By all accounts, the 112th Congress is going to be consumed with cutting government spending and creating jobs. This agenda reflects the election campaign of 2010 in which matters of national security featured not at all.
As in the past, however, when the nation and its leaders indulge in the temptation to focus exclusively on domestic matters and ignore present - and growing - dangers, there are usually nasty surprises in store. Such surprises frequently compel the federal government to give urgent attention to its constitutional mandate to "provide for the common defense," often at the expense of fiscal discipline and other priorities.
One need not look too hard to discern the sorts of threats that could well preoccupy official Washington in the months ahead. For example, the Obama administration's much-ballyhooed "reset" in relations with Russia is becoming ever more one-sided as Vladimir Putin cracks down at home and sells dangerous arms to, and otherwise provides diplomatic protection for, the world's most dangerous regimes. And Communist China is operationalizing its ability to engage in what its military planners have described as "unrestricted warfare" - a strategy for using every instrument of power, from traditional and unconventional weaponry to financial attacks and terrorism - to decisively defeat the United States.
Other sources of what would be, at best, instability, and, at worst, war include: a succession crisis in a bankrupt and nuclear-armed North Korea; the prospect of another nuclear-armed nation, Pakistan, becoming a failed state; the Palestinians obtaining international recognition - including quite possibly from President Obama - for their unilaterally declared statehood; meltdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan catalyzed by the U.S. withdrawal from each; and one-time allies in the Far East, Mideast and Latin America adapting to perceived new realities of waning American power and protection. They may manifest this by capitulating to emerging regional hegemons or by arming themselves to the teeth, in some cases at least with nuclear arms. Either way, our interests will likely suffer.
Two national security threats are particularly likely to demand congressional attention in the New Year:
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 .
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Frank Gaffney's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.