This op-ed was published at the Boston Herald
By Mitt Romney
June 2, 2009
Just a few days from now, we will mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day. I’m sure some of you have been to Normandy. I have. I saw the acre upon acre of crosses and stars that mark the resting place of those who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country’s cause. They were sent by an awakened American nation to liberate a continent. In the shadow of World War II’s desolation, they resolutely shouldered the burden of defending freedom.
That burden did not end with that war. Because of what America did in the 20th century, there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who now live in freedom – who, but for the price paid by the United States, would have lived in despair. I know of no other such example of national selflessness. That is why America is the hope of the earth.
That is also why I take issue with President Barack Obama’s recent tour of apology. It’s not because America hasn’t made mistakes – we have – but because America’s mistakes are overwhelmed by what America has meant to the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world.
The president claimed on Arabic TV that America has dictated to other nations. No, America has sacrificed to free other nations from dictators. With all that is transpiring in the world – in Iran, North Korea, Georgia, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan – this is the time for strength and confidence, not for apologizing to America’s critics.
North Korea has made it clear that it is not only intent on perfecting nuclear weapons, but it is contemptuous of the concerns of the U.S. and the world at large. They executed their nuclear test to coincide with Memorial Day. The on-again, off-again talks have been nothing but stalling maneuvers. While diplomats celebrate yet another agreement, North Korea continues down the nuclear path Kim Jong-Il has long pursued.
Tyrants can not be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows. Action, strong bold action coming from a position of strength and determination, is the only effective deterrent.
It is time to apply comprehensive, regime-crippling sanctions to North Korea. Assets should be seized; international financial capabilities terminated. North Korea should be recategorized as a state sponsor of terror. And, most importantly, the president should reverse his recent decisions and support completing our ballistic missile defense system.
Missile defense is a non-nuclear, entirely defensive system designed to protect not just America but the world from a catastrophic attack. Yet the president plans to cut the missile defense budget by 15 percent, cut funding for missile defense sites in Europe by 80 percent and reduce the number of planned interceptors in Alaska. That is a grave miscalculation, given the provocations from North Korea, Iran’s near-nuclear status, Pakistan’s instability and the complete failure of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Rarely in history has any development carried such awful possibilities as a nuclear-armed missile in the hands of evil men. And rarely in history has any program had the promise to do more good or spare more suffering than a system of missile defense. This is too big an issue for ideology or politics to prevail over national security.