The Perception Of Strength
Weakness threatens national security
Polio had left Franklin Delano Roosevelt paralyzed from the waist down, and he tried to keep his disability out of the public eye fearing that the public, and world leaders alike, would perceive his disability as a weakness. Roosevelt would often use a cane or would grab onto someone else’s arms at public events that required him to walk or stand.
Dwight Eisenhower had a serious heart attack in office, and later a stroke, requiring extensive hospitalization. At the time, reporters were only told that Eisenhower suffered “a digestive upset during the night.” A stroke incapacitated Woodrow Wilson in 1919, but the public wouldn’t discover such until months later. His wife, Edith, essentially became the chief executive until her husband’s second term concluded in March 1921.
John F. Kennedy secretly took steroids and other drugs to ward off the symptoms of Addison’s disease. Once, at the end of an election campaign parade, Kennedy collapsed because of the disease. Kennedy’s pain was incapacitating at times, and the American public was kept unaware.
Whether it was Roosevelt or Eisenhower, Wilson or Kennedy, these men wanted to create an image of strength for the public. They understood that when adversaries believe you are weak, they are prone to attack. This was the underlying principle of Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” strategy to win the Cold War.
Many say that there was a “gentleman’s agreement” between these presidents and the journalists covering the White House at the time to avoid any coverage of their disabilities for national security purposes. The president is also our commanderin-chief, and we obviously want him acting in a way that strengthens our nation’s defensive posture, not weaken it.
But Joe Biden is weakening it. He is not in good mental health, and he’s physically weak. He’s confused. In May, over 120 retired military generals wrote a letter highlighting the national security crisis due to Biden’s mental and physical condition. They wrote, “The mental and physical condition of the commander-inchief cannot be ignored. ... He must be able to quickly make accurate national security decisions involving life and limb anywhere, day or night.”
But like the press corps of Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Wilson and Kennedy, the media seems entirely uninterested in the mental (or physical) health of President Biden. When he trips up his speech, they make excuses for him. When Biden falls walking up the stairs to Air Force One, it was gale force winds that forced him down. When he goes to bed early, they extol the virtues of getting good rest.
And in the meantime, we are provoking our enemies by projecting our weakness.
Japan’s State Defense Minister is warning that China and Russia are partnering to threaten our Pacific bases from Hawaii to Taiwan. The Washington Post is even reporting China is building 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles – a major expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities. Some are saying it looks as if Chinese military planners are thinking of using nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity.
Meanwhile, Russia-based hackers continue to breach at least 1,000 businesses in a large-scale ransomware campaign, despite Biden’s demand to Vladmir Putin that such attacks are “off limits” and to cut it out, even as Russia asserts their military might in Eastern Europe by amassing 85,000 troops near Ukraine.
You see, we may not all agree politically with the Biden administration on the issues of America’s energy independence, or securing our borders, or standing with Israel, or protecting the unborn – but what Democrats are doing to this nation by ignoring Joe Biden’s physical and mental infirmaries goes far beyond politics because it threatens our very national security. Democrats may be able to ignore what is happening with Biden for the sake of their own political power, but rest assured, our enemies are not.
I am reminded of the expression, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” It comes to mind because of the obliviousness of those on the Left to a commander-inchief who clearly is not in command of anything – not even who he is “allowed” to call upon during press conferences. And not only did Nero “fiddle” while his people suffered, he was a poor leader in a time of crisis as well.
And for all those willing to look the other way, or close your eyes to what’s right in front of you regarding this administration, one day the question will come, “What were you fiddling with while your country was burning?”
Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at email@example.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.