Anti-defense leftists, ranging from Obama Administration officials to POGO and TCS anti-defense hacks constantly lecture the military and the public to do away with “outmoded strategies” and “Cold War relics” and do adopt new nat-sec policies which will purportedly protect the country better in the 21st century.
But an unbiased, holistic look at these policies, their fanciful assumptions, their utterly flawed roots, and at the proven, tested, successful defense and foreign policies the US was using not that long ago reveals that the “outmoded strategies” and “Cold War relics” these hacks deride are actually successful, proven strategies and assets, while their policies are unproven theories produced by leftist social science theorists. Many of these theories have never been tested in the real world, and those that have been have failed abysmally. Let’s see how the Left has trashed the proven, successful defense and foreign policies that served America well for decades and have replaced them with disastrous policies.
1) Nuclear deterrence
For 64 years, prior to Obama’s inauguration, the foundation of America’s security – before, during, and after the Cold War – had been the principle of nuclear deterrence. This principle postulated that the US must have enough nuclear weapons to deter any hostile power, including Moscow and, since 1964, Beijing. Accordingly, the US had to had as many nuclear weapons as they had, if not more, and have the most advanced ones. Since the 1950s, it has been required to have a nuclear triad, as that is the most survivable type of a nuclear deterrent.
But Obama has scrapped that policy and replaced it with a fantasy of a “nuclear-free world” and attempting to achieve that by unilaterally disarming the US, in the naive belief that if the US disarms itself unilaterally, other countries will follow suit. His fans in arms control organizations share that fantasy and have openly said so.
That fantasy has utterly failed and was doomed to fail. Nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. There will NEVER be a nuclear-free world. And Obama has utterly failed to even stop, let alone roll back, nuclear proliferation: Iran is speeding towards a nuclear weapon, North Korea is further perfecting its own, while Russia, China, and Pakistan are expanding their nuclear arsenals and adding warhead carriers of growing accuracy, carrying capacity, range, evasion capability, and sophistication, in growing numbers.
Furthermore, if the US cuts its nuclear arsenal below the current level – which is already inadequate (or just barely adequate, if you ask the current STRATCOM commander, his predecessor, and former SECDEF James Schlesinger) – it will cause America’s allies to doubt its credibility and force them to develop their own nuclear weapons, thus causing MORE proliferation. While Russia and China are a threat to many and protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella for itself and over 30 allies.
It is sometimes alleged that relying on nuclear deterrence is “Cold War thinking” while conducting deep nuclear cuts is a new, 21st century policy, or “fresh thinking”. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the concept of nuclear deterrence was formulated – and proven beyond all doubt – during the Cold War, it is as (if not more) relevant to today’s threat environment as to that of the Cold War.
Today, the US has to deter Russia (which has reached parity with the US in strategic, and retains its vast advantage in tactical, nuclear weapons), China (which has up to 3000 nuclear warheads, as confirmed by two independent studies), North Korea (which has ~12 warheads), and Iran. Deterring so many diverse adversaries – especially Russia and China – requires a large nuclear arsenal, larger than America’s current one. Diplomacy has utterly failed to mollify them, and sanctions haven’t changed Pyongyang’s or Tehran’s behavior one bit. Only a nuclear deterrent can protect America and its allies against them. As former Strategic Air Command leader and CSAF Gen. Larry Welch has said, the nuclear deterrent is America’s only weapon which has a perfect, 66-year-long record of never failing and providing security.
Nuclear disarmament proponents falsely claim their policy is “fresh thinking” and that “fresh thinking is in order”, but their policy is hardly fresh. It is THEIR policy that is outdated. It’s the same old tired policy that the US has been trying for 22 years: deep cuts in its own nuclear arsenal and hoping that the rest of the world will follow suit. It has shown itself to be an utter failure over the last 22 years as the number of nuclear-armed states and nuclear arsenals outside the US and Russia have grown steadily (and now, Russia is growing its arsenal as well). By contrast, nuclear deterrence underpinned by a large nuclear arsenal is a proven policy which has NEVER failed and which is even more relevant today than during the Cold War, given that the US now has to deter Russia AND China AND North Korea AND Iran.
2) A strong Navy vs a useless treaty
For centuries, the US has enjoyed access to the world’s sealanes, but that was only because there were strong Navies (European ones, and later, the US Navy) which kept these sealanes secure. The only way to keep them that way is to have a large, strong Navy that can deter and, if necessary, punish pirates and aggressors. Treaties are useless if there’s no one to enforce them.
But the Obama Administration has now replaced that policy with a push for to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, which President Reagan rejected and would again reject today if he were alive today. The treaty would transfer America’s sovereignty to the UN and allow it to tax the American people without their consent. Even worse, it would subject America to unelected, unconstitutional arbitrage tribunals whose rulings the US would always have to accept even though they would likely be determined by Chinese coercion and bribery.
Meanwhile, China has announced that as far as its maritime disputes with other countries and its territorial ambitions go, it will not accept any arbitrage from any UN court or agency.
Yet, the Obama Admin still insists that the US should ratify that useless treaty rather than build a strong Navy. Their shipbuilding plan calls for building so few ships that the Navy (especially its CG/DDG and submarine fleets) will decline dramatically by the 2030s. That will inevitably lead to an inferior, woefully inadequate Navy and encourage troublemakers from China to Somalian pirates to harrass civilian ships around the world.
It is sometimes ridiculously claimed that ship numbers don’t matter because toda’s American ships are more advanced than those of yesteryear. Besides the fact that Chinese ships are even more advanced, one warship – no matter how good it is – can be in only one place at any given time. It cannot be in two places simoultaneously. Yet, the world is huge and hasn’t gotten any smaller since the 1980s, when the USN’s size peaked and then began to shrink.
3) Killing next-generation aircraft and insistence on using obsolete, substandard aircraft
Defense cuts advocates also claim that the US doesn’t need stealthy next generation aircraft such as the F-22, F-35, and Next Gen Bomber and can afford to use obsolete, substandard aircraft like the Super Bug, the F-16, the B-1, and the B-52 for several more decades.
But it can’t, because these aircraft are quite inferior to their Russian/Chinese counterparts and completely unsurvivable in today’s threat environment infested with modern Russian and Chinese fighters (e.g. the Flanker family and the J-10) and SAM systems (e.g. the S-300, S-400 and HQ-9), whose radar can detect, and whose missiles can shoot down, these obsolete aircraft with large radar signatures from very long ranges. These obsolete aircraft are unsurvivable and thus useless in any environment where the enemy can contest control of the air. For operations in such environments, these obsolete aircraft effectively don’t exist. Sending them into such airspace would mean a deathn sentence for them and their crews. That, not purchasing stealthy aircraft, would be a waste of money.
Yet, defense cutters insist on killing the F-35 and the Next Gen Bomber before they even fly. They’ve already managed to kill the F-22.
In summation, people who call America’s decades’ old, proven, tested policies “outmoded” don’t know what they’re talking about, and the policies they propose as replacement are unproven and would be disastrous, as they would strip America of its military teeth and substitute unilateral arms reduction and substandard conventional weapons for it.