It was a banner week for Republicans and Democrats who came together in solidarity – with the Senate overwhelmingly approving the inclusion of Sweden and Finland in NATO. This follows Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, where Republicans also locked arms with their Democratic counterparts in a rare sign of near-universal agreement.

It’s a shame we can’t get the same kind of cooperation on national issues, but I guess we should take bipartisanship where we can get it. However, one senator opposed the platoon, voting no; Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. (Technically two, if you count Senator Rand Paul’s “present” vote.)

There must always be one that moves the boat; in this case, Senator Hawley voluntarily accepted this role. Is he going against the grain to keep his name relevant for a possible presidential race, or does he think we should perhaps focus our efforts elsewhere?

Containment versus expansion

Senator Hawley argues with his no that we should focus on who he believes is our most significant national security threat: China. Instead of increasing resources in the European region, he argues that we should focus on containing China in the Pacific.

In a grandstand, Senator Hawley exposes the reasoning behind his no, summarizing:

“NATO expansion would almost certainly mean more US forces in Europe in the long run.”

A supporter of what former President Trump embraced, Hawley believes other countries should shoulder their fair share of the brunt to ensure global stability. As Mr. Hawley continues establish:

“Until our European allies make the necessary commitments for their own national defense, we must not put more American lives at risk in Europe while allowing China’s power to grow unchecked.”

It is fair to note that while Russia continues its campaign to envelop Ukraine and push further west, China has been building up its capabilities. What is Mr. Hawley so concerned about?

Let’s take a quick trip to the other side of the globe to see what he is referring to.

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The enemy in our backyard

President Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan has drawn the ire of China, and there is no doubt that the Chinese have recently live fire exercises in response are a sign of things to come. The question is when will their aggression reach a tipping point?

China has been trying to undermine our efforts for a long time, and more secretly than we have seen in the past. For example, recently I reported how China gobbled up land right here in the United States near strategic military installations.

In 2019, the Department of Agriculture reported that China purchased more than 192,000 acres of US farmland. Coupled with their attempts to infiltrate our institutions of higher learning and their build-up of military capabilities, it could be said that we have been in a soft war with China for many years. But, unfortunately, we don’t seem to be winning.

Speaking of winners and losers, a recent war game that pitted the United States against China in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan has locked us into a protracted war at best and a nuclear engagement at worst with the Asian superpower.

Mr. Hawley talks about it in his editorial when he writes:

“…more than three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the geopolitical landscape is different. Russia is still a threat, but the Chinese Communist Party is a much bigger one.

However, the counter-argument is that NATO enlargement shows strength to both Russia and China.

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A good question

The overwhelming support from Republicans was a victory for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Senator McConnell says of the vote:

“There is no doubt that the admission of these robust democratic countries with modern economies and capable, interoperable militaries will only strengthen the most successful military alliance in human history.”

Both countries are already participating in NATO missions, and Finland is meeting the low spending target of 2% of GDP for defense needs. Mr McConnell goes on to argue:

“Even closer cooperation with these partners will help us counter Russia and China. Their membership will make NATO stronger and America more secure.

It’s hard to see in any tangible way that adding Sweden and Finland will thwart China. And Russia is not too happy about the idea, saying in June that if the two countries joined NATO, they would position nuclear weapons along their northwest border.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton says of the vote:

“The real question today is whether adding two capable and strong nations to our mutual defense pact will make us stronger or weaker.”

That’s an excellent question, Mr. Cotton.

Writing checks our military can’t cash

I sometimes receive criticism for my position on foreign policy. But, as a military woman who has spent 20 years in uniform, I believe in strong, lethal defense.

I have no love for communists or oppressors, and I think we should always show strength against our adversaries, especially Russia and China. The problem is that we are in no way ready to go to war with China, let alone China. and Russia.

Let me list the reasons why:

It must not be forgotten Joint Base Langley-Eustis the recent “Summer Festival of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”, which I’m sure sent shivers down our spines from our Chinese and Russian counterparts.

I agree with Mr. Hawley in part when he ends his op-ed on the changing geopolitical landscape of 70 years ago with:

“…a truly strategic American foreign policy – ​​a policy that looks to the strategic interests of this nation now, rather than the world of years ago – must embrace this reality and prepare for it.”

Hopefully, we’ll soon start preparing for what’s inevitably around the corner. Otherwise, we risk being overstretched with promises we cannot keep.

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