The race for the White House has officially begun. In a few weeks we should have a fairly clear picture about who the likely nominees for the major parties will be. But even now with the field wide open in both parties, one can predict with some confidence how each of the parties will come out on the key issues facing Israel and the Jewish People. Seen from this perspective Republican control of the White House and of Congress in 2008 is critical for maintaining both Israel's security and that of the world. Nearly every one of the Democratic contenders embraces an idyllic, even naive view of international conflict that bodes ill for the world at large and for Israel in particular. At the same time the Republican contenders from Giuliani to McCain, Romney, Thompson and even newcomer Mike Huckabee support a strong US role in confronting the forces that threaten western civilization at every turn. There is a wide chasm between Democrats and Republicans on foreign policy issues. The Democratic Party has in recent years endorsed the view that international problems should be resolved multilaterally, a policy that means invoking institutions like the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Court of Justice, which have been at best incompetent and at worst anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Multilateralism also means dialoguing with states that harbor despotic regimes and embrace fundamental Islamic theologies with their intractable hostility towards the Jewish state and the Jewish people. The Republican approach, on the other hand, has been to utilize America's predominant position to combat terror and terror-based regimes, and not to shrink from use of economic and military sanctions to confront existential threats. Iraq illustrates this point dramatically. After initially supporting US intervention against Saddam Hussein, congressional Democrats could not run fast enough to condemn the Bush Administration when the security situation in that country went south. For the Democrats Iraq was to have been the quintessential campaign issue in 2008 and indeed was the principal reason they were able to recapture the House and narrowly take control of the Senate in the 2006 mid-term elections. But how things have changed! Suddenly, US General Petraeus' military surge strategy is paying handsome dividends as Iraqis from both Shi'ite and Sunni communities have had enough of terror, both of the domestic and foreign kind. Iraq is beginning to work. In some places, like Kurdistan in the north, economic miracles are occurring daily. And not surprisingly, Iraq has all but disappeared from the Democratic agenda. The Republican approach to international crisis management is bold and directed. It is premised on the view that America is not just a political and economic colossus but a moral force in the world as well as the principal advocate for freedom, democracy and free markets. Obviously, there is a limit to what America can do alone, but strong American leadership has inspired other nations to follow suit. What better example is there than the recent presidential elections in France which transformed that country from an American nemesis to a staunch supporter of American principles around the globe and particularly in the Middle East. Newly found respect for American fortitude and resolve even moved Libya's Qadaffi to abandon his nuclear program and resolve his long-standing dispute with the West over Libyan complicity in the Pan-Am Lockerbie disaster. Republican leadership and philosophy was evident in the response to the Second Lebanon War. While the UN secretariat and EU foreign ministries strove to squelch Israel's response to Hizbullah's unprovoked kidnapping of IDF reservists and missile attacks on Israel's northern cities, the Republican President successfully parried the attempts by the international community to tie Israel's hands in dispatching the Iranian and Syrian proxies in southern Lebanon. In this respect, the Republican Administration proved to be more resolute than Israel's own government, as the forthcoming Winograd Report is likely to show. And the Democrats? Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to co-sponsor a bi-partisan resolution to "stand by Israel" in the midst of the 2006 Lebanese War, although she ended up voting for it. But seven of her colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle, actually voted against the resolution, several of whom have since become committee and sub-committee chairpersons in the Democratically controlled House. One should keep in mind that the last two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, embraced and continue to support policies that were inimical to Israel's very survival. Carter, calling Israel an "apartheid state," has even demanded that it remove its security barrier, which has been proven effective in protecting Israeli citizens. Nor is this of historical interest only: Bill Clinton's surrogate, Hillary, is considered by all the pundits to be the likely Democratic nominee for President in 2008, while Jimmy Carter has been picked to be Honorary Chairman of Democrats Abroad! Voters and observers should keep these facts in mind when they consider the challenges the next US President will have to face: the Iranian nuclear threat, the possible collapse of Pakistan with its Islamic bomb; the resurgence of Russian imperialism; the growing expansionism of the Chinese; Hamastan; the brewing tension with Egypt; and a host of other issues around the globe. Since Israel came into existence in 1948, the Democrat and Republican parties have changed places regarding the Jewish state. Since 1990, the Democratic Party has cooled toward Israel, while the Republicans have shown themselves to be among Israel's staunchest supporters and not with mere rhetoric, but with action. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken before the 2006 mid-term elections found that 84 percent of Republicans said they sympathized more with Israel than with the Arab states, as opposed to only 43% of Democrats. With threats by Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria, Iran and fundamentalist Islam to wipe Israel off the map, American voters cannot afford to place the reins of US foreign policy in the hands of Democrats who lack a clear vision of America's role in today's increasingly complex world. The Republican Party's clear focus on how to deal with these threats has lead the overwhelming majority of American voters in Israel to support the Republican Party in the past several elections. From where we stand here in the Middle East on the edge of the precipice that divides Western civilization from the burgeoning ideological and theological threat of Islamo-Fascism, strong, focused, morally firm leadership is required in Washington and as of this writing, the place where it is most likely to be found is among the many highly qualified Republican candidates for President.