Titled "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," the 16-page document is the result of a "fundamental review" ordered by the White House in April. It purports to provide a strategic framework for addressing present and future threats to the United States and the means of protecting the nation from them now that the "tide of war" in Iraq and Afghanistan is receding. It doesn't live up to the hype.
In a letter accompanying the review, the president claims it was "shaped by America's enduring national security interests." At the Pentagon briefing Jan. 5, he insisted, "The size and the structure of our military and defense budgets have to be driven by a strategy, not the other way around." He also issued a stunning rebuke to his predecessors: "We have to remember the lessons of history. We can't afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past -- after World War II, after Vietnam -- when our military was left ill-prepared for the future."
We can count on seeing video of those words repeated ad nauseam in "re-elect" campaign commercials this summer. But his own "priorities" document makes clear that Obama plans to double down on the "mistakes of the past." He claims that it is now a "national security imperative" to reduce our federal deficit "through a lower level of defense spending." That's a strategy driven by dollars -- not by the threats and risks we face.
For more than 70 years, the size, structure and capabilities of our military have been driven by retaining the capacity to fight a two-front war. That's how we won World War II, deterred Soviet aggression during the Cold War and eventually brought down the "Evil Empire." This archaic "peace through strength" strategy is not part of the new "Obama Doctrine."
According to POTUS and Secretary Panetta, the "Joint Force for the future" will be "smaller and leaner, but will be agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced." They also claim that our austere military "will be prepared to confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world." All this embraces the idea that we can fight our enemies at the times and places of our own choosing.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.