Bipartisanship in face of threats

An expression that has survived politics from both ends of the political spectrum is “politics stop at the water’s edge.” The meaning is partisanship stops at the water’s edge – we’re not Republicans and Democrats when it comes to dealing with nations we have political, economic or security issues with. 

If North Korea’s Kim Jung Un threatens America, we don’t respond on party lines, we respond as Americans, with a united front against this common threat to our existence. On top of that, we also put aside our political differences when responding to national threats. The leader of North Korea isn’t threatening Republicans or Democrats, he’s threatening everyone who lives in America. We should have a united response to his saber-rattling, and we should support the president no matter what party he or she belongs to when he determines the nation’s response. 

Not only do we have a united response to national threats, but if the president asks us to support his efforts to resolve an international problem, we should put partisanship aside and cooperate with the person in the Oval Office in resolving those threats. So, for example, when a humanitarian crisis in the form of a major earthquake hit Haiti a number of years ago, President Obama invited Presidents Bush and Clinton to join forces in a humanitarian response. And they did. There was no partisanship invoked; it was “we’re here to represent the America government and people, and we’re here to help.”

Now we’re faced with what could be an existential crisis as a result of Kim Jong Un threatening to fire nuclear-tipped missiles at Guam and the United States’ mainland. It’s not clear Kim really could mount a substantial intercontinental threat toward us, but it’s clear he could make a symbolic strike to show off his disdain toward us and our government. Note, I say “our government,” not “President Trump,” or Republicans. 

If a nuclear weapon explodes over Seattle, the dead will not be counted as members of one party or another – they’ll all be Americans. So perhaps it’s time for previous presidents to step up and help out with the current Asian standoff. It’s time for George Bush and Barack Obama to travel to Guam, in a presidential jet, where they could demonstrate bipartisan unity and resolve against the North Korean dictator, offering themselves up as a shield against his military bluster. And if two presidents are a good defense against an attack by Kim, why not increase the pacifist firepower by throwing in a few congress critters, like Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi? 

Yeah, that’s the ticket, let’s see the Executive and the Legislative Branches show their scorn for the Asian dictator’s threat by all offering to make a visit to Guam? If two presidents are a good shield against nuclear war, two presidents and two Congressional leaders should carry twice the power! And who could be more eager to go than people who tell us how much they’ve sacrificed for America? This is sounding better all the time. 

Let us petition President Trump to invite a high level delegation including Presidents Bush and Obama, and Congress persons Ryan and Pelosi, to travel together to Guam as a bold statement of American resolve. “You cannot bomb this island as long as we are here as a tripwire.” The more I ponder this, the better I like it. 

Let present and previous leaders show how disdainful they are of President Kim Jung Un’s threats: let them travel to Guam next week, preferably to remain until Kim stops his threats.

Fred LaSor lived and worked for 20 years in five different African countries with the U.S. Foreign Service.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment