The United States will no longer be present in the places and/or numbers necessary to safeguard our interests around the world. It is predictable that the resulting power vacuums will be filled as such "peace dividend"-induced vacuums have in the past: at our expense and to our detriment.
The administration risks breaking faith with the men and women in uniform by reneging on commitments made in the way of health care, pensions and other benefits. When combined with other assaults on the culture of the military, pursued in furtherance of the administration's domestic political agenda (and without regard for the impact on readiness, recruitment or retention), these changes may make a continuedreliance on an all-volunteer force unsustainable.
The nation's nuclear forces will be allowed to atrophy further through 1) a failure to modernize, test and properly maintain them and 2) as a result of further cuts in their numbers. The latter will probably include the elimination of an entire "leg" of the Strategic Triad. The result will be not the President's publicly stated goal, namely of "ridding the world of nuclear weapons." Rather, it will simply be to rid the United States of its deterrent forces at a time when they are likely to be more needed than ever.
This potentially disastrous aspect of the Obama program for unilateral disarmament is being compounded by one other phenomenon: the President's continuing and deeply ideological hostility towards missile defenses that might mitigate the danger posed by ballistic missiles now proliferating among states - and even terrorist groups like Hezbollah - that are virulently hostile to this country and our friends. Worse yet, the administration is reportedly determined to flout a statute governing the sharing of missile defense-related information and technology with the Russians. In the process, Team Obama will almost surely compromise what little there is of our capabilities to provide defenses against missiles delivering electro-magnetic and other weapons of mass destruction.
We shouldn't kid ourselves. We can walk away from conflicts, but that does not mean they are over. We can hollow out our military but that does not mean that others won't see it as an invitation to pursue their interests - at our expense.
In the past, our so-called "peace dividends" have proven illusory. And we paid not just in national treasure but lives. We literally can't afford to do that again.
The American people and their elected representatives - and those who seek to represent them - must categorically reject the plan for unilateral U.S. disarmament espoused last week by President Obama. If ever there were a time for "peace through strength," this is it.
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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