The Paradox of Excessive Executive National Security

By Thomas Calabro | United States

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and American President Donald Trump have always had a somewhat similar style of government. One that supports law, justice, and order, attacks critics in the media, and constantly seeks to garner power for the president of the state. But should the news of Pastor Andrew Brunson be a wake up call to the President of the true nature of the fear tactic employed by both Turkey d the US? In other words, if approach to combat terrorism under the guise of security, were used against us, would we support that same approach, it’s ethics, or even it’s legality?

This comes as the evangelical pastor from North Carolina was sentenced to house arrest for supposedly aiding terrorist groups such as the one that is believed to have  a orchestrated the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. After this attempt to oust Erdogan, the Presidency saw itself garner new powers, and attack enemies in the media all in the name of combating terrorism. Events that create this level of unsettlement in the civilians usually brings the debate to an emotional state where the environment of debate becomes more unstable, and hostile towards the ideas of freedom, liberty, and individuality. For the US, the September 11th attacks were a defining moment where Americans truly feared for their lives of terrorists, and in Trump’s case, the murder of Kate Steinle seemed to have had the impact of “proving” to Trump’s future supporters, the harsh rhetoric against immigrants. 

The environment in the debate on national security is one becoming less reliant on fact and logic, and grows based on emotion. While many do worry about the stability and security of the state, and it’s citizens, we must be able to acknowledge that leaders are more than willing to use compromising moments, that instill fear and anger, to grab new powers. In those moments when your emotions overwhelm you, authoritarians look to push you to make the decision to give them opportunities to “protect the nation.” Those who object are not seen as having legitimate concerns with the policies and what they entail, but are labeled and dismissed as naive and out of touch with reality. Some are even labeled as traitors, who wish to create chaos, and let the bad guys win.

President Trump’s attitude towards this approach shows a level of hypocrisy among statists who support fear-based power-grabs, until they are used against their own beliefs and values, and suddenly find themselves on the opposition. Trump doesn’t seem to like this approach when it affects an evangelical American, so why should we be surprised when others stand up against very similar treatments against other religious, ethnic, and cultural people.

Rather than accepting fear of others, and anger towards those who disagree, we should embrace the ability to use logic and reason to fully vet our government, our people, and those who are deemed as a threat. Even if the state properly exposes threats towards national security, we must still be able to keep our government, and its officials in check, and not simply accept everything they say because they are some benevolent entity that can run our lives, thoughts, and emotions better than we can.

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