Weekly Columns

The federal government’s number one responsibility is to protect the American people.  

As the end of the Obama Administration approaches, the American people still do not feel, with any degree of confidence, that Washington is taking the proper steps to to uphold that responsibility. 

ISIS has butchered and slaughtered its way to power across large portions of Iraq, Syria and Libya and its terrorist sympathizers have carried out deadly attacks in Western cities. 

Iran, now free of nuclear-related sanctions—one of the many disastrous results of the deal the Obama Administration negotiated—is now flush with resources to build its arsenal and fund terror across the region. 

Russia is expanding through force, annexing smaller neighboring countries and has now injected its military into the Syrian conflict, going all-in to back Syrian President Bashar Assad, creating a frightening new dynamic that threatens to drag even more nations into chaos.  

While President Obama has misjudged the threats posed by ISIS, Iran and Russia, he flat-out ignored those posed by North Korea. 

The recent posturing by North Korea is the direct result of a rogue state feeling emboldened by the misguided approach of the Obama foreign policy doctrine. 

The North Koreans witnessed how President Obama simply rolled over for the Iranians and conceded to every demand from that regime to secure a weak deal that granted Iran full and immediate sanction relief.  

So how does Kim Jung-un respond? 

By violating a number of United Nations mandates and by expanding a uranium enrichment facility, restarting a plutonium reactor and testing long-range rocket capability. 

National Intelligence Director, James R. Clapper, recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea had expanded its production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel. 

According to the New York Times, Clapper says the Obama Administration now regards the regime in Pyongyang as “the world’s most worrisome nuclear threat.” 

Congress is taking the proactive approach to stopping the North Korean threat that the Obama Administration should have taken in the first place. The Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill to mandate sanctions on North Korea sends a strong message to the dictators of the world—there is going to be a price to pay if you act out in this recklessly aggressive manner. 

The bill gives authority to the President to mandate sanctions for anyone who can be tied to the following activities in North Korea: arms trade, development of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery, procurement of luxury goods, censorship, money laundering and counterfeiting. 

The President will also have the authority to levy, as appropriate, new sanctions related to nuclear proliferation, human rights abuses, illicit activities and significant activities undermining cybersecurity. 

The bill has cleared Congress and is headed to the President to be signed into law. 

This should serve as a message to the international community that we are not going to repeat the mistakes this Administration has made in the past. Support for Kim Jung-un’s regime will carry a heavy price tag. 

While diplomacy must be exhausted in every situation, it must be backed with strength. This element has been absent in the Obama Administration’s foreign policy.

We cannot continue to play games with rogue nations. We cannot say the resolution to every crisis means that bad actors walk away stronger than they were before. 

It is time for America to lead again.