What the 2012 Republican Platform should say about defense issues

Unfortunately, I will not be a member of the GOP’s 2012 Platform Committee (and never expected to be), so the odds are that I will play no part in writing the platform. But if I may, I’d like to offer my advice on what should it say. It should unapologetically and unambigously call for a strong, generously-funded national defense, and a muscular foreign policy abroad, especially with regard to Russia and China. IMO, it should say something like this:

“Unlike the Democrats, we Republicans call for a strong national defense and a confident foreign policy of speaking mildly but carrying a big stick.

We will rebuild our defenses – our conventional and irregular, nuclear and nonnuclear forces – and provide them with the most modern, most capable equipment in all categories of weaponry, which we will procure in an efficient, expedited way, under fixed-price contracts, based on clear, well-defined requirements and procedures. We will reverse the automatic, across-the-board sequestration-induced defense budget cuts triggered by the Super Committee’s failure to agree on deficit reduction (itself triggered by the Democrats’ insistence on massive tax hikes) and make the required savings elsewhere. It is agreed by all of our Joint Chiefs, other Generals and Admirals, most members of Congress from both parties, most of our Nation’s independent defense experts, and even President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense that sequestration would gut our military and significantly increase the likelihood of war. Yet, only House Republicans have passed a plan (authored by Rep. Paul Ryan) to solve the problem. Sequestration, if allowed to proceed, would cut $600 bn out of the defense budget over the next decade on top of the $487 bn in cuts required by the first tier of the Budget Control Act and on top of all other defense cuts already administered by President Obama, including his reckless program cancellations of 2009 and 2010, the New START treaty, and the Gates Efficiencies Initiative of January 2011 ($178 bn in cuts). All told, pre-sequestration defense cuts orchestrated by President Obama add up to $920 bn since 2009, not counting the New START treaty.

While defense always had to play a role in solving our deficit problem, we believe it has already contributed more than its fair share, while other government agencies and programs have contributed almost nothing. It is utterly wrong to continue to demand, as the Democrats do, that defense continue to bear most of the budget-cutting burden while other agencies skate away with no budget cuts at all.

At the same time, we will conduct a thorough review and reform of the Defense Department. The aim should be to overhaul every aspect of how the DOD is organized, staffed, and operated. It means, inter alia, reducing and consolidating DOD bureaucracies and trimming the number of generals and senior executives; ending obsolete deployments of troops in Western Europe more than 20 years after the Soviet Union’s collapse; reforming DOD procurement processes for goods (including weapons) and services; eliminating barriers to small business opportunities with the DOD; and reducing the Department’s energy consumption footprint. Sen. John McCain has led the way on weapon procurement reform. Our support for needed defense programs and robust funding for the military should not be confused with any tolerance for wasteful spending, inefficient processes, or bloated bureaucracies.

We will also end the Obama Administration’s policy of using the military as a toy for their liberal agenda and politically-correct purposes, such as the “Pentagon Gay Pride Month” and the “Great Green Fleet”, whereby the DOD celebrates homosexuality and buys “green fuels” that cost 4 times as much as standard jet fuel. Our military’s sole purpose is to defend our country, not to create markets for uneconomical fuels or celebrate leftist social experiments.

We will also restore the needed equipment and training needed to defeat conventional (state-actor) adversaries, which the Obama Administration has inexplicably neglected and even downplayed. The threat of terrorism does not mean there will never again be a conventional war or adversary. China, in particular, continues its rapid military buildup that has long ago exceeded the needs of legitimate self-defense. Its military budget, not counting the PLA’s businesses and off-budget incomes, now amounts to $186 bn per year, according to the DOD.

Most importantly, we will restore our Nation’s surrendered strategic superiority, woefully neglected by the Obama Administration in its blind pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Failing to recognize that nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle, the Obama Administration seeks a “Global Nuclear Zero”, which will never happen because China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan will never agree to scrap their nuclear weapons. The only country that President Obama can verifiably disarm is ours.

And in the last 4 years, he has made significant progress in that regard. Our nuclear weapon stockpile, facilities (which date back to the 1940s), and delivery systems are woefully underfunded and in a condition so bad that President Obama’s own STRATCOM commander is worried. He has killed warhead replacement programs; underfunded warhead and facility maintenance and modernization programs; delayed the ballistic missile submarine replacement program; and presented no plan to replace our ICBMs. Even worse, he now intends to unilaterally cut our nuclear arsenal to just 1,000 warheads, the fewest since 1950, and far fewer than Russia or China has.

He has also signed and rammed through the Senate the New START treaty, under which only the US has to reduce its nuclear arsenal. Russia does not, and since the treaty’s ratification, when it was significantly under the treaty’s limits, it has increased its strategic nuclear arsenal to 1,492 warheads – just 58 short of the treaty limit – and plans to increase its number of delivery systems. Furthermore, the treaty imposes restrictions on our missile defense.

If elected, we will withdraw the United States from this highly unfavorable treaty and sign no agreement limiting our arsenals or our military capabilities. Nor will we ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would transfer our sovereignty to unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucracies and allow them to tax us without our consent.

We have no intention of starting a new Cold War with Russia and China. But it’s clear that President Obama’s appeasement policies towards both of them have utterly failed. We will implement a realistic policy of judging Moscow and Beijing by their actions towards us, and not by nice words and gestures. That means no compromise when it comes to America’s security and no unilateral concessions. That means working with Russia and China where, and only where, it’s in our interest to do so, and signing only verifiable agreements that do not constrain our military, our capabilities, or our options. It also means speaking out publicly on Russia’s and China’s human rights violations. It also means recognizing that they are Iran’s and Syria’s biggest sponsors.

Iran is a great threat to Middle Eastern and global security and to our allies in the region, especially our best ally, Israel, whom we salute and pledge to protect against any threat to its existence. We have no intention of starting a war with Iran, but we will do everything that can be done to deny Iran nuclear weapons. And to prove that our friendship with Israel means more than mere words, we will move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Israel’s chosen capital. Israel is the only country in the world whose choice of its capital the US refuses to recognize, a policy that President Obama has continued. And unlike the Obama Administration, we will not force Israel to withdraw to indefensible armistice lines.

We will also revive our friendships with our other allies, who have also been betrayed and mistreated by the Obama Administration. This includes our traditional partners like Britain, Canada and Germany as well as new allies like Poland and the Czech Republic.

We will responsibly end the Afghan War in 2014, in accordance with the agreement reached by all NATO allies in Lisbon in 2010, and there will be no politically-motivated rush to the exits. In the future, before we involve the US in any conflicts (if at all), we will carefully consider whether it’s in our interest to get involved and if there are no peaceful means of resolution. If deployed, our troops will fight with clear goals, a clear strategy to achieve them, rules of engagement allowing them to win, and US officers, not foreigners, leading them.

History has shown time after time that this approach – a policy of peace through strength – safeguards peace and keeps potential aggressors at bay. And as the last 4 years have shown, the Obama-Clinton policy of appeasement and unilateral disarmament is a failure.”


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