I grew up in a small town in Illinois. The school I attended there had a single room for 6th, 7th and 8th grades, and a single teacher that maintained discipline and taught the things we needed to know in all three grades.
Physically, I was always the smallest boy in those classes. I was definitely “bully bait”, but I got through the knocks and tussles through a little toughness of my own, and with the friendship and help of the biggest kid in my class.
The bullies knew this benevolent big-guy would help the smaller kids, so they decided to just get-along. I don’t remember him ever having a real fight with anyone, but he kept the peace on the school-yard.
That same school-yard, human dynamic of a benevolent big-guy is an active and powerful influence all of life, church, business, play, everywhere, all the time. It is also the way of things in international relationships between nations.
In international relationships the United States has, for a long time, been the benevolent big-guy. We have been willing and able to defend weaker nations against aggressive bullies.
In the process we have made friends and allies of the countries we helped defend and in come cases the bullies have become our friends as well. We were there, and with help, we have kept the peace on the international schoolyard.
Lately, though the international bullies of the world have seen us step back from that responsibility.
They see that as an opportunity, and the result is murderous religious fanatics running rampant through the Middle East, North Africa and several other nations. The Russians have seized the Crimean peninsula and are threatening to do the same to Ukraine. China is belligerently pushing their national boundaries further into the South China Sea claiming whatever islands and other lands they wish. Iran is preparing for a nuclear holocaust and North Korea boasts and threatens with their newfound nuclear capability.
These bullies have all watched us waffle and equivocate in these past few decades. They see our impotent gestures of resistance, and they see us negotiate and settle for weak, short-term commitments and claim success. They are betting that we will continue to cringe and cower and do nothing to help their victims, and they are acting accordingly.
Most assuredly they are watching our Presidential election, and it is clear that they would much rather see an American president who will continue Obama’s hapless foreign policy than one who pledges to America to “Make America Great Again”.
That’s the last thing the bullies want to see, and that is exactly what we-the-voters should give them.