Speaker Johnson’s Conversion

I don’t know Speaker of the House Michael Johnson (R-LA). Wouldn’t recognize him if he spit on my shoes. But there is something endearing about a person who thinks that the demands of the job outpace his parochial interests. Something courageous about someone who, when unjustly threatened with the loss of his job, replies, “Do your best.” And something genuine about someone who refuses to be bound by conventional wisdom – the idea that you had to bind objectionable legislation with other legislation in order to get is passed. I say this in light of Mr. Johnson’s demonstration of leadership skills in maneuvering passage of military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan this past weekend.

But what emphasizes those leadership skills is the distance he has traveled from representing a rural congressional district in Louisiana running from just north of New Orleans up the west border of Louisiana and to the north border just above Shreveport.. He served on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. He had no special knowledge of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Intelligence, or for that matter foreign trade and international economic conditions. Mr. Johnson represented a conservative congressional district that probably didn’t give a hoot about those issues, but did care about taxes and how wasteful government spending has become. The whole concept of foreign aid would rank extremely low in Mr. Johnson’s 4th congressional district. Mr. Johnson’s votes prior to assuming the Speaker’s office and even his early opposition to additional aid in pursuit of a war in Ukraine that seems to be dragging on to a stalemate was understandable.

As Speaker, however, Mr. Johnson’s responsibility is first to the whole of the nation and then the whole of the Republican congressional caucus. That requires a broader perspective of global events and causes and effects. Today, we find ourselves confronted by three hostile powers – two of whom wish to replace us as the leading superpower and a third run by zealots simply seeks our physical destruction as a religious mandate. (For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools, that would be China, Russia and Iran in that order.) Even worse, because of the ineptness of the current president – President Joe Biden – and his parsing of support for allies and dalliances with our enemies, two out of these three confrontations have graduated into hot wars that threaten to expand in either regional or worldwide conflagrations. The lack of leadership at the presidential level places an even greater burden on the Speaker.

Having now immersed himself in access to the best minds in America – coupled with the best minds in Europe and Asia – Mr. Johnson has gained a new appreciation that world dominance is no longer just a military contest and that wars are more likely to be won and/or lost as economic contests. And that economic superiority may be the greatest weapon in the hands of knowledgeable and determined people.

Today is pretty much the same global situation that President Ronald Reagan confronted when he assumed the presidency. He faced a menacing Soviet Union that continuously threatened our European allies and a recent hostile take over of Iran by the Shia zealots that currently still run that nation. The former was a formidable military force supported by a doomed economic philosophy (communism) that left its citizenry mired in poverty while the Communist Party apparatchik isolated physically and economically from its citizenry. Mr. Reagan and his advisors understood that America’s economic might could destroy the communist economic frailties in short order. Thus they engaged the Soviet Union in an arms race that the Soviets mindless of their own economic peril could not afford and that they predictably lost in short order.

With regard to Iran, Mr. Reagan and his advisors recognized that Iran was – as we say in the West – all hat and no cattle. The Shia hierarchy was blinded by fifteen centuries of hate and jealousy that while the world progressed, the Shia’s did not. They were hell bent on destroying those who had succeeded – mostly the Jewish state of Israel* and the Western world. The Iranian theocracy kidnapped sixty Americans and held them while another ineffective international apologist – President Jimmy Carter – wrung his hands in despair. Mr. Reagan had promised to retaliate when he became president and the hostages were released shortly after his swearing in. Later Mr. Reagan destroyed two of Iran’s largest oil platforms in retaliation for its attacks on Kuwait. The toothless tiger was tamed for the remainder of his presidency.

China is the exception to the rule here. It has always played the “long game” and so while the threat of an invasion of Taiwan by China is real it is not likely. You see, China has come to realize that its quest for world power – to supplant the United States as the greatest superpower – lies through economic means. The rapid transition from a centralized communist control to a Communist Party oversight has led to the dramatic increase in China as an economic power. It’s desire to return Taiwan to a role as part of China – while historical – is really driven more by the genius of Taiwan’s technology, particularly in the design and production of computer chips. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has simply made Taiwan’s industries even more valuable. An actual invasion of Taiwan runs the real danger of destroying the prize it seeks – technological superiority. Even as Taiwan arms to repel any type of invasion, its technological industries are busy deploying their labs and production to other lands including the United States in case there is an invasion.

Having absorbed all of that Mr. Johnson understood pointedly that to detour Russia we need to ensure a robust Ukraine defense of his homeland which forces Russia once again to enter an arms race with an underlying economy – with the exception of oil production – that is no better than the days of Reagan when it watched its economy and its power structure implode. The cheapest way to control the spread of Russian influence is to periodically choke Russia’s economy by forcing them to choose between arms and prosperity. The woe begotten Mr. Biden and his progressive morons are never going to understand that and will continue to treat the war in Ukraine as his predecessors treated the wars in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq by funding the conflict only to a level of “not losing” but never to a level of “winning.” I believe that Mr. Johnson now understands the difference.

In providing funding to Israel, Mr. Johnson understands that the key to peace in the Middle East is to preserve a strong Israel capable of repelling the religious zealots of Iran along with its proxies. At a point in time, the rest of the Middle East is going to tire of the excesses of the Shia hierarchy and realign themselves with a new tolerance towards Israel and a new hostility towards Iran and its insufferable interference in the governance of the Middle East and North Africa. It is economic pressure that will bring down the ayatollahs – not missiles and bullets.**

I’m less sure that Mr. Johnson understands the meaning of China’s long game but because it is a long game but there is yet time to develop our own long game. The expiration of Mr. Biden’s presidency will hasten the creation of that long game.

Unlike recent editorial comments in the Wall Street Journal, do not think of Mr. Johnson as heroic – at least not yet. I do think that he is due new respect as he grows into his new role as Speaker. The Republican dissidents should shut up long enough to give him a try.


*As foreign organized protests, led my Iranian interests, to support to Hamas, and condemn Israel, we are beginning to see that the threat of “new Nazis comes not from the mullet wearing, toothless white boys of the South, but rather from the elites of the Ivy League and the left wing of the progressive/socialist elements – exactly from whence it came in support of Adolph Hitler ninety years ago.

**Mr. Biden and his progressives continue to cower at the threat of Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Stop with that baloney already. Its the same threat that former President Barack Obama used as an excuse to cave in to Iran’s demands. Iran already has nuclear weapons. It is unlikely that when a backwards country like North Korea could develop nuclear weapons over a decade ago that Iran has not accomplished the same thing in the last sixteen years. What they don’t have is a delivery vehicle. And that was reinforced with the ludicrous performance of its missile attack on Israel less than three weeks ago.