While the Washington political establishment more and more resembles a zombie apocalypse, it’s nice to know some powerful figures are in control of their faculties and discernment.
And boy, if ever a book appeared at the perfect time, it’s the new offering from Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America.”
As the American president dithers dangerously, we are reminded just why the former vice president, Dick Cheney, was effective in helping prosecute the war on terror. His new book, written with his daughter, is a wonderful and needed reminder that American exceptionalism is not only something to be embraced; it is still alive and well.
From the book’s beginnings, the Cheneys provide a moral clarity that is not based on arrogance, but on reality:
We have guaranteed freedom, security, and peace for a larger share of humanity than has any other nation in all of history. There is no other like us. There never has been. We are, as a matter of empirical fact and undeniable history, the greatest force for good the world has ever known.
Wouldn’t you like to hear the current occupant of the Oval Office say that? Instead, the Manchurian president speaks to European audiences and utters stupefying things, such as his distaste with America “winning.”
As we near the turn of the last days of this bankrupt presidency, “Exceptional” serves as an inspiring clarion call to America to lead, once again.
The Cheneys manage, in one volume, to offer a comprehensive look at America’s past leading, the dismal Obama years, before finally producing a way ahead. Between the covers of “Exceptional,” one reads rich accounts of American leaders, well, leading. Fully a year before Pearl Harbor, FDR explained clearly to the American people why we had to come to Great Britain’s aid as our cousins fought the Nazi menace with inspiring tenacity:
No nation can appease the Nazis. No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender.
Such quotes and anecdotes provide the stark contrast in leadership styles that America will need in the days ahead, as we work to extricate ourselves from Obama’s mendacity and destructiveness.
Where some see an exceptional nation, unmatched in the history of the world in our goodness and our greatness, in our contributions to global freedom, justice, and peace, Barack Obama sees a nation with at best a ‘mixed’ record. Yes, there was a successful outcome to the Cold War, but it brought us, he writes, ‘the distortions of politics, the sins of hubris, the corrupting effects of fear,’ not to mention ‘an enormous military buildup’ that has, in his view, warped the way U.S. leaders view the world. That buildup, of course, was essential to our winning the Cold War.
In Part 3 of “Exceptional,” we learn of Cheney’s plan for moving forward, and you just know a former vice president – especially one as involved as Cheney – has concrete ideas.
First, Cheney believes the first order for the new president will be restoring America’s military might, degraded as it has been by Obama. He advocates Congress repealing the Budget Control Act and the sequestration cuts. Among the expected calls for increasing the size of our armed forces, Cheney also calls for such things as developing “and building a robust, modern, and effective missile defense system.”
With the wisdom that’s come from his days as a youth in Wyoming, through Congress, and in the nerve centers of the White House, Cheney recognizes certain bedrock realities: sure, it’s costly to maintain freedom. But the alternative is unthinkable. As he and Liz write, “the cost of inaction is higher.”
This seems lost on the current president.
The Cheneys are also well aware of the race to influence the next generation leaders:
In the books they are assigned, in the tests they take, and in the instruction they receive, our children and grandchildren are too often being told that the legacy they have inherited is a shameful one.
In “Exceptional,” we absorb a call to remind and reinforce just what made our country great. And though, as the writers attest, it is easy to become dispirited, because the damage done by Obama is “without historical precedent.”
The book wraps with a reminder that though we have faced dark days before, leaders always arise to lead again and then this, they “surely will again.”
The future can still be bright. Because the once-exceptional nation is still exceptional.