This past week a man reported to have a history of mental illness and criminal activity was allowed to stand a few feet away from the President of the United States for an extended period of time. He was not searched nor were agents close enough to intervene if he had taken actions against the president. It seems apparent the sign language interpreter was not vetted by the president’s security team in any way.
This happened because the security was handled in the cooperative model this president likes to build into his foreign policies. He doesn’t want us to be arrogant and assume we are the only ones able to vet a sign language interpreter. He doesn’t want us to be conceited so as to double check the arrangements made by the host country. He prefers for our country to appear humble and cooperative.
I don’t happen to like this president much, but honestly I would have been furious if this lack of attention had resulted in his being attacked, injured or even killed. I may not be fond of his politics but I am tired of sending the world a signal that American cannot defend its own.
I hope something is learned from the episode. Not everyone, around the world, is who they claim they are. Not everyone is capable of doing what they say they are capable of doing. Not everyone who claims to be our friend has our best interests at heart. Sometimes the only way we can be sure something is being done appropriately is to take charge of it ourselves. Cooperation is a great trait at the appropriate time and place. But there is also a time when nothing substitutes for direct supervision.
Shielding the president would fit in this category. Protecting the national healthcare website would fit in this category. Guarding embassies and collecting intelligence also fits in this category. We have paid a terrible price in these issues and in other matters in the past few years simply by valuing the opinion of the world too highly.