Everyone remembers where they were on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was driving past the Pentagon when a hijacked plane slammed into the nerve center of America's military power.
The struggle that hit home on 9/11 hasn't ended. In the 17 years since 9/11, the Islamic Republic of Iran has emerged as a major power in the Middle East. We have lived through the so-called "Arab Spring," which turned into a nightmare. We have seen the rise of the Islamic State and witnessed an ongoing genocide of Christians.
There have been repeated attacks on our homeland. Just last month, police raided a compound in New Mexico where Muslim extremists were training children to commit school shootings. As a country, we must stay vigilant to the threats of Islamic supremacism.
Today, President Donald Trump attended the dedication of a new memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 went down. The president praised the courage of those 40 passengers and crew members, saying:
"On September 11, 2001, a band of brave patriots turned the tide on our nation's enemies and joined the immortal ranks of American heroes. At this memorial on this sacred earth in the field beyond this wall and in the skies above our heads, we remember the moment when America fought back. . .
"We honor their sacrifice by pledging to never flinch in the face of evil and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe. . .
"Soon after takeoff, Flight 93 was hijacked by evil men bent on terror and conquest. . . Immediately those on Flight 93 started planning a response. . . The passengers and crew members came together, took a vote and they decided to act. At that moment, they took their fate and America's fate back into their own hands. . .
"And then they bravely charged the cockpit. They attacked the enemy. They fought until the very end. And they stopped the forces of terror and defeated this wicked, horrible, evil plan. . .
"A piece of America's heart is buried on these grounds. But in its place has grown a new resolve to live our lives with the same grace and courage as the heroes of Flight 93.
"This field is now a monument to American defiance. This memorial is now a message to the world: America will never, ever submit to tyranny."
There are things we can do to honor the memory of those who perished on 9/11. Tell those close to you that you love them. Thank our policemen, firemen and service members for all that they do to keep our country safe.
And remind yourself why you are blessed to live in America. Rediscover the God of Abraham, who said, "I have set before you life and death. Now choose life so that you and your children may live."
Donald Trump is not your typical politician, evidenced by the resistance of the DC swamp, the hysterical media and the #NeverTrump GOP establishment. He is fighting not just for standard Republican orthodoxy, but for a conservative populist agenda that puts America first. Sadly, that seems to be a foreign concept to our establishment elites.
For example, our manufacturing base has been gutted by policies pursued under both Democrat and Republican administrations. But Trump is working hard to put American workers first. And he is succeeding.
According to the Washington Post, "Blue-collar jobs are growing at their fastest rate in more than 30 years." That's one reason why small business optimism just set a record high, even exceeding the optimism of the Reagan years.
We got another example of the president's America first approach to foreign policy in a speech delivered yesterday by National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Previous Democrat and Republican administrations have embraced the fiction that there is a nation called "Palestine." Both parties have permitted the Palestine Liberation Organization to operate an office in Washington that functioned like a quasi-embassy since 1994.
But given the intransigence of the Palestinian Authority, the Trump Administration announced yesterday that it was shutting the office until the Palestinians get serious about peace with Israel.
Worse, administrations of both parties have empowered unelected global bodies that have eroded U.S. sovereignty. One of those bodies is the International Criminal Court, which recently signaled it was going to investigate the actions of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bolton announced yesterday that there was no way we would permit foreign bureaucrats to stand in judgment of our troops. Nor would we allow them to target our ally Israel. Bolton was unambiguous, saying:
"The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court. . . For all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us. . .
"If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly. . . We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system."
In China's Crosshairs
Communist China has been oppressing home churches for years. Yet it has generally tolerated churches that agree to state influence, such as monitoring activities and censoring sermons.
But in an ominous turn of events, there is growing evidence that the Chinese government is getting more aggressive in suppressing religious freedom. Bibles are being burned and churches are being closed in one of the worst government crackdowns in decades.
This topic was a major point of discussion at yesterday's meeting of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. My fellow commissioners and I strongly agreed that more attention was needed to expose the widespread persecution of believers in China.
Today the Commission released a statement condemning "the Chinese government's ongoing brutal and systematic targeting of religious communities."
In addition to China's unfair trade practices, growing religious persecution is another reason why the Trump Administration is right to sanction Chinese goods. But there's more.
Several weeks ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that Chinese spying was "the most challenging and the most significant threat we face as a country."
William Evanina, America's top counterintelligence official, said last week:
"Existentially, long term, [China is] the largest threat to our national security, bar none – it's not even close. They bring ungodly resources that we can't handle right now."
China is not just a trading partner. It is a major adversary. For years we gave China favorable trade terms while Beijing closed its markets to us. That is not free trade.