Earlier today it was reported that Rose Lubin, an Israeli Border Police officer, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem, marking the 59th death of an Israeli officer since the October 7th attack by Hamas. While all such deaths are tragic, hers was particularly relevant to Georgians. Ms. Lubin was a Georgia resident who graduated from Dunwoody High School in 2021 and subsequently moved to Israel to serve in the defense forces.
Atlanta is known for having a large Jewish community, but we also have a substantial community of Ukrainian expatriates, some of whom I’m privileged to call my friends. (Some are both Ukrainian and Jewish, and the horror of seeing one’s physical and spiritual homelands both consumed by war against hostile invaders is unimaginable.) As a thriving metropolis of over five million people with the largest airport in the world and substantial links to ground and sea transportation networks, it makes sense that we have a local connection to almost any crisis point anywhere around the world.
These connections aren’t just limited to Atlanta. Our state, and the entire United States, are connected to the world in ways unimaginable even a generation ago, let alone at the time of our founding. Friends and families can stay close, and businesses can conduct trade, instantly and almost anywhere on the planet.
Unfortunately, evil can also spread worldwide in an instant. Chinese spies can attempt to infiltrate British businesses. Russia and Iran can propagandize for terrorism in Israel. And according to the FBI, the threat of an attack against Americans is higher than it has been in years.
This is why we – the United States of America – have to be involved in the world. Some argue, under the slogan “America First”, that we should be concerned only with what happens within our own borders. Let other countries solve their own problems.
But even if that were an option when our country was founded, it is no longer so today. Our society relies on global trade among peaceful nations for both conveniences and daily necessities. More of us than ever have family and friends living and working all throughout the world. And ideas – both good and evil – can go viral even faster than physical viruses can. Once a problem becomes big enough, it’s everyone’s problem, no matter where it starts.
More importantly, the choice isn’t between America’s active involvement in the world and a planet of independent states all remaining in their own bubbles. As noted above, Russia and China, among other hostile powers, are actively intervening in global events to advance their own positions. (Remember when Russia conspired to subvert our elections, and for some reason that was cool with us because we liked the guy who won?) If we’re not involved in the global advancement of our values, countries whose values are antithetical to ours will be happy to advance theirs. That will leave America dead last.
This is not to say that we need to be the World Police, deploying troops everywhere around the world that doesn’t bend to our will. Notably, there’s no serious advocacy for deploying American troops in either Ukraine or Israel. But we can certainly provide support, and even weapons, to those who largely share our values when they’re defending themselves from attack by those who don’t. Sometimes just a strong public statement of support from the “Arsenal of Democracy” can forestall violence from those who fear, as the Japanese did after Pearl Harbor, awakening the sleeping giant.
As I write this column, news is breaking that a Jewish man in Los Angeles was murdered by pro-Palestinian demonstrators. We can’t hide from the world’s problems. We can only choose whether to be a global leader in solving them, or to let totalitarians and terrorists lead instead.
May the memories of Rose Rubin and the victim in Los Angeles be a blessing.