Stewards of security don’t simply hope for peace. They don’t simply count on opponents not attacking. Instead, they chart a course, prepare for attacks, and ready themselves to win wars quickly if all other options are exhausted.

National security is important because it means protecting lives. American lives matter — and our leaders should seek to expand our national security, not erode it.

I am seeing a disturbing trend at the federal level with the Biden administration’s national security policy that bears a deeply troubling resemblance to the “defund the police” movement. President Joe Biden and his Cabinet are taking the same appeasement and “soft on crime” mentality that has taken root in America’s cities and applying it on the international stage and our southern border. In the same way that liberals sought to “reimagine” policing, they are now attempting to “reimagine” national security. This is tremendously dangerous and relies heavily on hope and the goodwill of our adversaries, leaving America unprepared for bad actors who seek to do us harm.

Nowhere was this destructive mentality displayed more clearly than in Afghanistan. Biden’s administration publicly communicated the unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, and abandoned Bagram Airfield without any notice or coordination with our Afghan allies. Biden’s officials left behind billions of dollars in military equipment for the bad guys because it was simply easier. They called the Taliban “professional and businesslike” even as they actively undermined American interests.

Biden’s administration sought to appease the violent insurgency rather than confront it. His actions ultimately cost the lives of 13 American soldiers and countless other allies in Kabul.

Sadly, but predictably, the failure didn’t stop at the borders of Afghanistan. The world is now watching Russian President Vladimir Putin unleash mass destruction and suffering on Ukraine. It was Biden’s failure in Afghanistan that emboldened Putin and gave Russia the green light after decades of planning. Biden declined to implement sanctions on Russia until far too late. He approved the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and gave Russia tremendous leverage in Europe. He pulled U.S. warships out of the Black Sea. He and NATO failed to ship the needed weapons to the Ukrainian fighters before the war started. Perhaps most damaging, Biden tacitly approved a “minor incursion” from Russia during a presidential briefing.

And as painful as the last 15 months have been, I fear America’s future with the progressive “reimagination of national security” is even dimmer with how Biden is approaching the Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping.

The CCP is the serial killer currently walking the streets freely. It is committing the worst genocide since the Holocaust with its treatment of the Uyghur people. It inflicted untold damage on the world, to the tune of 6 million deaths worldwide, through its deliberate lies and misdirection on the COVID-19 pandemic out of Wuhan. China continues to steal an estimated $400 billion to $600 billion of intellectual property from U.S. companies each year. And moving forward, we know Xi has aspirations of annexing Taiwan just as Putin did to Ukraine.

The previous Biden failures in Afghanistan and Russia are playing out step by step in real-time. Yet Biden and his family continue to make money on joint ventures in China and turn a blind eye to its threats against the United States, all while casually proclaiming they welcome “stiff competition” from China.

Biden’s progressive national security policy reflects the same kind of naivete that the “defund the police” dream brought — the false notion that we can apologize, disarm, and appease our way to peace and security. We have already witnessed the carnage that this “reimagining” of public safety reaps in our local communities. If progressive and naive politicians continue extending their “defund the police” plan beyond our borders, we may only be witnessing the beginning of the end of our republic.

American lives matter. It’s time our leaders start acting like it.

Mike Garcia represents California’s 27th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

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