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'Decline by Design': Sen. Tom Cotton Exposes Decades-Long Plot to Sabotage American Power


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How America handles threats and relations with other countries will likely be under a microscope for the foreseeable future. War raging with Russia and Ukraine, threats from China and others, and ongoing issues at the southern border. Who's to blame and how can we fix it? 

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, an Army veteran, leans on his experience in the armed forces and in the Senate to lay out a vision for US foreign policy going forward in his new book, Only the Strong: Reversing the Left's Plot to Sabotage American Power.

"There's a lot of history in this book going back 100 years, the progressive era, Woodrow Wilson coming forward to the presidencies of Barack Obama, Joe Biden. Reading about the history and the views of the Progressive Left and their views on American power and also how we've turned it around on various times. Whether it was Eisenhower taking over the Korean War, Nixon the Vietnam War, Reagan when Jimmy Carter had brought American power to previous lows, wasn't just interesting in itself, but it also helps a lot in my day job," Sen. Cotton told CBN News.

Cotton tackled a number of foreign policy topics including the United State's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"I think it's a combination of President Biden's insecurity and his rank incompetence that led to the collapse of Afghanistan in August before we even got all of our people. So what should have happened? Certainly the President shouldn't have taken the precipitous steps he did to ensure failure. For instance: closing down Baghram air base before we had all of our personnel out."

Cotton ties that moment from August of 2021 to one of the most pressing issues facing the entire world today: Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Cotton writes "Biden didn't just leave our people behind during his retreat from Afghanistan. His weakness enticed Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine."

Vladimir Putin went into Ukraine because of Joe Biden's weakness. But Joe Biden didn't invade Ukraine, Vladimir Putin did. We asked Sen. Cotton if it's fair to blame President Biden for what's going on between those two countries.

"Well I don't completely blame President Biden. Obviously Vladimir Putin bears the brunt of the blame for the war of aggression in Ukraine, but it's equally clear that deterrents failed. Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine twice under Democratic Presidents. He didn't invade under a Republican president."

Cotton argues that Democrats are participating in what he calls "decline by design."

"It's the genuine belief that American power is not likely to lead to strength, safety, prosperity, but rather to war, oppression, and arrogance. That the world would be a better place if America was simply pulling its horns and atone for its sins and become a more 'normal' nation. That's what I mean when I say it's decline by design and an intentional sabotage of American power. Not that progressives are, again, necessarily anti-American, although plenty are, but they have deep ambivalence about America and American power and its role in the world."

Cotton does believe the United States should continue to aide Ukraine in defense. He says it's a major deterrent to one of America's biggest threats: China.

"Strength and resolution with clarity about our intentions will lead to peace, it won't lead to war," Cotton said.

Closer to home, Cotton advocates for a complete overhaul of the U.S. Southern border. Apprehensions hit a record 2.4 million in the past year, and the Title 42 policy allowing the government to quickly expel migrants under COVID rules will end soon. The overhaul starts with America's asylum policy.

"We want to offer refugee and asylum status to people with legitimate fears. If they fear they're going to be persecuted because of their Christian faith, or they're going to be persecuted because they're a woman in their home country. Those are legitimate asylum and refugee claims, but if you're coming here because you want a better job and a better a life, that's not suitable for our refugee and asylum system. Those people should be coming here through regular immigration systems, for people who want to immigrate here and become citizens and become part of this country."

Only the Strong had the potential to serve as a pre-presidential run memoir, but 2024 is not something the Arkansas Republican can commit to right now.

"We've closed the chapter on that, but may have not closed the book for the future. We have young boys, seven and five years old, and that's just a particularly challenging age for Dad to be on the road six or seven days a week for two years."

Senator Cotton said he enjoyed being out on the trail campaigning for midterm candidates around the country, adding that maybe if his children were a bit younger or older, his 2024 decision could have been different.

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About The Author


Matt Galka serves as a Capitol Hill Correspondent and Senior Washington Correspondent for CBN News. He joined CBN in March of 2022 after most recently reporting in Phoenix, AZ. In Phoenix, Matt covered multiple stories that had national implications, including reports on the southern border and in-depth coverage of Arizona's election audit. Before Phoenix, Matt was in Tallahassee, FL, reporting on state government at the Florida Capitol and serving as a general assignment reporter. Matt's stories in Arizona earned him multiple Emmy awards and nominations. The Florida Associated Press