Reconciling great power responsibilities with economic stagnation.
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Although there is no guarantee when and if it will do so, we should assume that our economy will recover at some rate. It may take a decade or more to return to a pre-Obama level of prosperity and growth. What, then, shall we do in this period of transition to ensure our nation’s security?
National security is the product of a wide variety of economic, military, diplomatic, and industrial variables. There’s no mathematical formula to compute it, because those variables change constantly. Think of it as a bubbling pot of chemicals that is kept unstable by the constant addition and subtraction of ingredients by us, our allies, and our adversaries.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY doctrine is stated in terms that are almost Churchillian, but it is executed in ways that are at odds with facts, U.S. interests, and what had been American principles.
The president’s defining moment occurred in June 2009 when the Honduran supreme court ordered the removal of President Jose Manuel Zelaya for violating the Honduran constitution by trying to stay in power past his elected term. Obama didn’t stand with freedom-loving Hondurans and for American principle. Instead, he sided with Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, condemning the “coup.”
Obama pushed through Senate confirmation the New START arms control treaty with Russia, which is highly disadvantageous to the U.S. While agreeing to cut our nuclear force, Obama conceded an “interrelationship” between missile defense and strategic arms reduction—a stance the Russians had sought from us since Reagan announced his plan for missile defense decades ago.
Having said the United States has too many nuclear weapons, Obama is now rapidly cutting our nuclear capability. McKeon says it is a major concern to him that our nuclear force is being reduced to the point that it will be too small to accomplish its missions of deterrence and defense. Obama canceled the ground-based missile defense system President Bush promised Poland, and he replaced it with a theoretical sea-based force that the Navy has neither sufficient ships nor missiles to provide.
Throughout Obama’s tenure, American diplomacy has been defined by compromising our interests to other nations’ ambitions. Prime examples are the misbegotten “Law of the Sea Treaty” (which Senate Republicans are confident they can block this year) and the new UN small arms treaty that would erode Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
After his first defense secretary, Robert Gates, said that America had no national security interest in Libya, Obama nevertheless chose to join in the French-British military intervention that helped overthrow Gaddafi.
He has presided over a build-down of our defense capabilities, imposed by cutting budgets and cancelling investment in future weapon systems, which has resulted in the smallest navy in a century and the smallest air force since the Air Force was created. It’s not a simple question of spending. Obama’s choices, propelled by his two defense secretaries and his CIA directors, are reducing our military and intelligence capabilities without regard to the threats we face.
Obama and his congressional cohorts insisted that the 2011 debt ceiling deal threaten “sequestration”—a statutorily imposed decade-long reduction of defense spending authority—in the event that the so-called “supercommittee” could not agree on a comprehensive debt reduction plan. Because Obama insisted that any larger deal include massive tax hikes, the supercommittee failed. Starting in January, unless Congress changes the law, $600 billion in defense spending will be “sequestered” over the next 10 years, in addition to the over $400 billion in cuts Obama already orchestrated.
Before being muzzled by his political bosses, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said that the sequestration budget cuts could cause the U.S. to lose its status as a global power. Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation to relieve the Pentagon of those massive cuts. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claims the Pentagon is unable to plan for the cuts: The legislation requires an across-the-board reduction that would result in breached contracts and canceled weapon systems. Sequestration doesn’t differentiate between reducing fat and cutting muscle.
Buck McKeon told me he sees nothing that will prevent sequestration, which will hollow out our military and be “just devastating.”
Despite these dangers, Obama announced a new global military strategy that appears sound on its face, but that is divorced from reality by the budget cuts he has already imposed and worsened by the future cuts he supports. In the introduction to the Defense Department’s January 2012 white paper entitled “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” Obama wrote, “As we end today’s wars and reshape our Armed Forces, we will ensure that our military is agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies.” The paper’s strategic guidance promises growing strength in the Pacific region, investment in Future technologies, and emphasis on primary missions that range from countering terrorism and projecting power to improving capabilities in cyberwar and space. But these goals are directly contradicted by sequestration and the president’s refusal to pay for them. Obama’s defense strategy is a concatenation of false promises.
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.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online