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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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May 14, 2014 - 6:44 pm

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee warned that dangerous non-interventionism has taken root in segments of both the right and the left, saying he intends to focus on spreading an “articulate, dogged, national message” against isolationism when he leaves Congress at the end of this term.

Seven-term Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a former FBI agent, announced at the end of March that he would leave office at the conclusion of the 113th Congress to focus on a broadcasting career.

Rogers began a summer speaking series this week speaking to the Business Executives for National Security in Washington, which gave the chairman its Eisenhower Award.

He noted that when Dwight D. Eisenhower first ran for president in 1952, he squared off against an isolationist Republican in a primary – Senator Robert Taft from Ohio, son of President William Howard Taft.

“Senator Taft opposed U.S. entry into World War II right up until we lost 2,000 Americans at Pearl Harbor. Taft opposed the creation of NATO because he thought it was too provocative towards the Soviet Union. And Taft opposed the Nuremburg Trials because he saw it as being fundamentally unfair and biased towards the Germans. Taft did not see Stalin’s Soviet Union as a threat to the United States in the 1950s,” Rogers said. “Thankfully, the wisdom of Republican primary voters saw in Eisenhower that a strong American national security policy brings the strong economy and stability we all seek.”

“Some of this sound familiar to what you are seeing in certain segments of the two political parties in America today?”

Rogers said he worries “that the lessons of engagement overseas are being lost after difficult challenges from Iraq and Afghanistan weigh on the mind.”

“A strange confluence occurs where the views of those who naively believe murderous dictators will behave differently if we behave differently merges with those who are frustrated with events overseas. This group simply believes if we mind our own business, the world’s problems will not follow us home, and others will have to sort it out for themselves,” he said.

“Unfortunately for humanity, history has shown that to be simply not true. That is not what happens in an interconnected world in the year 2014, or when you are the world’s lone superpower.”

The chairman stressed that “just as neglect from Germany’s aggressions in the 1930s did not serve American interests, recent history demonstrates what happens when we try to disengage or cede our leadership responsibilities to others.”

“In Egypt we were late to the game and not clear in our policy…We got a Muslim Brotherhood-led nation that pulled back counterterrorism operations in the Sinai peninsula, impacting Israel’s security and increasing threats to Western targets in Europe,” he said.

“In Syria we have tried to wage a war fought with fighter jets, Scud missiles and chemical weapons by the soulless, criminal Assad regime largely by issuing speeches from Washington, DC. The most powerful nation on earth has stood by and taken little action as more than 150,000 people have been slaughtered, families are hit indiscriminately with Scud missiles, and even as there are reports of a school being hit with a barrel bomb crudely configured with toxic chlorine gas. That attack killed 25 kids while they were learning at their desks. I believe that America’s lack of resolve in the face of this inhuman cruelty in Syria is a stain on our moral character that may take decades to wash off and will embolden dictators like Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and the mullahs in Tehran.”

Rogers said that after the conflict is Syria is over, “the jihadists training in Syria today will look to a new target. And their favorite target is always the U.S. or Western interests.”

He called the lack of American leadership in responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “most troublesome.”

Rogers went to Ukraine to meet with military and intelligence officials after “the Russians invaded, occupied and then stole Crimea from their neighbor.”

“They weren’t asking for tanks or planes to fight the Russian army. They were asking for some basic intelligence and for food. After weeks, the most powerful military of the most powerful nation on earth had not been able to deliver the Ukrainians meals ready to eat (MREs). And while we were there, the White House told our American diplomats to stop asking for intelligence sharing as it wasn’t going to be approved. Yet another nation was left disappointed in the promise of America,” he said.

“Later, we met with a new Ukrainian government minister who weeks earlier was protesting in the streets of Kiev against the corruption of the Yanukovych government. He was kidnapped by Russians, had his ear cut off and was crucified against the wall until he agreed to record a video saying the protests in Kiev were sponsored by the Americans. When we met him, he teared up and apologized to us for recording the video. I was embarrassed as he was apologizing to us,” Rogers added.

“This is the Russia we are dealing with today. This is how KGB-trained Vladimir Putin and his thugs in power operate.  It doesn’t matter if we wish the world was not this way. It is. And to make foreign policy based on a world that doesn’t exist is dangerous.”

Rogers said it’s critical to “work against an American withdrawal from the world and against an isolationism that has never served us well.”

“That Ukrainian minister who was protesting in the streets of Kiev, getting beaten and shot at by Russian-sponsored goons was looking out to the distance for any signs of that shining city on a hill, any signs of real help from the United States. Unfortunately, he has barely seen a flicker,” he said, adding that he plans to use his new broadcasting platform “to talk about the importance of national security to normal Americans in their cars, their kitchens, and while they are at work, every single day.”

“I believe national leadership has been missing on this issue for years now and my intention is to try to do something about it. I believe to my core that an articulate, dogged, national message against the temptations of isolationism is essential to the future prosperity of the United States of America.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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Rogers, McCain, Graham and Kinzinger: the all war all the time cabal. What was gained in Iraq for the American people? What is gained in Afghanistan for the American people? What would be gained by intervention in Syria for the American people? What would be gained by intervention in Ukraine for the American people?
Rogers, McCain, Graham and Kinzinger think they're elected to protect the interests of the billions of people across the planet - of course, with our money and our sons and daughters. They are intoxicated with their utopian zealotry. Legitimate self-defense and a strong, unsurpassed and unassailable military, which I support, is not the same as crashing about the world as its liberator and enforcer. Rogers is living in a mid-twentieth century time warp. The American people want real security - not phony foreign wars.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Such matters require a judgement call on a case by case basis. That's why we have leaders. That's why we miss having real leaders.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The idea that we have to go in with all of our assets is not interventionism. It is stupidity. Troops should be used only when national security is at risk. Short of that there is financial support, arms, intelligence and training. And only where our interests are truly involved. It's a queer thing that within a span of three years we go from supplying Saddam's weapons to using them on him. This was the first Bush's war. Ten years later we're back to make over a madhouse? Who are the idiots? And then today, I read that Iran and Iraq are trading arms? Who's? Ours?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rogers' sentiments ring true. Until one considers that although he is in a unique position to influence US foreign policy as Chair of the Intelligence Committee, he is leaving the House to cash in as a radio talk show host, sitting outside the process throwing stones. One wonders if he ever took the job seriously or was just looking for the big paycheck. Is this what we've come to - the priorities, policies and legislation of our government is decided by radio talkers? Sorry Mike, don't let the door hit you. And I hope your talk radio gig fails. We need leaders, not unaccountable talkers.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Isolationism is always a political reality within at least a sizeable minority, both leftists who want to see America reduced in influence, and libertarians who want to pretend that we live in a world where we can ignore everything outside our border. But this is no clear cut question, with only two sides, as some would have it appear. The whole "isolationism or else invasion" is a false choice that only people trying to obscure the issues use. I am afraid that sometimes Mike Rogers has been guilty of that, along with all the usual "neocons".

The reality is that America must be engaged everywhere in the world where our national interests are at stake, in order to protect those interests. "Engaged" does not mean boots on the ground, or invasions. Being effectively engaged means many different things, particularly now that the entire planet is interconnected electronically and financially. We have many assets and tools and weapons to use besides American blood and guts.

"Engaged" also does not mean that we attempt to institute American ideals of government in places where it is not culturally defensible. The war in Iraq was useful in eliminating Saddam Hussein as a threat to the USA and the entire Middle East - but attempting to nation-build afterwards proved to be a huge costly error. We lost but a handful of soldiers taking out Saddam - the thousands killed and tens of thousands maimed were in pursuit of GWB's impossible dream of remaking Iraq.

There are going to be times when boots on the ground are necessary - but we have to be much smarter about when and how we do it, and never ever ever plan to "occupy" a hostile land again. It's just not worth the cost.

The problem with Barack Obama isn't that he's just incompetent - he actually wants to cut America down to size, along with Israel. Reducing American influence in the world is not a bug - it's a feature - of Obama's foreign "policy".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
What Rogers has forgotten is that back than this country was respected, and feared. In just over five years, under this administration our country has become the laughing stock of the world. This has been accomplished with the help of the House, Senate, and the Judiciary. Oh, by the way, on this Nigeria kidnapping, has anybody heard of the Leahy Amendment? Under that law it would be against the law to send troops there to fight for the release of those girls. Thank your liberal/progressive Senators for this travesty of justice.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
So Mike Rogers is enamored of Eisenhower and his understanding of being in engaged in the world to avoid isolationism. For a different reason, I am enamored of Eisenhower too. His "Operation Wetback" was a successful attempt to control the border. Ike knew we couldn't protect others' borders while letting or own guard down. At Mike Rogers' next speech, somebody should stridently remind him of this fact during any post-speech Question and Answer comment moment.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Was it really pro-Russian shooters, or was it a set up by the Nazis trying to run the Ukraine?

A majority of Ukraine wants to be part of Russia not the G-dless Europe with their New Age agenda. That's first hand info you will not hear on Faux news.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The morons won't even control the border or enforce current immigration law and yet this moron is concerned about increasing neo isolationism interfering with policing the world for transnational corporations more interested in appeasing enemies and stiffing allies. Well, it would help if these morons would win a war once in while. Wasn't the last win WW2? I suppose that minor detail is not important as long as senator and CEO son's are not doing the bleeding. I suppose the Balkans should count as a win when Kosovo was taken away from Serbia through war by Clinton and Madam Albright; sort of like, well, what Putin is now doing with the Ukraine, although he hasn't invaded yet and violated those sacred European borders. What goes around comes around. Oh the horror. Releasing thirty thousand illegal aliens and assorted baby rapers back on the streets sure doesn't win benny points with us provincial clodhoppers.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The part about not asking for tanks and airplanes but rather for food and intel is at least a qualified lie. I believe anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons were specifically asked for by Ukraine's current, unelected leaders and specifically rejected.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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