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Defending Defense: Practicality v. Popularity, Rationality v. Rhetoric

Over at The Tank on National Review Online, I've dropped a few thoughts about the looming - and likely massive - cuts in the Defense Department budget under the new Obama administration. By 'Fettering' the 'Unfettered' Defense Budget, President-elect Obama's stated plans for Defense cuts are - as stated - untimely and dangerous.

It is indeed unfortunate, to put a kind face on it, that "all manner of things are on the table for additional federal funds and a bailout already expanding beyond the already offensive scope and depth. Your Defense Department, however, is to be constricted and slashed."

During the campaign, Mr. Obama pledged that he "will not develop new nuclear weapons, I will seek a ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBM's off hair-trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal."

The alertly observant will note that Russia has already begun the negotiations. Russia's plans to place missile systems next to Poland were not announced the day after Barack Obama's American election by chance. Russia is probing the new lines.

Now is certainly not the time - if there ever is one - for such deep cuts and transitioning these pledges into policy.

As my friend Ralph Peters said succinctly before the election, America's Burden is that "[w]e're condemned to lead." And leadership is not a popularity contest.

Here's hoping that with the burden of leadership soon squarely on Barack Obama's shoulders, some of his most important policy decisions will defy his campaign rhetoric.

1 Comment

It is indeed a scary outlook. There are many elements of what the new Administration may do to the Defense Department. The question, as you put it, is whether policies will meet campaign rhetoric. As I discussed last week, one of my personal concerns is the Future Warfighter program, although there are definitely other components about which others might be more concerned.

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