Ambinder’s litany of lies


Yet another anti-defense liberal has utterly discredited himself: Marc Ambinder, a contributor for the liberal “The Atlantic” mag.

Ambinder replied to the factually-accurate critique of the New START Treaty, written by Mitt Romney, with a litany of lies.

Firstly, Ambinder claimed that “Today, two serious critics took aim at Mitt Romney’s op-ed on arms control — and the former Massachusetts governor got zinged. Sen. John Kerry, who is sheparding the new START treaty through the Senate, and Fred Kaplan (writing at Slate) took apart Romney’s assertions point-by-point. Kaplan wrote that he had never seen anything as “thoroughly ignorant.” And Kaplan is can’t be dismissed as a liberal about matters of war.”

Neither John Kerry nor Fred Kaplan is a serious critic, or even a serious person. Both of them are ideologically-driven strident liberals (the very fact that Kaplan endorsed the START treaty, and the fact that he writes for Slate, a liberal magazine, proved that he’s a liberal on defense issues – no real conservative would ever endorse the New START Treaty). They did not “took apart Romney’s assertions”, and the former MA governor didn’t get zinged – they utterly failed to disprove any of his points. Furthermore, the Heritage Foundation disproved every single one of Kerry’s claims about the New START Treaty on its website.

Not that I’d be surprised, though. Kerry is an ideological opponent of a strong national defense who has worked to unilaterally disarm the US military during his entire political career, ever since his VVAW days. The former Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller, rightly spoke of Kerry:

“They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace — they were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war — they were wrong. And no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons systems that won the Cold War and that are now winning the war on terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security. But Americans need to know the facts.”

A few months after Miller uttered these words, the American people rejected John Kerry as a presidential candidate. The only reason why Kerry remains a senator is that the loony-liberal populace of his home state continues to reelect him.

Ambinder falsely claimed that Romney’s “errors of facts are telling”. Yet the one who has made errors of fact is Ambinder, not Romney.

Ambinder claimed that “Take, for example, Romney’s assertion that the U.S. is giving up more than Russia in terms of arsenal reduction: “We give; Russia gets.” This is nominally true in a way that ultimately undermines Romney’s point. First, as Kaplan and others note, the treaty calls for Russia to reduce its missile launchers to a certain number, and the US. is going to wind up actually destroying more launchers than Russia.”

Actually, under the treaty, Russia is not obliged to scrap even ONE launcher because, as Ambinder himself conceded, Russia already has fewer launchers (as defined by the New START Treaty, which excludes Russian Tu-22M strategic bombers) than the limit allowed by the New START Treaty (700 launchers per side), while America has more than the allowed limit. So Romney was right to say that “We give, Russia gets” – America’s arsenal of launchers will be significantly reduced merely to please the Russians (who want America to weaken its own military); under that treaty, as Romney correctly noted, Russia will be allowed to increase its number of launchers (which it does intend to do, contrary to Ambinder’s denial), while America will be forced to reduce its fleet of launchers.

Ambinder falsely claimed that “The 700 launcher limit was given to the treaty negotiators by the U.S. government’s nuclear war planners. Secondly, given the current state of the arsenals the treaty requires, Russia will have to reduce more deployed warheads than the U.S. So Russia gives; the U.S. gets?”

The 700-launcher limit was dictated by the Russians, not proposed by American nuclear planners. It was dictated by the Russians, whose goal was (and is) to significantly reduce the American arsenal of launchers, thus severely weakening the US military, which is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities. American officials proposed a much higher limit of launchers – 1150-1200 – and it was the Russians who demanded a reduction. After the treaty was signed, a high-ranking Russian official commented that “Russia got from this treaty everything it asked for”. Ambinder’s claim that “Russia gives, America gets” is also false. The treaty doesn’t force Russia to eliminate more deployed nuclear warheads than the US – it actually forces Russia to make smaller reductions than those America would make, and the definition of a “strategic nuclear warhead” of this treaty is so convoluted that it enables Russia to avoid any reductions of its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal – Russia could simply argue that its over-the-limit warheads are tactical nukes, which are not subject to the treaty’s limits.

Without this treaty and Obama’s other unilateral disarmament policies, America would, of course, retain a larger arsenal of launchers than Russia – and that is exactly Romney’s point! Mitt Romney and I want America to enjoy a huge advantage in terms of the number of launchers (and in terms of every other category of weapons). Ambinder, Kerry and Kaplan, on the other hand, want America to ratify an unfavorable treaty that would disarm the US military unilaterally. And given what Zell Miller said about John Kerry, I’m not surprised.

Ambinder dismissed Romney’s foreign policy principle that “America’s national security must never be impinged by its obligations to any other state. Doing so fundamentally projects weakness and subjects American actions to the veto of other nations. ” Yet that principle is right, because the overriding concern of any president should be whether America is safe, and not any obligations to any foreign state, let alone a hostile one. And yes, subordinating a safe America to treaty obligations does “fundamentally project weakness”, and it does give foreign nations a veto over American policies.

Ambinder falsely claimed that “This isn’t unilateralism per se as much as it is an effort to forcefully reorganize the world to fit the contours of a different era, one in which the U.S. and China, for example, were not economic competitors, in which India did not steal high-tech jobs from the U.S., in which Russia felt constrained to assert its own interests outside the sphere of the former Soviet Union.” and called it “peacockery” while Kaplan called it “swagger”.

Romney’s foreign policy has nothing to do with the Cold War; it is designed for today’s era, the 21st century. And yes, China is America’s #1 economic competitor (and simoultaneously, a military rival) – but a strong national defense would only HELP America face off China, rather than constrain the US economy (remember, America’s current defense budget is only 3.65% of GDP). If Ambinder’s concern is China, he needs to learn that it is foolish for America to constrain its nuclear arsenal with a treaty to which China isn’t even a signatory, let alone a treaty as unfavorable to the US as this one.

Ambinder, Kerry and Kaplan are the ones whose foreign policy was designed for the Cold War – the era when millions of people feared a Soviet-American nuclear war. Their foreign policy was, of course, a recipe for failure even as a Cold War policy (disarmament treaties are even older than that), but what was good or bad for the Cold War era is nowadays an academic issue. (As a historian myself, I don’t consider this to be a derisory statement, merely a statement of fact.) The 21st century is a new era, one during which America is facing a wide range of foes: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria – and the only way to protect America (and its allies) from these foes is to provide a strong national defense, including a large nuclear arsenal. Disarmament treaties are totally unsuited for this (or any other) era.

Ambinder also falsely claimed that “The START treaty does interlink the U.S. with Russia in several ways that Romney might find distasteful. But it also binds the countries closer together in ancillary ways that make the world safer: it fosters cooperation in getting other countries to give up their fissile materials; it allows for dialogue on issues like tactical nukes.”

Actually, the START treaty won’t make the world safer anyhow. It will not “foster cooperation”, it will not convince (nor force) any other countries to give up their fissile materials or nuclear weapons, it won’t convince nonviolator countries to pressure (let alone punish) rogue states (such as Iran or North Korea), and it won’t spur any dialogue about tactical nukes.

Ambinder then claimed that “The treaty was never intended to address the issue of tactical nukes — that’s much more difficult. Romney complains that there is no mention of these nukes in the treaty, but that, in and of itself, contradicts the main point that he’s making: that Obama is giving away too much. Had Obama elected to add tactical nukes to the table, that would be — well, probably a treaty killer.”

Good! Anything that would “kill” this treaty would be good. Any treaty which excludes tactical nuclear weapons (in terms of which Russia enjoys a huge advantage on the order of ca. 12,000 warheads to America’s 300) is deliberately designed to favor Russia – as this treaty proves.

Ambinder then ridiculously wrote that: “Romney believes that U.S. interests are best served if Russia lives in fear of the U.S., rather than both countries feeling as if their equities are served by a stable nuclear relationship. Here, Romney might want to channel his inner Ronald Reagan, that apostate on arms control, or even the Republican foreign policy consensus that has developed around arms control.”

America’s interests are best served if its enemies fear it, because then they know that they cannot afford to attack the US and secretly respect America. As for “arms control” (read: disarmament), it is a blueprint for disaster. “Arms control policies” have abysmally failed to prevent any wars, and they’ve abysmally failed to prevent dictators and America’s enemies from arming themselves – because no dictator and no rogue state honors such treaties. If he/it wishes to arm himself/itself, he/it simply violates it, as was the case with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (which violated both SALT Treaties and the Limited Test Ban Treaty). Pre-WW2 disarmament treaties, such as the Versailles Treaty, the Washington Naval Treaty and the London Naval Treaties, abysmally failed to prevent WW2, the bloodiest war ever, and it happened exactly because Western countries such as the US, Britain and France were unilaterally disarming themselves while Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were creating massive arsenals and mighty militaries.

Ambinder falsely claimed that there is a “Republican consensus on arms control” – actually, many credible Republicans, including Romney, Palin, Huckabee, Frank Gaffney and Jon Kyl oppose “arms control policies”. Kyl even hailed nuclear weapons as deterrents.

Ambinder tried to hide behind Ronald Reagan, but Reagan did not sign any disarmament treaties that were unfavorable to the US – he signed the INF Treaty (which forced the Kremlin to eliminate more missiles than the US) and proposed the START-1 Treaty, which also forced Moscow to make bigger reductions than those imposed on the US (because the Kremlin had a larger amount of nuclear warheads and delivery systems). Also, Reagan never surrendered any component of America’s missile defense (contrary to the demands of Gorbachev), and neither did George HW Bush. In 1987, Reagan forced Gorbachev to agree to sign the INF treaty while accepting the fact that the White House would continue the SDI program.

The INF Treaty was totally different from the New START Treaty.

Ambinder then falsely claimed that “For Romney to make a clean break with Obama, he needs to explain why Stephen Hadley (who is critical of some parts of the treaty but not with the philosophy that underpins it), Henry Kissinger, James Baker, James Schlesinger, and Richard Lugar, among others, are approaching START from such a different vantage point.”

That is a ridiculous statement. Hadley was the NS Advisor of President Bush and one of the people who advocated an appeasement policy towards Russia (remember when Bush invited Putin to Kennebunkport, despite Putin’s comparisons of America towards Nazi Germany?), so I’m not surprised that he supports the ridiculous “disarmament will make the world safer” philosophy on which the START treaty is based. Richard Lugar is a strident liberal rightly despised by most Republicans and he loves disarmament treaties. James Baker was the Secretary of State of President Bush I – he’s a liberal Republican who, like Lugar, loves disarmament treaties. As for Henry Kissinger – don’t make me laugh. Kissinger is the author of the failed detente policy – an utterly discredited appeasement policy implemented by him in 1969, when he became Nixon’s de facto Secretary of State (he formally became SecState in 1973). His appeasement policy utterly failed, imperiled America, accepted the Cold War division of Europe as permanent, and emboldened America’s enemies while America was unilaterally disarming itself under the false “Guns vs butter” slogan. His policy was proven wrong time after time, and crashed in ruins in 1979, when the emboldened Soviet military invaded Afghanistan, thus making the first step towards the Persian Gulf.

For anyone to claim that Kissinger is an authority of foreign policy issues is ridiculous. Kissinger is an incompetent politician who should be imprisoned for the perils he brought on the US.

Ambinder also falsely claimed that “In point of fact, the START treaty is rather anodyne. U.S. missile defense prerogatives are built in to its preamble. The Secretary of Defense supports it, as does the entire nuclear bureaucracy.”

There are NO American missile defense prerogatives built into any part of that treaty. The truth is that the preamble actually links nuclear weapons with missile defenses and calls for reductions of both, while the articles of the treaty (most notoriously, the 5th Article) prohibit America to develop (or build up) its missile defense any further and do not allow for any interpretation or exceptions. They also impose specific restrictions on missile defense – for example, America would be prohibited to use ICBM silos for missile interceptors. As for “the Secretary of Defense”, the current SECDEF, Robert Gates, he’s obedient to Obama (he needs to be – by law, the President makes decisions and the SECDEF merely executes them), and like Obama himself, Gates favors disarmament policies. He wrongly claims that such policies “strengthen America’s defense”.

Ambinder falsely claimed that “In any event, Romney is signaling that he’d take American foreign policy in a radical old direction, back to the days of confrontation and brinksmanship. This re-Boltonization on arms control is not out of the ordinary for Romney.” This is an old, ridiculous, silly accusation used by liberals (including Ambinder) against anyone who favors a strong defense. According to liberals such as Ambinder, if you favor a strong national defense or oppose treaties that are decisively unfavorable to the US, you are by definition an advocate of “confrontation and brinksmanship” who would “take American foreign policy in a radical old direction”. These claims are, of course, false and ridiculous, but every proponent of a muscular foreign policy or a strong national defense faced them.

When President Eisenhower proclaimed his “New Look” defense strategy and increased America’s nuclear arsenal t0 18,000 nuclear warheads, liberals (including JFK, Ted Kennedy and William Kaufmann) falsely claimed that his policy would cause nuclear war. It actually prevented nuclear war by deterring the Soviet Union. During the 8-year-long Reagan era, liberals were constantly moaning that Reagan would cause nuclear war or WWIII, and that his policy was one of “confrontation and brinksmanship”. Everytime Reagan proposed a policy designed to protect the US (the SDI program, the installation of Pershing IRBMs in Europe, the increase of defense spending), liberals falsely claimed that Reagan was a warmonger who would cause a nuclear winter. They were wrong.

As Zell Miller correctly said, “They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace — they were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war — they were wrong. And no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.”

Neither Romney nor myself advocate a policy of “confrontation and brinksmanship”. Both of us – like most Republicans – favor a policy of a strong US military. One of the goals of this policy is to prevent wars (the other goal is to protect America and its allies). America will never be attacked by anyone if it will have such a strong military that no one (not even China or Russia) would dare to challenge the US directly, and if it will have a President willing to protect America.

John Bolton is not an advocate of “confrontation and brinksmanship” – he merely advocates a strong defense.

All three of us also favor a complementary foreign policy of rejecting the ridiculous demands of America’s rivals and foes, while constantly improving ties with America’s allies – ties which the Obama Administration has severed (vide Britain, Israel, Japan, Canada and the Czech Republic).

Ambinder also falsely claimed that:

“He [Romney – ZM] subscribes to an essentialist model of the world, where humility is only used as a preamble to assert strength, project strength, be strong. The defect of this model is that events have discredited it, and that is not equipped to tackle transnational threats.”

I don’t know what model of the world does Romney subscribe to, but I know that he, like me, wants to see the US military rebuilt. Not to wage wars and dictate things to the world, but to protect the America and its allies. Ambinder falsely claimed that “The defect of this model is that events have discredited it, and that is not equipped to tackle transnational threats.” That’s a blatant lie. The strong defense policy favored by Romney and myself (and by a majority of Republicans, including John Bolton, the Republican Study Committee, Jon Kyl, James Inhofe, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio and most Republican candidates for the Congress) has been proven correct every time it was tried. It was proven right time after time, during the Civil War, WW2, the Korean War, the Eisenhower era, and the 1980s. It has never been discredited. On the other hand, the “our-enemies-are-our-friends” world model, and the twin weak-defense and appeasement policies favored by Ambinder and the Obama Administration, have been utterly discredited everytime they were tried: for example, during the 1930s, the 1970s, and the present period, the Obama era. These policies are recipes for failure – and even for a disaster – and the people who advocate them are directly responsible for the resulting failures of these policies. No one would give any credit to any of these people, and if Ambinder doesn’t know that, he’s mentally deficient.

The disastrous policies of Obama’s Administration and their dismal results are on display for everyone to see. For example, Russia has not halted the sale of S-300 SAMs to Iran, has not ceased building a nuclear reactor in Iran, has not stopped to protect North Korea, has not stopped its spy/cyber war against the US, has not stopped arming America’s enemies (Iran, Syria, Venezuela), and continues to oppose any genuine sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Ambinder also wrote the following ridiculous, false, idiotic statement: “The fact is that foreign policy is perhaps the one area on which Americans are comfortable with President Obama’s leadership. They give him respectable marks for his policies and high marks for his commander-in-chief portfolio.”

That is not a fact, that is a ludicrous claim of Marc Ambinder  not backed by any sources. The truth is that most Americans are not comfortable with Obama, who hasn’t shown “leadership”, but rather “cowardice” and “stupidity”. They don’t give him respectable marks for his policies and his “CINC portfolio” (whatever Ambinder’s definition of it is) – the last time they were asked to grade his foreign policies, they gave him an F grade.

The polls of Rasmussenreports.com all said that a plurality of Americans trusts Republicans, not the Democrats, on the issue which RR calls “national security” (which is a broader issue than foreign policy). And recent opinion polls say that if a presidential election was organized this year, Americans would vote to replace Obama with Romney.

Ambinder closed his article with this false claim: “Even as Americans disagree with Obama on the wisdom of closing Guantanamo Bay, they do not perceive him to be weak on foreign policy, or dangerously incompetent, or naive. If foreign policy is where Romney wants to intervene, he has his work cut out for him.”

Most Americans DO perceive Obama as weak on foreign policy, dangerously incompetent, and naive – because he is such a person. On foreign policy, he’s even weaker than Carter – and how can one deny that the former part-time senator from Illinois, who made his name as a community organizer, is incompetent on foreign policy? It’s a fact.

If Romney wants to defeat President Obama, or to hurt him politically, he needs to criticize Obama on the issues on which he’s the weakest: foreign policy and defense. And Romney has recently done exactly that.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/romneys-unorthodox-foreign-policy-foray/59241/

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