Defending America Takes More Than "Hope"
Speaking to veterans at the American Legion conference this week, President Obama said, “Today, every American can be proud that the United States is safer, stronger and more respected in the world.”
That’s quite a statement from a President who has granted legitimacy to extremist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and promised the Russians he would be “flexible” toward their demands on missile defense, while slighting American allies like Poland and the Czech Republic.
Heritage defense experts call Obama’s defense strategy “a strategy of hope“: “a hope that big wars are a thing of the past; a hope that America’s allies will do more; and a hope that fewer resources do not jeopardize the lives of American soldiers.”
These are flimsy hopes in the face of hostile nations and terrorist groups that want nothing more than the destruction of America.
If we do not reverse course—strengthening our military instead of gutting it, providing true security for our allies, and getting real about the groups that want us dead—the cost will be American lives.
The Administration has made a lot of noise about “pivoting” America’s security focus toward Asia. It is a vital region, but Obama’s policies of cutting the size of the military are the opposite of what we need to secure the country’s interests around the world. Heritage’s Bruce Klingner and Dean Cheng explain:
A smaller Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps means a reduced U.S. presence overseas and, due to an even higher operational tempo, a greater strain on existing forces and equipment. Underfunding defense requirements could restrict potential U.S. policy options and increase the danger to U.S. forces during any future Asian engagements. And, ultimately, the price of such underfunding will be mission failure or American servicemen’s lives.
Though Asia is important, the American homeland is still a target for terrorists, and terrorists are still training in the Middle East. Heritage’s James Carafano has warned that “President Obama’s determination to pull out from Afghanistan means the U.S. will leave the field with the enemy still standing.” While al-Qaeda affiliates in Iraq are continuing violence daily, Carafano says that in Afghanistan, “after the American withdrawal, the Taliban may well sweep back and re-establish control of parts of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda could well follow, even as it continues to build up bases of operations elsewhere, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.”
As it stands now, America faces these threats with a military that is being hollowed out. Terrorists continue to try attacking us here at home. Our leaders must make defending America a priority and commit the resources to meet its challenges both at home and abroad.
As Carafano put it, “A belligerently aggressive Iran…an anti-democratic Russia…an expansive China…a wet-behind-the-ears ‘Dear Leader’ in North Korea…enduring threats from narco-terrorists and Islamist terrorists…there is every sign that, when Obama’s four years are up, the world will be a potentially far more dangerous place than it was when he first took office.”