Gautama Buddha gave the world what is known as the four (4) Verities. One of the four verities proclaims that “to live is to suffer.”
The Buddha was not the only one to speak about the pain and suffering that we experience in life. Job exclaimed that
Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not (Job 14.1-2 King James Version).
Right now, much of the world is experiencing “pain,” “suffering,” and “trouble” on an unprecedented scale.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning the United States not to interfere with what Russia is doing in the Ukraine and Crimea. Mr. Putin desires to return Russia to the dominance that she enjoyed before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1988 through 1991 timeframe.
Mr. Putin carries on in a bombastic way not seen since Nikita Khrushchev was stomping his shoe at The United Nations in 1960.
Furthermore, the Islamic States of Iran and Syria (ISIS) are determined to fill in the gap left by the destruction of the Taliban after President Barack Obama ordered the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. It appears that ISIS is targeting Western nations for recruitment into their evil regime.
The events on the world scene are enough to produce consternation and clinical depression on a large-scale not witnessed since the Second World War.
What should the President of the United States and Congress do in the face of such intractable international problems?
Perhaps a look at how past American governments handled problems may provide a look into how to deal with current foreign terrorist mischief.
In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, President Harry Truman realized that while Hitler was defeated and deposed that the Soviet Union was rushing in to fill the void left by Hitler’s demise. In 1946, Sir Winston Churchill remarked that there appeared to be “an Iron Curtain” descending upon Eastern Europe.
President Truman responded with bold initiatives: he ordered a Berlin Airlift (1947) to feed Germany when Russia (the Soviet Union) sought to close off Germany from the outside world; Mr. Truman signed Executive Orders creating the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA in 1947) so that the United States could instigate the creation of essential military and foreign intelligence gathering; and in 1949, President Truman worked with the free world to develop the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO – 1949) to fight and thwart Soviet aggression.
Truman’s accomplishments in the world theater were breathtaking – and more importantly they set the stage for us to meet, thwart, and defeat Communist aggression throughout the globe.
Throughout the “Cold War” Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan remained vigilant in standing firm against Communist aggression as they all stayed true to the international instruments that were established by President Truman in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Truman’s successors augmented his early programs with their own bold initiatives:
- Dwight D. Eisenhower negotiated the end of the Korean War (1950-53) and he adopted the strategy of “Massive Retaliation / Co-Existence” with regards to dealing with Soviet Aggression
- John F. Kennedy stood tall during the Cuban Missile Crisis that led the globe to the brink of Nuclear War (1962); and Mr. Kennedy pursued a new strategy known as “flexible response”
- President Lyndon Johnson feared that the “domino theory” might be accurate so he sent troops, armaments and American advisors to help South Vietnam resist North Vietnamese Communist attack
- Richard Nixon pursued an open door policy with China and maintained a strong United States International presence with his commitment to fight Soviet tyranny whenever the Strategic and Vital interests of the United States and Western Europe clashed with Russia (Soviet Union).
The essential question today is “what measures are President Obama and our current leaders of Congress prepared to take in order to meet and stop the current worldwide terrorist threats that seek to destroy our freedoms?”
Will President Obama and Speaker Boehner work together and fight against “terrorist aggression” or will they hold on to their partisan politics – fiddling on the roof a.k.a. Nero style – while the United States and Europe burn to the ground?
On the eve of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain, the great American statesman Benjamin Franklin proclaimed to his fellow revolutionaries that “we will either hang together or we will hang separately.”
Let us hope and pray that President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – and the plenary session of Congress heed and act upon this sage advice of Mr. Franklin that is still applicable to the threats in the world that we face some 238 years later.