Frank Gaffney: Pearl Harbor an Object Lesson in Practicing Ronald Reagan’s ‘Peace Through Strength’
Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined SiriusXM host Matt Boyle on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to reflect on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
“As with you, Matt, my thoughts go out to all those who suffered, whose lives were upended, in some cases, actually terminated, on this terrible day 75 years ago – and the many, many millions of others who, in the period shortly before that and subsequent to it, perished in the course of World War II,” said Gaffney. “It was really the most horrific conflagration in human history.”
“Besides that, my thoughts are: Pearl Harbor was really an object lesson in the imperative of America practicing what my old boss Ronald Reagan used to call ‘peace through strength,’” he continued.
He said Imperial Japan was “calculating that a country that had gone to such lengths to really dismantle its military capabilities – many of them built for the purpose of pursuing World War I – that had allowed the hollowing-out of their military” wouldn’t put up much of a fight.
“It was notoriously known that our troops were training with broomsticks because they didn’t have actual weapons to exercise with,” Gaffney recalled. “And not least, we had very, very narrowly, I think by a one-vote margin, actually, succeeded in passing the draft through Congress. The sentiment against war, and against military expenditures, and involvement in what was already beginning then to unfold in Europe and in Asia, was so intense.”
“They read that as weakness, as irresolution, as essentially an opportunity to assert themselves and obtain the resources that they desperately needed to build the Empire of Japan. We shouldn’t ever lose sight of that horrible lesson from history. I fear under Barack Obama, we largely have. There are other rivals, including two Asian powers today – Communist China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia – that I fear are making similar calculations, and perhaps with similar designs on our interests and equities, as well,” Gaffney warned.
Boyle asked for Gaffney’s take on Donald Trump’s telephone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, which has roiled the U.S. media and diplomatic establishment.
“Two points: One, the old line from the very founding of this Republic, ‘the shot heard round the world,’” Gaffney replied. “This was the shot across the bow heard round the world. I think we were, in the form of this conversation Donald Trump had with the President of Taiwan, signaling unmistakably to the Communist Chinese, who endlessly threaten Taiwan and insist they’re going to take it back by force at some point: ‘Don’t even think about it. America’s back.’ I think that was a very important signal.”
“The second thing is that I’m reminded of nothing so much as the hysteria that was the response of the political elites, here and elsewhere around the world, to Ronald Reagan announcing that he thought it would be better to send American’s lives than avenge them, and set off on the idea of exploring a missile defense,” Gaffney continued. “Which was – again, like having relations with 24 million people living on Taiwan – considered to be an apostasy against arms control and the anti-ballistic missile treaty with the Soviet Union. In fact, it was a brilliant move by Ronald Reagan. I believe it was an enormously important step towards taking down the Soviets without firing a shot.”
“My hope is that this will be part of a larger strategy by the President-elect, when in office, to create conditions under which the Chinese, as well, cease to be the sort of threat to us, to our interests, to our allies in the region, that they clearly are bent on becoming,” he said.
Gaffney said Trump’s nomination of retired Marine General James Mattis for secretary of defense “continues a pattern the President-elect set so far, of serious, thoughtful, clearly extraordinarily capable people – in fact, patriots – who have the ability to make major course corrections in their respective areas of responsibility, something the President-elect is clearly committed to.”
“He ran on it, and nowhere arguably as importantly as with respect to the national security. He explicitly said – as you know so well, Matt – he committed himself to restoring our practice of peace through strength,” he recalled. “As I said at the beginning, I think that’s essential. I hope we’ll see that in his selections in the State Department, and at the Department of Homeland Security.”
“I’ve got candidates. I don’t know if they’re his or not. They’re on his list. I very much hope he’ll take people that have calibrated properly the enemies we face – in particular, not exclusively, but in particular, this global jihad movement, and understand that we need to fight, as he will have them swear to do, ‘all enemies foreign and domestic.’ Because there is a very important element of that, as you know, with respect to these Islamic supremacists right here at home,” Gaffney said.
He said there was one thing Trump could do on his first day in office that would make a huge difference: “Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.”
“The second thing that I would argue he should begin doing on Day One, which will take a little while to effect, but he needs to get started on: you know, he’s talked a lot over the course of the campaign, and since he was elected, about his commitment to improving the infrastructure of our country,” Gaffney continued. “And as you know, Matt, the single most critical part of our critical infrastructure is our electric grid. As he rebuilds that electric grid to protect it against enemies foreign and domestic, and indeed against naturally occurring phenomena, he needs to build into it resiliency.”
“I think he gets that. I’ve talked with members of his family who clearly get it. I believe the people surrounding him get it. This is a just absolutely indispensable step to protect us against electromagnetic pulse, cyber attacks, physical sabotage, and solar storms. If we get that done, that will be the single-most important thing I think we need to do,” he urged.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.