Walker on War: No Limitations

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared on ABC’s This Week with Jonathan Karl Sunday to talk about his White House aspirations. Walker is among a handful of likely GOP candidates who have yet to officially declare, but it seems clear from the interview that the popular conservative has every intention of throwing his hat into the ring. And when he does so, he is going to come out swinging.

Walker told Karl that he would not rule out a re-invasion of Iraq if America’s national security depended on it. “It would not be limited to anything out there. Once we start saying how far we’re willing to go or how many troops we’re willing to invest, we send a horrible message, particularly to foes in the Middle East who are willing to wait us out.”

Walker made it clear that he was not advocating “open-ended, limitless engagements,” but Democrats are itching to pounce on his remarks to drum up fear among Americans who don’t want Iraq, Part III. Walker wants to invade Iraq! Republicans only want war! This kind of poisonous mischaracterization will always ring true with the MSNBC set. It will speak to those who believe, like President Obama, that by simply abstaining from war, we can force peace.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The United States cannot become Switzerland. We are a dominant economic and cultural force in the world, and nothing other than total collapse will change that. As that force, we cannot afford to embrace isolationism. Do we have to police the world? Perhaps not. But when we draw lines in the sand and declare promises about what we will and will not do, we only embolden those who would like to bring us down.

We need to get clear about what’s happening in Iraq and Syria. Obama’s airstrikes are keeping ISIS at bay, but they are not weakening them. Their dead are being replaced as quickly as we can kill them. Concerns over collateral damage prevent our pilots from destroying vital targets. This isn’t something we can just walk away from. ISIS can not simply be allowed to swallow the Middle East into its dangerous, violent caliphate.

A strong America invites peace. A strong America invites stability. Obama will leave the world a more dangerous place than it was when he took office. Diplomacy only works when there is resolve behind it. And it doesn’t work at all when the enemy is burning with religious fever.

“It would be a foolish approach to take,” Obama said in April, referencing Walker’s assertion that he would cancel the nuclear deal with Iran. “Perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.”

Perhaps. Or perhaps, when you look at the red line in Syria and the early withdrawal from Iraq and the deal with Iran and our frayed relationship with Israel, Obama doesn’t have a lot of room to talk. Walker, in refusing to rule anything out, seems to have it about right.

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