U.S. Defense Cuts Hobble Allies, Embolden Enemies
Three years later, Iran continues to use the same language, but its actions have become more belligerent. In response to President Obama’s announcement regarding U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, Iran’s supreme leader stated, “Today the west, the United States and Zionism are weaker than ever before.” As a show of Iran’s increasing hostility, in the past few weeks Tehran has escalated its threats against the West, test firing new missiles, threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, and announcing production of its first nuclear fuel rod.
The administration’s defense cuts are also impacting America’s transatlantic allies. Defense modernization has been severely reduced. Among other things, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project has been severely delayed. This particularly affects the United Kingdom, which had planned to upgrade its fleet with F-35s. Should the UK be unable to achieve this, the viability of its carriers is jeopardized.
Not that this matters to Mr. Obama. After all, one of the main aspects of the review was the announcement of the Pentagon’s shift in regional priority from Europe to the Asia-Pacific. The lack of will and capabilities of some NATO members in missions like Libya has given the administration an excuse to abandon its long-standing allies and seek new friends. In a further sign of the administration’s indifference towards the region, the Pentagon has already begun to draw down U.S. troops based in Europe. One of the four U.S. brigades there will return home within a year.
Yet despite this announced transition in engagement from Europe to the Asia- Pacific, very few resources are being sent to the latter region. Rather, cuts are being taken elsewhere, particularly in areas such as modernization.
The administration’s defense cuts undermine America’s ability to respond to international threats and protect U.S. citizens and allies. Furthermore, they invite Iran and other aggressors to threaten U.S. interests. Soon enough, Mr. Obama’s policy of pursuing peace through diplomatic “engagement” while allowing our military strength to atrophy will lead us not to peace, but to increasing global insecurity and -- ultimately -- war.