Winston Churchill once said, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour!’”
Churchill delivered these remarks at a time of great uncertainty and apparent danger to the United States, the United Kingdom, and other freedom-loving democracies. He delivered a passionate plea to his people in the face of immense risk to rally them around a cause he knew to be noble and just.
Today, however, this type of courageous leadership by statesmen is missing.
Over the past several years, the world has operated in a leadership vacuum as a result of a feckless foreign policy on behalf of the Obama Administration. We’ve watched as the administration has taken a hands-off approach and bought into the narrative that the world is a safer place. The facts simply do not support that conclusion and America cannot afford to take that risk. As the Washington Post Editorial Board — hardly a frequent critic of the President — recently stated, “President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality.”
Escalating tensions in Eastern Europe, the continued enrichment of uranium by rogue states like Iran and North Korea, a civil war that has killed over 100,000 in Syria and tested the veracity of the President’s so-called “red line,” the splintering of core Al-Qaeda into regional affiliates that have become increasingly radicalized, a terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi which led to the murder of four brave Americans including our Ambassador, escalation of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continued efforts of rising economies to expand their military capabilities and push out their boundaries leave little doubt that America and her allies around the world continue to face dangerous times.
The events of the past several weeks are the direct culmination of President Obama’s failed management of global affairs that has continuously undermined our allies and emboldened our enemies.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a clear breach of international law and completely unacceptable. The United States must take swift action to provide financial support for Ukraine to bolster their economy and transitional government against the punitive actions by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Furthermore, the U.S. should send a clear message to Putin that his brazen violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty will be met with a strong response from the West that will cripple their economy and diminish their standing in the world.
The credibility of America’s leadership is on the line. While no one is beating the drums of war and advocating that President Obama send in the Marines, he must use the tools at his disposal and act swiftly and decisively to reassert American power and raise the pressure on Vladimir Putin.
Make no mistake, the United States is still the greatest country on Earth and the world’s leading superpower. But, if we do fail to show strength, then similar actions by Iran, Russia, and other authoritarian regimes around the globe will only spread and our allies will continue to question our commitment to being the world’s leading force for peace and stability. At that point, it will hardly be our finest hour.
Richard Hudson represents North Carolina’s 8th congressional district, which includes all of Scotland County.