Brian Vogt is a Democrat and a Truman National Security Fellow originally from Covington. James Waters is a Republican and former Navy SEAL whose grandparents lived in Cincinnati.
America has a remarkable history of bipartisanship in foreign policy.
After World War II, the legendary partnership between Democratic President Harry Truman and Republican Senator Arthur Vandenburg saw two men with very different views set aside partisan differences because they knew something much greater was at stake: the immediate security of our country in a rapidly changing world. Their collaboration led to bipartisan support for the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the creation of NATO.
Unfortunately, deep partisanship has increasingly seeped into our foreign policy. But today, standing together as a proud Republican and Democrat, each with roots in the Cincinnati area, we present an urgent need to the region's voters. We must once again bring the parties together to counter a new threat to our national security: Donald Trump.
Trump is temperamentally unfit to make key decisions about national security. His off-the-cuff remarks are admired by many as a refreshing change from politics as usual. Perhaps a dose of that would be nice, but national security is not a reality TV show -- lives of our soldiers, diplomats, and many others are on the line every hour of every day.
Today there are nearly 35,000 active duty and reserve soldiers from Ohio alone. They deserve a commander in chief who is not rash or impulsive. Yet Trump seems uninterested in nuance and unwilling to change his “shoot first and ask questions later” approach. This is extremely dangerous to our troops. The offhand and half-baked solutions he proposes undercut fundamental tenets supported widely by both Democrats and Republicans and represent dramatic pivots in America’s role in the world.
Since the end of World War II, both parties have recognized the existential threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Yet Trump actually encourages the spread of these weapons to countries that have previously forsworn them.
Both President Bush and President Obama recognized the terrorist trap of a perceived battle between the West and Islam. Trump, by contrast, encourages this clash of civilizations as he vilifies Muslims in this country and abroad -- the very people we need to counter the extremist ideology of a few.
For decades, our country has supported the spread and deepening of democracy around the world, which diminishes the possibility of wars and provides a bulwark against violent extremism. Trump, however, expresses bizarre admiration for dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.
And finally, since 1949, Democrats and Republicans have recognized the key role the NATO alliance has played in defeating communism and now in combating emerging threats in places like Syria. Meanwhile, Trump threatens to refuse to defend NATO allies, undermining its credibility.
Any one of these “pivots” would threaten America’s leadership in the world. Taken together, they are unprecedented -- and dangerous.
In recent presidential elections, Democrats and Republicans had legitimate policy differences that were vigorously debated: Iraq, the war on terror, and Iran come to mind. Yet, underlying these debates was agreement on a set of core principles that have successfully guided our country for many years.
For Trump, these bedrock principles just get in the way of making America great again. What he misses is that America’s greatness actually comes from those very ideals. That’s something that all Americans, Democrats and Republicans, can agree on.
America’s position in the world depends on acting together to oppose Donald Trump. We must once again come together to lead our nation in making the right choice.