As Mitt Romney’s statement that Russia is America’s greatest geopolitical foe becomes a vivid reality, Obama continues to warn Putin through a hollow drum of rhetoric. Moreover, Obama has made it abundantly clear that the US will not respond militarily. America has once again, become a paper tiger.
Although, I am not advocating a military response as the proper course of action, I do believe that Obama’s statements create a perception of weakness and only embolden Putin’s further acts of aggression. It is not that we should go to war, it is knowing that we will go to war if need be, that might deter Putin, just as it inspired the release of the Iran hostages when Reagan took office. But with no threat of war, Putin has the green light to proceed with his plans.
Although the US has an obligation to protect Ukraine’s borders under the 1994 START treaty, the US may not have the have the military might to even win a full-scale war with Russia. Our defence posture since the Cold War ended has been based on the notion that Russia is no longer our adversary, so the US has been much less focused on developing new ballistics technology. Russia, in constrast has launched the most extensive nuclear weapons modernization program, while the US has allowed its weapons to atrophy. And the reduction of nuclear weapons between the US and Russia has become lopsided – as Russia has violated a number of arms control treaties, while the US has honored its obligations and conitnued to reduce arms.
Currently the US has 30 ground-based interceptors that can protect us from less sophisticated long-range ballistic missiles like the ones North Korea has, but the US is less capable of defending itself against shorter range missiles launched onto US soil. The US is the only nuclear weapons state that is not modernizing its nuclear weapons to properly protect us from 21st century adversaries.
Russia’s nuclear doctrine “permits the use of nuclear weapons in conventional warfare and local and regional conflicts” while Obama expressed his desire to see a world without nuclear weapons – a nuclear zero policy. But the world is not becoming a safer place just because we hope that it is and the policies of the Obama Administration are not only weakening the US as world power, they put us in a position of vulnerability and potentially in harm’s way.
Just as the Obama administration recently announced further reduction in military spending, China has announced that it will increase their military budget – further narrowing the gap. And although the US still spends more on defense than any other nation, we provide nuclear security guarantees to over 30 countries around the world. And should the constellation of our top three adversaries align against against us, we’d be screwed.