If you think Chuck Hagel is inept now, wait until he collides with sequestration.
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In short, Obama’s strategy cannot — as General Dempsey has said — be supported by so small a military. We will, as Dempsey has also said, have to give up certain missions. But which ones? If we abandon Europe entirely — breaking Obama’s promise to Poland, ending our failing NATO alliance — the military will still be unable to protect American interests and allies in the Pacific region.
Our adversaries know this. Last week, Russian jets circled our exposed forces in Guam. China is building new stealthy aircraft, new submarines and surface ships equipped with new ship-killing missiles to deny us the ability to interfere with its ambitions. It is also conducting an aggressive cyberwar against us with espionage and interference with the functioning of essential satellites.
How will Obama and Hagel deal with China’s aggression around Japan’s Senkaku Islands if it flares into war? We don’t have — and cannot afford to build — the ships and aircraft it will take to deal with this crisis, or with North Korea’s threats to target America with nuclear armed missiles. Which leads us to the third problem Hagel will face.
To put it bluntly, Hagel isn’t equipped by intelligence, experience, or expertise to deal simultaneously with the threats we face even with a fully-equipped, trained, and ready military. Hagel was a deer in the headlights in his confirmation hearing. He will be the weakest defense secretary since Clinton appointed former congressman Les Aspin to the Pentagon’s top job.
Aspin will be an unfortunate role model for Hagel. When Aspin was secretary of defense, as I’ve learned from people who were in high Pentagon positions at the time, he would rush in every morning and undo every decision that had been made the day before. Aspin tossed everything up in the air every day. But it was peacetime, and Aspin had a strong military around him that prevented his mismanagement from causing a real disaster.
Hagel will take over in the midst of a war, and on the brink of more and larger conflicts. He won’t make decisions unless Obama dictates them. And the military won’t object. They’ve neutered themselves by not not refusing to go along with what Obama has already done. To his credit, Gen. Dempsey warned Congress last week that the Pentagon can’t give Congress one more dollar in cuts. But he won’t do what is required to make the point.
It’s been seventeen years since a general resigned rather than go along with a decision he believed was wrong. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ron Fogelman quit rather than blame an innocent man for the Khobar Towers bombing. No general or admiral since has had that courage.
With the weakest defense secretary in two decades and a careerist military, Obama will continue our gradual abdication of the role of a superpower. Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and China — just to name the obvious — will continue their aggression unchecked.
Policy without money to accomplish it is as weak and ineffectual as diplomacy unsupported by military force. Obama’s policies are bankrupt in both regards.
We are entering an era of instability and war that will accelerate a global realignment dominated by our enemies. With Obama and Hagel in charge for the next four years, that realignment will mean that the 21st century will belong to them unless their successors can revive both our economy and our defenses. The longer it takes to begin that revival, the less possible it will be to accomplish.
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?
H/T to National Review Online