“Le moment de vérité est arrivé.”

Several times during my lifetime, when challenged, I have used that French phrase. Perhaps it comes to me because of my DNA (a Franco-American mother), a wife named Gabrielle or from excelling in French class for four years.

“The moment of truth has indeed arrived,” I thought as I watched in horror the live coverage of terror unfolding in Paris, as the City of Lights dimmed.

Later, in the Democratic debate, I heard leading presidential contender Hillary Clinton say, “This is not our fight.” Our president, Barack Obama, just 12 hours before the carnage in Paris had said, “ISIS has been contained.”

I began to become frightened that America’s void of leadership and lack of understanding of the real threat from radical Islamists has brought us to a point of great vulnerability. Obama and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders think that “climate change” is still the No. 1 threat to our country. Meanwhile, Obama remains extremely sensitive to his need not to offend Muslims in general.

The terrorist attack in Paris is a game-changer. I hope the nightmare there will serve as a sharp wake-up call, and produce an effective plan to destroy those who seek to destroy us.

One thing is certain, the slaughter in France turns the spotlight back on defense of our country, and the safety of our residents as the No. 1 political issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Democratic primary is a showcase and coronation for Clinton, so the question now becomes, is she the most worthy to be our next commander-in-chief because of her past experience as secretary of state, or does that very record disqualify her in light of the Benghazi debacle and her emails controversy? I believe voters next November will decide on the latter point of view and select a new leader from the opposing party.

What effect on the Republican field of candidates will the new urgency of emphasis on national defense have?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signaled the political turn of events with a stem-winder speech at the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, Florida. Christie knocked everybody’s socks off in that fiery, patriotic fusillade against the animals who perpetrated the massacre in Paris. Christie established himself in that speech as a strong leader capable of being commander-in-chief. The content of the under-reported rousing speech, along with his outstanding performance as winner on the undercard in the most recent Republican debate, could be sufficient to cause GOP voters to take a second look at Christie before counting him out.

Candidates’ chances affected positively by the awful events in Paris include Marco Rubio, whose understanding of foreign policy and position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee place him at the top of the qualifications list. His uncanny predictions of what moves made in Syria and elsewhere by Russia’s Vladimir Putin would likely mean to the morass in the Middle East have proven to be spot on. No other candidate seems to articulate a plan for fighting and crushing ISIS any better.

Another candidate who probably benefits now is long-shot Jeb Bush, based on his knowledge of foreign policy and strong, sensible approaches to it.

One thing should now be obvious: Neither Donald Trump nor Ben Carson can be considered safe as a potential commander-in-chief given their specious statements on foreign policy and lack of practical experience in that field.

Trump would indiscriminately “bomb the hell out of all of them.” Carson scratches his head trying to figure it all out.

The Republican field, now of necessity centered on the imminent terrorist threat to America and the world, likely will be winnowed to Rubio as a frontrunner, with some newfound life for Christie’s candidacy, while Bush begins to look better to some voters. Even military hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham’s message will gain a wider audience.

Rand Paul’s candidacy, bordering on “isolationism,” may now be finished, and the new emphasis on candidates strongest on national defense is not going to help ultraconservative Ted Cruz, who generally is opposed to increased military spending.

Yes, the moment of truth is here. The fight belongs to all of humanity, to every country that still values freedom. It’s time to find that new American leader who with strength and resolve can lead the fight for the salvation of mankind. With the strongest possible coalition of countries — let’s take the fight to the enemy with force, dispatch and urgency.

The barbarians are at the gate. Vive la France and God bless America.

Don Roberts, a former city councilor and former vice chairman of the Charter Commission in Augusta, is a trustee of the Greater Augusta Utility District.

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