Two recent episodes offer an insight into a world in which the United States deliberately adopts a policy of pursuing international peace despite weakness, rather than practice what Ronald Reagan called “peace through strength.”
First, prior to and during Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates‘ present trip to communist China, his hosts lifted the veil of secrecy on a brand new, fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. This J-20 is clearly intended to compete with, and perhaps defeat, America’s inventory of such planes - the F-22, whose production Mr. Gates insisted on terminating prematurely, and the F-35, whose production he is now slowing.
U.S. intelligence evidently was taken by surprise that the Chinese have made such progress in so sophisticated an area of military design and manufacturing. In part, faulty estimates about the likelihood of “peer competitors” fielding stealthy air-superiority fighters and the like have been used to justify - or at least rationalize - the sorts of unilateral-disarmament-measures-via-budget-cuts that Mr. Gates is affording President Obama the political cover to make.
As it happens, a further pall was cast on the Pentagon chief’s visit to the Middle Kingdom by another revelation: Just after Christmas, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Robert F. Willard, revealed that Beijing had achieved “initial operational status” on a new ballistic missile designed to destroy aircraft carriers at sea at ranges up to 2,000 miles from China.
The technical term for these sorts of developments is “game-changers”: They are clearly meant to threaten access to and freedom of operation in the Western Pacific for the United States‘ most important power-projection forces.
Second, The Washington Times‘ Bill Gertz revealed last week that the chief of the Russian armed forces staff had just made a no-less-portentous announcement: Gen. Nikolai Makarov declared that his country would have by 2020 an “impenetrable” defense against missile attack: “The state will have an umbrella over it which will defend it against ballistic missile attacks, medium-range missiles, air-based cruise missiles, sea-based cruise missiles and ground-based cruise missiles, including missiles flying at extremely low altitudes, at any time and in any situation.”
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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