Vernuccio’s View: U.S. Politicians Refuse to Acknowledge Military Threat

Frank Vernuccio

Frank Vernuccio

US Politicians Refuse to Acknowledge Military Threat

By Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr., Esq.

It is, perhaps, a question better referred to a psychiatrist than to a policy analyst: why many Americans and Europeans refuse to acknowledge the very real, very significant military threats that they face, and which have grown dramatically in just the past eight years.

US Nuclear ForcesWhat can be gleaned from the startling news that, despite the dramatic evidence of the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean massive nuclear buildups, and the obsolescence of America’s nuclear deterrent, there is opposition from the White House to at least insuring that the nation’s atomic arsenal at least remains intact and usable?

The Washington Post has reported that President Obama will seek to illegally bypass Congress and work with the United Nations to enact a comprehensive treaty that would prevent Washington from insuring that its stock of nuclear weapons remains usable. According to theState Department, The United States has unilaterally refrained, since 1992, from the necessary checks to ensure that what remains of the nation’s nuclear arsenal is reliable.  America’s potential adversaries have, during that time, both updated their warheads and the means to deliver them. Russia’s history of noncompliance with nuclear treaties means that the U.S. would probably be alone in not engaging in the necessary maintenance.

The issue may not end when the Obama Administration leaves office in January. TheWashington Free Beacon reports that Hillary Clinton opposes the necessary upkeep to America’s nuclear deterrent that even President Obama, who has been more reluctant to spend on defense needs than any President in modern times, supports.

Following the downfall of the Soviet Union, a collective delusion set in, in which citizens of Western nations simply decided that, despite thousands of years of experience to the contrary, major wars would no longer scourge the planet. Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called “The End of History,” and described his core belief in the National Interest publication: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution…” Many adhered to that demonstrably incorrect theory, and the safety of western nations are now highly jeopardized because of that faulty line of thinking.

Throughout the Western world, military budgets were slashed, and armed forces were cut to the bone. America’s military might was reduced by over half. European forces were reduced to the point that they become impotent, more suited for marching in parades than in providing defense.

China Maritime AggressionWhile the West reveled in its “peace dividend,” opponents laid plans to take advantage of the escape from reality. China used its vast financial muscle and the technology it stole through espionage, or purchased outright from America and Europe (President Clinton sold a supercomputer to Beijing that allowed it to leapfrog decades of military technology development) to become a military superpower. Iran developed plans to become a regional hegemon. Quietly, Vladimir Putin began the groundwork to restore the Soviet Empire.

Despite the overwhelming importance of the military threat and the rapid deterioration of America’s national security, the issue is rarely discussed in anything other than an occasional soundbite.  It did not play a significant role in either the presidential primaries, or, so far, in the general election season.

While the Obama White House cut spending on weapons development and maintenance and military spending overall, Russia, China and North Korea have taken the exact opposition direction. China has expanded its military budget by about 10% each year. Moscow has added $800 billion to its armed forces spending. North Korea has added significant new capabilities.

Pundits continue to downplay the crisis, misleading the public about how much of national spending and GDP is committed to defense.  Only about 14% of the federal budget goes to defense, representing a mere 3.3% of the national economy. The public is also misled about U.S. defense spending compared to the rest of the world. Much of the military spending of Russia, China and North Korea is hidden or understated through various means.

Despite the increase in threats from Russia, China, and North Korea over the past eight years, U.S. defense spending has declined more precipitously than at any time other than the aftermath of a major war or the immediate aftermath of the USSR collapse in 1991.

Russian nuclear weaponsIt is as if the reality that America, thanks to the Obama/Clinton “reset” with Moscow that allowed Russia, for the first time in history, to become the world’s preeminent nuclear power, didn’t happen. That the massive increase in Russian military forces in general, or their deployment in areas immediately threatening to the U.S. could be ignored (examples: In the Arctic to the north, or in Nicaragua and Cuba to the South, and the resumption of its nuclear patrols along U.S. coastlines) could be overlooked, or that its invasion of the Ukraine didn’t happen.  Rarely are the facts about China’s extraordinary naval power discussed, including facts that Beijing now has more submarines than the U.S., and its navy will be more powerful than America’s within three years. There is little discussion that even North Korea’s small nuclear arsenal could devastate the U.S.

President John Adams famously said, “”Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Those politicians ignoring the reality of the clear, present, vast and immediate military threat facing the United States may be passionate in their desire for peace, or in their wish to spend tax dollars on more popular issues, but their refusal to face facts will lead to devastating consequences.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.

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