EDITORIAL: Manchin Has Opportunity to Make Strong Foreign Policy Statement

HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  Manchin Has Opportunity to Make Strong Foreign Policy Statement

The recent slap in the face to the U.S. at the United Nations by China and Russia over the crisis in Syria is certainly telling of their partnership with the United States.  Senator Joe Manchin take note: the Russians and Chinese may not be the best of allies.  But as a member of the Armed Services Committee, the West Virginia senator can help send a message abroad. 

Recently, Manchin has gone on record as saying that the Pentagon needs to be prepared for deep cuts in its budget.  However, some military programs are more needed than others and should not be among the cuts. Manchin's support for the modern F-35 fighter jet project would help advance the U.S. in military superiority well into the 21st century. 

Such critical allies as Israel and Italy are among the dozen or so nations placing orders for the jet.  U.S. Representative David McKinley has joined several dozen colleagues as a member of the House Joint Strike Force caucus to promote development of the stealth aircraft.  His Mountain State colleagues Capito and Rahall should join him.  This collective clout on Capitol Hill will help telegraph to Russia and China that we in the U.S. can make our way in the world without them if need be.

Over the past several years, China has been asserting itself more, in light of its increasing economic profile on the world stage.  We should expect the Chinese government to test each U.S. administration, both on economic and foreign policy matters.  Our reaction to these challenges will tell the Chinese all they need to know as to America's willingness to stand up for traditional allies like Taiwan and to what degree we intend to act like the world's remaining superpower.

Russia may seem less of a threat these days, with that country's seemingly unending economic and political turmoil.  However, old alliances kept in place from the Cold War days with countries like Iran and Syria gives Russia the chance to be a spoiler for American foreign policy in the Middle East, a role seemingly relished by Vladmir Putin.

One thing is certain:  the governments of Russia and China still respect and understand strength from the United States and will take full advantage of perceived weakness.  That is why Senator Manchin and indeed our entire West Virginia delegation in Washington should see the investment in modern F-35 fighter jets as a necessity, not a luxury for our national defense.

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