Foes 'all too willing to test us'

Here’s a tiny part of what former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said before a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Here’s the simple truth of our foreign policy: Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us. No one should be surprised, no one should be surprised that dictators like Assad would cross the president’s red line because he knows the president will not even defend the line that separates our nation from Mexico.”

Did you get what he’s inferring here? Perry is possibly going to run for the Republican nomination for president of the United States — again — in 2016. To make the case to GOP voters, he must lambaste the president from the other party.

I understand how it works. Democrats do the same thing to Republican presidents as well, as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama demonstrated when he won the presidency in 2008.

But is this “testing” of U.S. power and prestige limited to just this president?

Let’s see: President Richard Nixon was tested when Arab nations executed an oil embargo in 1973, causing near-panic at gasoline service stations throughout this country. President Ronald Reagan was tested in 1983 when terrorists blew up the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 of our young Marines. President George H.W. Bush was tested in Panama when the dictator Manuel Noriega kept looking the other way while drugs were pouring into this country from Panama. President George W. Bush certainly was tested when terrorists flew those hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11.

Yes, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were tested too. Carter faced the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80  and Clinton had to deal with those warlords in Somalia.

Testing of U.S. presidents has been the norm perhaps since the end of World War II, when this nation emerged from that global conflagration as the world’s pre-eminent military and economic power.

It goes with the territory. It’s part of the president’s job description.


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