


JULY 20, 2015 -- We continue to lead our foreign policy with our military power. We keep fighting wars we can't win. The nuclear weapon has checkmated the use of military power. In the Korean War, when the Chinese spilled over the Yalu River, we retreated to the 38th Parallel instead of using the nuclear weapon. In the Vietnam War, we could have gone above Hanoi and taken Vietnam in two months instead of losing it in ten years but didn't because we were afraid China would come in. The U.S. proved in Korea and Vietnam that the nuclear weapon would only be used to protect the homeland. There is no longer any Superpower in the world. This leaves foreign policy to our economic power and diplomacy.

President Obama started diplomacy with Iran three years ago. Now Secretary of State John Kerry has fashioned a diplomatic agreement to delay Iran's activation of the nuclear weapon. Congress could kill the agreement but the United States would lose the world community against Iran. Sanctions alone by the United States won't work. But if Iran violates the agreement next week, we would have the world community with us. There is no alternative other than forcing Iran militarily. This leaves the United States with its economic power, its Good Neighbor Policy, its diplomacy.

The United States failed to meld three religions into a democracy in the Iraq War. After fourteen years of fighting, the United States has yet to win in Afghanistan. The one war that we could win is against ISIS. We could easily go in and clean up ISIS in both Syria and Iraq but Saudi Arabia is producing more ISIS than we can eliminate. The Saudi government teaches the young Saudi's in the ninth grade the Salafi or Wahhabi version of the Islam religion. The Salafi version of Islam is intolerant of other Muslims and teaches that Christians and Jews are infidels - ought to be eliminated - ought to be beheaded (Frontline 11/9/2001). ISIS is only practicing what they were taught in the ninth grade in Saudi Arabia. Of course we can't get Saudi Arabia to stop teaching religion, but we must obtain a commitment from the Saudi government not to teach violence against other religions. Once we get this commitment, the United States can clean up ISIS. Since we couldn't meld three religions into a democracy in the Iraq War, we certainly are not going to meld three religions into an army against ISIS.

Now Congress is set to not only kill diplomacy with Iran but also is eroding our economic strength that diplomacy depends upon. We gave President George W. Bush a balanced budget in 2001. But Bush cut taxes, started wars, added prescription drugs to Medicare, stimulated and bailed out - all without paying for them. President Bush increased the national debt $5 trillion in eight years. Now President Obama has increased the national debt $7 trillion in six years and, by the end of September, plans on borrowing another $455 billion. The Senate Budget Committee used to toil until two in the morning trying to cut spending or raise taxes $4 million to balance the budget - not $455 billion. The United States, the richest country in the world, continues to borrow a half trillion each year to keep the doors open. This must stop. It wrecks not only our economy but our foreign policy - our Good Neighbor Policy - our diplomacy.

Nuclear weapon or not, Iran is not going to destroy Israel. Iran knows that if it attempted to destroy Israel, the United States would destroy Iran.

Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2015, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives. Today, Hollings continues to be influential in public affairs and offers this website as a compendium of current and past positions on public issues. Learn more about Fritz Hollings.

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