Vol. 50, No. 4

In this edition

by LOU ZICKAR As much as Americans may be frustrated with this year’s presidential election and the individuals who are seeking to lead our democracy, it may a good time to remember the individuals who are putting their lives on the line to defend it every day.

A Common Sense Step in the Fight Against Terrorism

If an individual can’t board a plane in the United States because of the dangerous risk they may pose, then there is no reason they should be able to purchase a firearm.

Terrorize Terrorists by Being Armed

The gun-free zone is not a crime fighting tool any more than is the background check. Armed citizens are the only way to protect life from terrorists and other criminals while waiting for the police.

Gaming the Debates: Trump is tough, but is Hillary tougher?

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet in the first presidential debate, it will be one of the most widely anticipated events in recent political history. What can we expect when they take the stage?


With the world a more dangerous place than at any time since the end of the Cold Way, an examination of how Margaret Thatcher might deal with today’s volatile global threats.

A Better Way for America’s Military

The next President will confront two realities. One is that the world has grown more dangerous under President Obama’s watch. The second is that America’s military is approaching a crisis point.

Older, Smaller and Weaker: Dangerous trends for the U.S. military

After 15 years of war, the U.S. military is barely large enough to win one major conflict, and is forced to get by with poor training and aging equipment.

Reining in the NSC

The coming transition to a new administration has raised renewed questions about the size and influence of the National Security Council and its staff.

Health Independence for Veterans

The VA is one of the few examples in the industrialized world of fully socialized medicine. With the Department plagued by scandal and chronic mismanagement, now is the time to change that.


To the extent that 2016 is a “change” election, it’s safe to say that the biggest change in defense policy over the next four years will occur if Donald Trump is elected to the White House.

Ripon Profile of Jeff Flake

The Senator from Arizona reveals his proudest achievement since coming to the Senate and the one thing in American politics that he would most like to change.


Trump, Clinton & the Next Commander in Chief

To the extent that the 2016 presidential contest is being called a “change” election, it’s safe to say that the biggest change in defense policy over the next four years will occur if Donald Trump is elected to the White House.  Simply put, Trump is offering everything that Barack Obama – and by extension, Hillary Clinton – has not.

When it comes to military spending, for example, Trump is calling for an increase.  He proposed ending the defense sequester in a September 7th speech in Philadelphia.  In this same speech, he also pledged to “submit a new budget to rebuild our military,” and said he would boost the size of the Army to “around” 540,000 troops, increase the number of Marine Corps battalions from 23 to 36, increase from 276 to 350 the number of Navy ships and submarines, and increase the number of Air Force fighter aircraft from 1,113 to 1,200.

Clinton, by contrast, has been vague on where she stands on military spending and readiness issues.  She, too, calls for ending the sequester (on both defense and non-defense areas).  But rather than increasing defense spending, her campaign website simply says that she will “create a defense budget that reflects good stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” and will  “prioritize defense reform initiatives, curbing runaway cost growth in areas like health care and acquisition and stretching every dollar.”

When it comes to military spending, Trump is calling for an increase.

The same differences also apply to the global projection of military force.  Where Clinton can be expected to continue following the same basic foreign policy she helped put in place as President Obama’s Secretary of State, Trump has repeatedly said he plans to use military force more sparingly around the world.   “In a Trump Administration,” he said in this same September 7th speech, “our actions in the Middle East will be tempered by realism. The current strategy of toppling regimes, with no plan for what to do the day after, only produces power vacuums that are filled by terrorists.  Gradual reform, not sudden and radical change, should be our guiding objective in that region.”

As has been widely reported, Trump has also raised questions about the U.S. commitment to our global military alliances, particularly NATO, which he characterized as being “obsolete” earlier this year.  He has also questioned whether the U.S. should come to the aid of other NATO countries if they are attacked, and said it was time for these other countries to assume a greater share of the financial burden of the alliance.

Clinton, on the other hand, disagrees.  In a speech earlier this year, she made clear that she believes American participation in global alliances is a critical – and historically important — part of our national defense. “For decades,” she said in March, “Republican and Democratic administrations have understood that America’s alliances make us stronger … Turning our back on our alliances or turning our alliance into a protection racket would reverse decades of bipartisan American leadership and send a dangerous signal to friend and foe alike. Putin already hopes to divide Europe. If Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin. It will make America less safe and the world more dangerous.”

Steadiness is a quality, Clinton argues, that Donald Trump does not possess.

Clinton’s criticism of Trump on these and other issues has a common theme – namely, that the Republican candidate is temperamentally unsuited for the Presidency.  To effectively serve as Commander in Chief, she says, a President must be calm in the face of a crisis and capable of making rational, informed decisions.  Steadiness is a quality, she argues, that Donald Trump does not possess.

Trump, obviously, believes otherwise.  He argues that an important part of serving as Commander in Chief is unpredictability – keeping America’s adversaries off balance so they never know our next move.  “We need unpredictability,” he said earlier this year in response to a question about whether he would ever use nuclear weapons.  “When you ask a question like that, it’s a very sad thing to have to answer it because the enemy is watching … and I frankly don’t want the enemy to know how I’m thinking.”