It presages American global retreat and decline.
This week’s release of the Obama administration budget reveals, not surprisingly, that defense and national security are being shortchanged (again) so that the White House can focus on its real priority — which is not to assert American leadership abroad, but rather to manage American decline and to address domestic concerns.
Of course, you wouldn’t know this from reading or listening to the lapdog legacy media, which uncritically parrots Obama administration talking points. Reuters, for instance, reports that “Obama seeks record $708 billion in defense budget.”
MSNBC agrees: “Obama wants $33 billion more for wars,” it intones — and this “comes on top of [a] record $708-billion request for next year.” Is “Obama a hawk?” asks Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman.
The answer is no, not at all. In fact, as James Jay Carafano points out, Obama “is cutting the defense budget, both in real dollar terms and as a percent of the economy… The average Pentagon budget for the period covering fiscal years 2011 through 2028 will be $50 billion less in real dollars than its current estimate for this fiscal year,” Carafano notes.
Historical perspective and contextual understanding also are required. Obama, remember, inherited two wars, an omnipresent terror threat, and the greatest military in the history of the world. So it is not surprising that as president, and as commander-in-chief, he hasn’t simply and recklessly dismantled and disarmed the U.S. military.
Yet, that seems to be the ridiculous and ahistorical standard against which the media judge the president. And, of course, given this standard (or grading curve), the president looks like a stellar performer and a strong commander-in-chief.
Give Obama credit for not being reckless; he is not. If he were reckless, then he would have foolishly and precipitously withdrawn troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama, however, has not done that; in fact, quite the opposite: He has sent tens upon thousands of more troops to Afghanistan and is adhering, essentially, to the Bush administration’s deliberative, conditions-based plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq.
The president recognizes that a sudden and precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan would be an unmitigated national security disaster for the United States.
But while Obama is not reckless, neither is an internationalist who believes in the importance of American global leadership. Obama’s defense budget, moreover, reflects his unwillingness to exercise U.S. military power.
How else to explain a defense budget that, as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), ranks among the smallest we have seen since before World War II?
How else to explain the refusal to significantly expand the size of our ground forces for this era of persistent military engagement, which requires “boots on the ground”?
How else to explain the failure to seriously modernize a legacy military — and especially our ground forces — for 21st century conflicts?
How else to explain killing key weapon systems — like the Army’s Future Combat Systems and the Air Force’s C-17 jet transport aircraft — which are absolutely essential to today’s conflicts (in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti), as well as likely future contingencies?
No, Obama is doing what he must to avoid being reckless; however, he is not doing what he must to maintain American military preeminence and American global leadership — and he candidly admits this.
“The nation that I’m most interested in building is our own,” he told the West Point cadets during his 1 December 2009 speech. Consequently,
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?