In recent days, the Obama administration has fired a salvo of national security initiatives: a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), a new National Security Strategy (NSS), and this week's Nuclear Security Summit attended by more than 40 heads of state. What do they add up to? Perhaps the outlines of an Obama Doctrine. And certainly cause for concern.
Start with START. It reduces the strategic nuclear forces of both the U.S. and Russia by about 30 percent. The idea is to set an example and send a message that a nuclear-free world is achievable. That's a lovely vision but which do you think is more likely: that rogue regimes will see these reductions as virtuous and emulate them? Or that they will see these reductions as an opportunity and exploit them?
START also misses this point: The size of America's nuclear arsenal is of concern to global predators - but it's reassuring to those who seek protection from them. As for Russia's strategic nuclear weapons, though they were a primary focus of U.S policy during the Cold War. But in the current era, the critical threats to both national and global security are the fanatic Islamists in Iran who are developing nuclear weapons and the fanatic tyrant in North Korea who already has them.
Despite U.S. diplomatic efforts, China has been protecting Pyongyang while Russia is actively assisting Tehran. Both Russian and Chinese rulers oppose crippling sanctions -- the only remaining non-violent means for changing Iran's behavior. At best, START is like worrying about the guy smoking a stogie in the living room while ignoring the fire engulfing the kitchen.
Next, consider the new NSS, from which such terms as "Islamic extremism" have been stripped. Last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman wrote a letter urging the administration to "identify accurately the ideological source" of the threat against the United States. "This is not honest and, frankly, I think it's hurtful in our relations with the Muslim world," Lieberman said on a Sunday news show. "It's absolutely Orwellian and counterproductive to the fight that we're fighting."
Imagine if President Roosevelt had decided not to speak about German Nazism, lest he offend Germans who were not Nazis, nor utter the words "Italian Fascism" since not all Italians were of the Fascist persuasion, and of course refrained from mentioning Japanese militarism ... you get the idea.