Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman . . . Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . Reagan’s Vision Lives
E-Mail Message 130820
A Republic, If You Can Keep It!
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
August 20, 2013
When Benjamin Franklin exited the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer: “A republic, if you can keep it.” This is still our challenge today, since many seem uninformed of critical differences between a republic and a democratic government, which historically has eventually failed nations that adopted it—as we just witnessed in Egypt. To preserve our way of life, we must return to the views of our founders, and shore up all three legs of Ronald Reagan’s stool—economic conservatives, social issue conservatives and foreign policy/defense conservatives. All three legs need help, especially our defenses because existential threats are more eminent than most realize.
An often told story is that when Benjamin Franklin exited the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
The brevity of that response should not under-value its implicit warning, especially today: Democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the governed, they are also absolutely dependent upon continued active and informed involvement of the people for continued good health. And many Americans believe that our republic is currently at risk from internal and external threats, while a growing number seem to chase perceived free lunches.
Reagan’s Three Legged Stool.
Thankfully, many believe our economic viability is challenged by potential collective national bankruptcy, and surely we must get our runaway deficit spending under control. Also, a not entirely unrelated threat is our collective deteriorating morality, especially as reflected in the shrinking role of traditional family values and respect for human life. As John Adams observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” These matters of grave concern deserve our focused attention as well as countervailing informed leadership from our elected officials.
Also, and at least as important, is the third leg of the three-legged stool Ronald Reagan so often said underpinned our conservative movement—a strong foreign policy and national defense. Without all three legs, the stool is unstable and serves little useful greater purpose than that of a pogo stick. As Matt Barber recently noted, the three legs are held together by a seat—where Americans can rest steady—composed of those certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness granted by our creator, addressed in the Declaration of Independence and enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. The government was to work for “We the people” not the other way around.
Those founding documents reflect the founders’ distrust of government—any government. So they fashioned a republic with divided powers among the three branches, not a democracy as many incorrectly claim is our form of government. My generation learned the difference in 6th grade civics—it’s not clear to me that our schools even teach the subject today. If they had such studies, they perhaps would also have learned that, historically, democracy fails when the majority can vote themselves largess stolen from the minority. Regrettably, we seem to be on that track.
Similarly, it can fail if it ignores one or more legs of Reagan’s stool in favor of the other(s).
Our shortcomings in dealing with all three legs are deeply troubling—and we need to shore-up all three. But frankly, I am concerned that our conservative movement is discounting foreign policy/defense in favor of the other two legs, and we are courting mortal peril out of collective ignorance or the neglect of “We the people.”
Arab Spring Failures Illustrate Democracy Flaws.
There was widespread applause for the so-called “Arab Spring” that began in December 2010 in Tunisia and allegedly was supposed to advance the cause of democracy and reform the Middle East in the wake of removing despotic leaders. This was a triumph of naivety rather than what we should expect of informed leadership, including our elite political class and its sheepish media amplifiers. Alas, they refuse to identify the mortal threat posed by dedicated Jihadists who seek martyrdom to destroy all we treasure, and they label those who try to raise concerns as Islamophobes or worse.
Democracy is at most a means to an end for Jihadists—once they are voted to be in charge, expect them to seek supremacy, demanding submission of all who differ with their commitment to Sharia and to restoring Islam’s goal of a global Caliphate.
It should be clear that democracy does not necessarily lead to “Western values” as the naïve have hoped. You would think we would have learned that lesson in the 20th century from the election of Adolf Hitler who led the German people to lose their freedom and ultimately to the cost of over 50 million lives in the European portion of World War II. America slept through or ignored the prelude to that holocaust—as we may be doing again, unless we wake up.
Are we not seeing a replay in the recent events in Egypt? Mohammed Morsi won a narrow victory and quickly instituted a domineering regime. Morsi immediately began to underwrite the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood by purging the Egyptian government of those with moderate/liberal points-of-view and pressed for and achieved the passage by the Brotherhood-controlled Parliament of a constitution based on Sharia law—which has nothing to do with a form of government that is tolerant of other perspectives and points-of-view. It instituted an authoritarian, totalitarian, theocratic governing perspective—surely what the Brotherhood wanted, but not what moderate Egyptians sought. The democratic election was a means to an end—a theocratic purge by another name.
In one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, Christians, who make up 10 percent of 90-million Egyptians, have long suffered from discrimination and violence from the Muslim majority. Some have argued that the recent attacks on that community began with the recent military coup—and is blamed on those seeking to replace Morsi’s government and his theocratic constitution with one that would institute a more tolerant regime. Not true.
As Hamza Hendawi observed in a recent AP story (e.g., in Saturday’s Denver Post), “Attacks increased after the Islamists rose to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove Hosni Mubarak from power, emboldening extremists. But Christians have come under further fire since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted on July 3, sparking a wave of Islamist anger led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt’s military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi’s reinstatement, killing scores of protesters and sparking deadly clashes nationwide.”
And now, as discussed by Nancy A Youssef and Amina Ismail, in an August 17th McClatchy news article, over a thousand have died in the conflict between Morsi backers and not only the military, but “moderate” Egyptians who oppose Morsi. They consider that Morsi gained his short rule by a de facto coup by political means as much as his removal was a coup by military means. They want to try again via another election . . . which is also the objective of others. And now our congress will be debating whether to continue aid to Egypt given the above complexities and the fact of Egypt’s important role in the Middle East and in the traffic through the Suez Canal, which is important to U.S. interests. Sort of whistling by the graveyard, in my opinion.
What can we expect, given the inconsistent role played by the U.S. in recent events involving Egypt? As noted last night on Fox Business News by KT McFarland—“We were for Mubarak before we were against him (reportedly soon to be released from prison, by the way); we were for Morsi before we were against him; and we were for General El-Sisi before we were against him.” And the aid we are debating about withholding from Egypt is small potatoes as compared to the order-of-magnitude larger aid pledged to General El-Sisi by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates—to do battle with the Muslim Brotherhood. Aren’t we against the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other Jihadists groups?
By the way, where is Russia in all of this?
Please remind me, “What side are we on?” The “Foreign Policy Leg” of Reagan’s stool is not looking good so far as things go in the Middle East. Who knows what our policy is? Perhaps, to quote a former President, that depends on the definition of what “is” is.
Stay tuned. A key question is whether the “secular military” can prevent a repeat in Egypt of the 1979 Iranian revolution that threw out the Shah and replaced him with the Ayatollah Khomeini establishing the Islamic regime that we still confront, and which vows to destroy Israel and the United States. And Iran is clearly developing the means to achieve that objective, possibly creating an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could kill several hundred million Americans, as we have written in a number of our previous email reports—see our webpage www.highfrontier.org. These reports also summarize measures that we can take, if we intend to counter this existential threat.
High Frontier Plans.
We at High Frontier will continue to inform the powers that be of existential threats to the American people—as we have discussed in our emails for many months—and to urge them to “provide for the common defense” as charged by the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. Hopefully, key federal authorities and members of congress will soon begin to deal more effectively with this existential threat. Key initiatives are to undertake both the Shield Act and efforts to enhance our ballistic missile defenses, especially for our citizens on the East Coast and around the Gulf of Mexico, where they are completely vulnerable to ballistic missiles launched from vessels in the Gulf—or from Latin America, e.g., Venezuela.
But frankly, we have come to doubt that Washington will act in an expeditious way. Thus, we are also taking the message to grass roots America. Our local and state authorities need to understand these issues and what they might do if their federal representatives continue to fail “to provide for the common defense.” It would be wise for them to follow Maine’s initiative and harden the electric power grid in their states, while holding the Washington authorities accountable for their oath to provide for the common defense.
And what can you do?
Join us at High Frontier in seeking to alert the public and your local and state authorities to the existential threats posed by both man-made and natural EMP events—and what can be done about these threats.
We can use your help in spreading this information to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do. Will you do your part?
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter!