Allen West Old School Patriot Donald Trump Vladimir Putin Helsinki

‘We Have Met the Enemy . . .’

In Foreign Policy, News, World News by Allen West4 Comments

Yes, the Helsinki Summit hysteria continues, and it probably will for the rest of the week. The episode reminds me of two sayings, one historical and the other cynical. The original and historic maxim of “we have met the enemy and they are ours” was communicated by American Naval Commander Oliver Hazard Perry after his defeat of the British Royal Navy in 1813 during the Battle of Lake Erie. Then, Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo had a variation on that historical saying: “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

In retrospect, those two sayings can easily define the Helsinki summit.

First of all, it truly concerns me that we have drawn such narrow partisan confines that any objective discussion, discourse, is abjectly rejected. It is as if we cannot see the proverbial forest for the distraction of the trees. Yes, we all would like to see peace, and better relations with belligerent nations, and leaders, such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. However, peace must be attained from a position of strength, and moral courage. Pursuing peace is a just and noble endeavor. However, it is not a “political risk” to confront bad behavior as you seek to attain peace. It is disconcerting, to say the least, if we believe that bad behavior responds to an attitude of acquiescence.

Pursuing peace is a just and noble endeavor. However, it is not a 'political risk' to confront bad behavior as you seek to attain peace. Click To Tweet

Frame it as you wish, Vladimir Putin is a foe, adversary, opposition, and yes, a geo-political enemy. He is also a very skilled, and adept, deceiver and manipulator, and a former KGB officer. We met Vladimir Putin on a grand global stage, where the entire world was watching. No, we did not need an over-the-top emotional rant, but what President Trump should have pursued was a declarative public affirmation of the incessant bad behavior of Putin, including his interference in our 2016 elections. Admitting to that attempt by Putin, and the Kremlin, is not admitting to any absurd partisan claim of “collusion.” We cannot move forward to having a repaired relationship with Russia until we publicly express to the world the illicit actions and behaviors in Putin’s leadership.

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I am sure many of you are aware of Pavlov’s experiment. This is truly a Pavlovian experiment. If you do not confront and call out bad behavior, well, you should expect to get more of it. Yes, I wish I knew what happened in the one-on-one, closed-door, two-hour meeting with President Putin — with no notes — but none of us do. What we do know is what happened during the joint press conference.

President Trump met the enemy, and he should have been ours.

Instead, what is happening is that President Trump met the enemy, and we see it is us. The manic craziness is repulsive. But this is what happens when there is no clarity. Sadly, the domestic political opposition gets to decide, and define, the situation and its outcomes. We all need to hear how the Trump administration is going to challenge Putin, and his expansionist designs. We need to know what the consequences, and ramifications, will be of Putin’s continued bad behavior. This is not about stoking the fires of a Cold War II, as I would assert that we are there anyhow, thanks to Putin.

We all need to be on the same sheet of music when it comes to our enemies, and adversaries, and that is the job of President Trump. Yes, we should be tough on our allies, getting them to stand up stronger, but that is positive encouragement. We cannot embrace that same possibility with Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea when we have not seen any change in their obtuse manner, or actions.

Guess what? President Trump saw ISIS as an enemy, a threat, and he did what was necessary to define them to us . . . and unleashed our military power to defeat them. We do not need a circular firing squad in America. We need to meet the enemy, and make them ours.

Photo credit: Kremlin.ru

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During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.

In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.

He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom. His forthcoming book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, is due fall 2018 from Brown Books Publishing Group.