Things aren’t usually very black and white when it comes to politics. Then again, we’re not in a time when conventional wisdom offers the right answers. The Islamic State is at war with the United States and by the time the next President comes into office, we’ll need that person to be a wartime President. Ted Cruz is best suited for that job.
The last two Presidents who presided during times of war were Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. For Reagan, it was the Cold War which America won with distinction and honor. For Bush, it was the Iraq/Afghanistan wars which offered battlefield victories but are proving to have been less successful than we though with every passing day.
There are distinct similarities in both policy and doctrine between Reagan and Cruz. This is obvious. What is less obvious until you look closely enough is that the other President at a time of war, Bush, is extremely similar in policy and philosophy as Marco Rubio. Both are “nation builders” who believe in intervention first, solutions possibly second (or third, or never) when it comes to foreign relations. Rubio is positioning himself as a hawk in the mold of Bush and that should terrify every American.
On the other extreme is Rand Paul who believes in isolationism. While this policy would have been great in the years that followed 9/11, there is now a threat that is more direct than anything we’ve faced since the Cold War. The Islamic State is challenging us and the rest of the world. They have no true borders to distinguish, no embassy with which to negotiate, and no goals other than the destruction of the United States and anyone else who stands in the way of their caliphate. This is why Paul was absolutely correct about Iraq and absolutely incorrect about the current geopolitical structure.
This is where Ted Cruz comes in, right smack dab in the middle. People often forget that Reagan, while strong in speech and action, was very reserved in his use of force. His biggest invasion was Granada, but he didn’t need to flex American troop muscles to establish true strength. Cruz is cut from the same mold, which is why his plans of massive air support, training, end equipping of Kurdish Peshmerga is by far the most logical and Reaganesque approach to annihilating the Islamic State.
The arming of “Sunni’s in the region” that Rubio espouses is as dangerous if not more dangerous than anything Bush or Bill Clinton ever did with their nation building techniques. The thing that Americans must realize is that the Islamic State is as Sunni as it gets which is why the failed supplying of Syrian rebels yielded handovers of American weapons and equipment to the Islamic State as the rebels defected.
This would never happen with Peshmerga. Keep in mind that they are the most feared forces to the Islamic State. They are not in a position of compromise. They do not share the same ideologies the way that many Sunni’s in the region share with radical Islamists. They want to rid the Middle East of the Islamic State and then they want to go home to their families. If ever there was a group that could be truly classified as “moderate Muslims” it would be Peshmerga. Unfortunately, the Obama administration sees this as a two front war with Bashar al-Assad’s regime on the other side which is why they’ve avoided working with Peshmerga in favor of Syrian rebels.
Rubio is a talented politician, but he’s not what the country needs right now. Perhaps he’ll be ready in eight years, but right now the country needs someone of stalwart principles and a path to victory domestic and abroad. That person is Ted Cruz.