Sixty years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced to the nation in one of his famous "fireside chats" that America must be "the great arsenal of democracy." It was a visionary and, at the time, controversial declaration that a nation dead-set against becoming entangled in the war then-consuming Europe must nonetheless help arm democratic nations fighting for their survival. This initiative proved critical to Britain's defense in the run-up to Pearl Harbor, at which point the United States became decisively not just the Free World's armory, but its savior.
Today, we find another country putting its formidable military-industrial complex in the service of others around the globe. The arsenal is Russia's, the recipients are virtually without exception the world's most dangerous enemies of freedom. This practice is making a mockery of President Obama's much-touted "reset" of relations with the Kremlin - including, notably, the new, bilateral START Treaty. It also increases exponentially the dangers associated with his policy of "engaging" rogue states, a practice that is simply affording them time to buy ever-more-advanced and -deadly weapons from Moscow.
Consider just a few examples of the Arsenal for Roguery at work, and its implications for our security, and that of what's left of the Free World:
* Even as the President continues to claim that the Russians are willing to be more helpful in getting tougher UN sanctions on Iran, the Kremlin is allowing the nuclear reactor it previously sold Tehran to be brought on line. It is pledging to complete the transfer of advanced S-300 air defense systems, which will greatly complicate - if not effectively preclude -- aerial attacks by the Israelis or U.S. forces aimed at destroying that facility and others associated with the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
* Russia is also selling the S-300 to Syria. This is important because the Syrians have justly been put on notice by Israel that they would be subjected to retaliatory strikes in the event Russian-designed (and perhaps -supplied?) Scud missiles transferred recently by Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon are used against the Jewish state. Such Russian protection may embolden Syria to believe that it can unleash with impunity death and destruction on Israel (perhaps by using Scud-delivered biological or chemical weapons) via its terrorist proxies - and Iran's.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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