As modern day activists struggle for their fundamental human rights, it is our duty to speak out on their behalf and, where possible, provide assistance. That is why when we fail to adequately assist the embryonic Libyan government in confronting instability in that country, ignore the plight of persecuted minorities in Egypt and elsewhere, or neglect to stand up to tyrants like Vladimir Putin in Russia, we are in danger of losing part of ourselves.

Of course, the United States can’t be involved in every conflict or solve every problem. But our failure to address our fiscal problems at home has unfortunately given our allies — whether longstanding ones like Israel, or potential future partners in the Middle East and Asia — cause to question our staying power and commitment to their security and our shared ideals.

There is no question we need to get our fiscal house in order. But we cannot do so by sacrificing our national security and by forcing our men and women in uniform to bear the brunt of paying to fix a debt problem they did not cause. Congressional Republicans have proposed ways to offset the sequester, automatic budget cuts set to go into effect next month. It’s time for the president to propose a way forward other than just raising taxes.