Politics & Policy

Ted Cruz Is the One Candidate Who Can Face down Washington — And Win

(Andrew Burton/Getty)

To protect American national security we must first understand what threatens American national security. We must grasp who our enemies are, what animates them, and how they work together — despite their internecine rivalries — to destroy us from without and within. We must stop trying to define “true Islam” and start restoring our own principles as our guide: liberty, equality of opportunity, the rule of law, and peace through strength.

The vast majority of Americans still believe in these principles. It is Washington that has lost faith. It is Washington that looks at liberty’s enemies and sees friends; that looks at anti-Western Islamic supremacists and sees “moderates” it can play ball with; that looks at lawbreakers and tut-tuts that “the system is broken.”

Reinvigorating American principles will require taming Washington. It calls for restoring the Constitution as a vital limit on government, not a relic . . . or an obstacle.

Ted Cruz gets this. Many Republicans talk the talk — we hear it in every election season, right up until it is time to stop campaigning and start governing. Senator Cruz walks the walk. That is why I believe he should be the next president of the United States.

Cruz understands that the most immediate enemy the United States confronts on the world stage is Islamic supremacism, which ignites jihadist violence through its state sponsors, terror networks, and activist organizations. The senator has not just fought against President Obama’s disastrous Iran deal, which enriches the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism while making it a threshold nuclear power. Cruz has concurrently pushed for the designation, at long last, of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

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The Shiite and Sunni branches of radical Islam have their differences with each other, but they are united in opposition to America, Israel, and the West. They are tied together by a common ideology: Islamic supremacism and its totalitarian legal code, sharia. The Shiite supremacist regime in Iran, its Hezbollah militias, and its Syrian client, Bashar al-Assad, clash violently at times with the Brotherhood and the jihadists that its Sunni supremacist ideology breeds — the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Hamas. Indeed, even within these factions there is bloodletting.

Senator Cruz walks the walk. That is why I believe he should be the next president of the United States.

The rivalries are put aside, however, where America is concerned. That is why, for example, Iran has had a strategic alliance with al-Qaeda since the early 1990s. It is why Iran backs Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian jihadist branch. It is why Iran and Syria worked with Sunni terror cells to funnel jihadists to Iraq, where they attacked American soldiers. It is why the Brotherhood, for all its moderate pretensions, has preached and practiced jihadism and sharia encroachment against the West since its inception. It is why, when Washington plays with fire by aligning with “moderate Islamists,” it inevitably ends up arming violent jihadists.

Infighting inevitably breaks out between rival Islamic supremacist factions, as it has in Syria. When it does, it will often be the case that “the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.” That is how Senator Cruz recently put it in explaining that there is no American interest in the triumph of one set of our enemies over another.

It is disappointing to find Max Boot belittling this perfectly accurate observation as “simplistic.” But it is campaign season. Mr. Boot is an adviser to Senator Marco Rubio and, like much campaign rhetoric, his stumping is as incoherent as it is misleading: Just a few lines before implicitly conceding that Cruz regards Assad as America’s enemy, Boot bizarrely claims, based on nothing, that Cruz “imagines that Assad is a possible ally against ISIS.”

#share#Speaking of imaginations run wild, noticeably absent from Boot’s critique of Cruz is the word “Libya.” That, you may recall, is where Senator Rubio and other Beltway Republicans decided it would be a fabulous idea to collude with President Obama and then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton to help Islamic supremacists oust the regime of Moammar Qaddafi. Up until the moment Washington switched sides, Qaddafi had been supported by the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and the bipartisan Beltway clerisy as a critical American counterterrorism ally.

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A lot of us “simplistic” analysts who’d spent a bit of time studying radical Islam, and who are quite supportive of the use of U.S. power to quell jihadists (as opposed to, say, pursuing the illusion of sharia-democracy), objected that Washington’s “moderate Libyan rebels” were heavily infused with enemies of the United States — Muslim Brotherhood operatives and al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists prominent among them. We warned that if Qaddafi were overthrown, Libya would disintegrate into a jihadist haven.

Today, Libya is a failed state: a jihadist sanctuary where Americans have been murdered, where Western nations and institutions have fled after repeated attacks, and where, in Sirte, the Islamic State now controls a “colony” just 400 miles from Italy.

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When Ted Cruz says “the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend,” he is saying we should resist in Syria a repetition of the Libya debacle, which begins with resisting the temptation — in Washington, the obsession — to presume that the Middle East teems with secular democrats. If that is simplistic, we could use a lot more simplicity.

National security is hard. I admire Senator Rubio, and I believe he was right to defend the NSA’s metadata collection, which can help us map terrorist cells and disrupt their plots while making no meaningful intrusion on the privacy of law-abiding Americans. I understand why, after seven years of the Obama administration, the public is suspicious that government will abuse its powers, and I’ve conceded that there is a weighty argument that indiscriminate bulk-data collection exceeds statutory (but not constitutional) limits. Still, I think it was a mistake for Congress to degrade the program in the USA Freedom Act. I wish Senator Cruz had not supported that legislation, but I expect that a President Cruz would be an effective advocate for counterterrorism surveillance efforts that (a) are concretely shown to enhance our security, and (b) are appropriately deferential to legitimate privacy concerns.

#related#In any event, the erosion of a surveillance tool needs to be put in perspective. It is a relatively small problem compared with the promotion of illegal immigration: the undermining of the rule of law and the integrity of border enforcement for the dubious purpose of creating rights for alien lawbreakers. It is a relatively small problem compared with regarding Islamists as potential allies when they share the jihadist goal of implementing sharia — including the Islamist regime in Turkey which, when not championing Hamas and Hezbollah and providing a jihadist gateway to Syria, exhorts Muslim immigrants to resist assimilation in the West. At a time when Europe’s peril illustrates the danger of giving jihadists the advantage of unassimilated Islamic enclaves in which to meld, these are the policy errors that most demand our attention. Wednesday’s killing spree in San Bernardino is a painful reminder that jihad is not some faraway threat; it is here.

Addressing our policy errors will not be easy. It will require taking on Washington, which will fight tooth and nail against an overhaul of its Islamist-friendly ways. In this cycle, the Republican party is fortunate to have a stellar field of candidates. But only one of them can be depended on to face down Washington.

That candidate is Senator Ted Cruz. The office of the president is mandated to uphold our Constitution, pursue our interests, and protect our homeland. Ted Cruz’s extraordinary gifts give me confidence that he will execute these solemn duties faithfully and effectively. I am proud to support him.

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