Another 911 Call to the White House from a Country in crisis

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll showed that Americans are weary of war. Only 19% of those polled say that they want America more involved in foreign affairs while 77% say that the US should either maintain its current level of involvement or reduce its role in the world. The long and questionable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the complex issues in Iran, Syria, North Korea, Egypt, Libya, Israel, and now Ukraine and Russia have combined with a growing number of severe natural disasters, to place America in the middle of all these volatile situations. For better or worse, countries around the world look to the US as the nation with the resources, technology, and military to maintain order in the world and provide humanitarian assistance.
Yes, America does have abundant resources, state of the art technologies, and the world’s most powerful military; however, for decades we’ve dedicated a large portion of our national budgets to defense to ensure that America is the strongest country in the world. But, we cannot be the first responder every time one of the 195 countries in the world needs help. With each new trouble spot in the world, America is finding it harder to answer the 911 calls given the shrinking defense budgets and need to reduce the national debt.
As the leader of the free world, America recognizes its responsibility to build coalitions and support our allies by standing together to promote peace, democracy, and human rights in the world. However, We cannot; however, be expected to do it alone. The United Nations and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) must be committed to taking the lead on a number of these problem areas. And most importantly, each country should be better able to defend itself. The defense plan for many countries is to simply rely on the US for protection and consequently, there is little investment in the defense of their own homelands. While diplomacy is the preferred method to deal with international problems, it must be backed up by a strong military. There remain far too many dictators and tyrants in the world today to not respond to the next 911 call. For Americans, the question is when do we reach the point where we are so over-extended that we put our own country in jeopardy? If that day comes, we will be of little value to ourselves and the world if our power and capacity to respond is dissipated by answering one after another global 911 calls.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in leadership positions, including being a US Army officer. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders.
For more information about Paul Okum and “Leadership DNA,” visit

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