John Bolton on Homeland Security
Americans expect that the president will alert them when there are threats and lay out a program to deal with those threats, but Barack Obama does not consider American national security a priority. He told us in 2008 that his top priority was to fundamentally transform the country, and national security is a distraction from that. I believe he is the first president, Republican or Democrat, since the attack on Pearl Harbor who does not wake up every morning and think, "What threats does America face today?"
The people saw happened last year, and they made Obama's national security failures critical in several key elections. I think the message was unambiguous.
Ignoring threats to our national security is the Obama doctrine, and the contrast with Ronald Reagan could not be clearer. Reagan believed in peace through strength, not isolationism, not multilateralism. Today, can you just imagine Ronald Reagan dealing with Vladimir Putin? Reagan understood that the principle task of the government is the protection of the United States.
We are not going to get peace through strength because we are not devoting the budget to it, but we're not going to get peace through weakness either. We're going to get what we see today in the Ukraine where Vladimir Putin has a strategy and Obama has nothing, where Putin has a growing defense budget and ours is shrinking.
The Russians have "consistently outmaneuvered us over the last 4 years. They've embarrassed the president on his reset button," Bolton said.
Bolton said China should feel some pain too for its part: "I don't think we should forget we should make China feel pain here for giving Snowden asylum for a couple of days and then allowing him to escape to Moscow. I think the lesson Putin learned watching what we did not do to China is Putin could get away with it, too. So far, they are both right," Bolton said.
In fact, the entire theory of "nuclear zero" adherents is that reductions by nuclear powers such as the US will induce others to follow suit and will dissuade non-nuclear states from seeking that capacity in the first instance. There is, of course, absolutely no evidence that the rulers in Tehran and Pyongyang will do anything other than ramp up their own efforts in the face of American decline.
Obama's last nuclear-reduction pact, the 2011 New START Treaty with Russia, cut the US nuclear arsenal to dangerously low levels, 750 strategic delivery systems and 1,550 warheads. It passed the Senate by a vote of 71-26, but only after breaking a filibuster with 67 votes, not one to spare.
Publicizing America's alleged intelligence-collection programs against China may not be identical to Philip Agee revealing the identities of US clandestine operatives, thereby endangering their lives, but it is close. We do not yet know whether Snowden jeopardized US agents, but vital sources and methods of intelligence gathering and operations are clearly at risk. In cyber terms, this is akin to Benedict Arnold scheming to betray West Point's defenses to the British, thereby allowing them to seize a key American fortification, splitting the colonies geographically at a critical point during the American Revolution. The political implications are grave.
Breaking out of this formulaic approach was necessary because it was both flawed in theory and no longer reflected strategic reality, if it ever had. I suggested that we replace the ABM Treaty with one barring Russia and the US from building missile defenses against first strikes.
American defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this.
We are living off the capital--both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements--built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.
We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges.
We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
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