Last week I was invited to attend a luncheon to hear former Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan speak. Rogers is a Republican who formerly chaired the House Intelligence Committee. He has spent more than 20 years in top security positions with the U.S. Army and the FBI. He has served two U.S. presidents and has worked worldwide with countless foreign leaders, diplomats and fellow intelligence professionals.
Mr. Rogers expressed concern about our place as a world leader at this historic juncture. He said he does not believe that we are doing the right things, taking the right positions or implementing the right strategies. He fears we are leaving our allies “out to hang,” and we are negotiating poorly with our enemies. While I am not more knowledgeable about international affairs than any other average citizen, I do know enough to be scared … and Rogers certainly paints a very scary picture.
To address this issue, Rogers has accepted the honorary chairmanship of the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security (APPS). The organization’s mission is simple, yet difficult, to implement. The foreign policy challenges facing the next president of the United States on Day One will be more complicated than ever before. Understanding the challenges and benefits of American leadership around the globe will be crucial for our next president. National security, international engagement and the U.S. defense posture will have to be dealt with in the first months of the next presidency. With no time for on-the-job-training, a fulsome debate must begin now.
Therefore, according to the APPS website, the organization seeks to do the following to shape the 2016 presidential race,
- Raise the level of debate on the most important issue facing the country and move candidates beyond just rhetoric and talking points.
- Enhance the knowledge base of citizens in the early states to help elect a President who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy.
These goals lead to the APPS mission statement: “To educate citizens on the strong national security and foreign policies necessary to provide for American peace, prosperity, and security in this century.”
APPS will host forums and town-hall meetings in the designated states where educated volunteer activists will push candidates to fully outline their policies on major national security issues such as Iran, Russia, China, ISIS, space and cyber. APPS will be the only organization connecting top foreign policy and business leaders with the grassroots activists in early presidential contest states, driving the debate with the candidates. Whether Republican or Democrat, the goal is to prompt candidates to unveil to voters what they will do regarding these important issues.
We all know from news reports that the Middle East is a tinderbox that could explode at any moment. Russia is once again flexing its muscle trying to put the Soviet Union back together. China continues to grow its gigantic economy and is now turning its attention to more international issues. I believe that APPS and Mr. Rogers have the potential to move the upcoming presidential race away from well-rehearsed sound bites to an intelligent discussion of these truly important issues. We all should hope so!
– S. Joe DeHaven