The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

February 26, 2013

Cut commitments, not muscle

In that year of happy memory, 1972, George McGovern, the Democratic nominee, declared he would chop defense by fully one-third.

A friendly congressman was persuaded to ask Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to expatiate on what this might mean.

The Pentagon replied the Sixth Fleet might have to be pulled out of the Med, leaving Israel without U.S. protection against the fleet of Adm. Sergei Gorshkov, and provided the congressman a list of U.S. bases that would have to be shut down.

Radio ads were run in the towns closest to the bases on the Pentagon list, declaring they would be closed and all jobs terminated, should McGovern win.

Something akin to this is going on with the impending sequester.

A cut of 7 percent, $46 billion, in Pentagon spending, says Army chief Ray Odierno, will mean a "hollowing" out of his force.

The Navy? The carrier Harry Truman will not be sailing to the Persian Gulf. The Abraham Lincoln will not be overhauled in Newport News. Thousands of jobs will be lost.

Reporter Rowan Scarborough writes that the Air Force has produced "a map of the U.S. that shows state-by-state the millions of dollars lost to local economies," should the guillotine fall.

Military aid to Israel may be cut, says John Kerry.

But if an evisceration of the national defense is imminent, why did Obama not tell us in 2012? Why were the joint chiefs silent, when they are panicked now? Are the generals, admirals and contractors all crying wolf?

Undeniably, spending cuts by sequester slicer, chopping all equally, is mindless. And with the national security, it manifests a failure of both parties to come to terms with the world we are now in.

The Cold War is over. The Soviet Union is gone. Mao's China is gone, though a mightier China has emerged, as America's share of the global economy is shrinking. Moreover, as ex-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen contends, our greatest strategic threat is not Kim Jong Un or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the soaring national debt.

And if, as Republicans insist, we have a debt crisis because we are "spending too much," spending will have to be cut -- discretionary spending, entitlements and defense. And the only question about the defense cuts is not whether they are coming, but where.

What is needed is what America, since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, has stubbornly resisted doing: a strategic review of all U.S. commitments abroad to determine which remain vital to the national security. Before we decide what our defense forces should be, let us determine what is in the U.S. vital interest to defend at risk of war.

Start with NATO. In 1961, President Eisenhower urged JFK to bring home the U.S. forces and let the Europeans raise the armies to defend themselves, lest they become military dependencies.

Yet, more than 20 years after the Wall fell, the Red Army went home, East Europe broke free and the Soviet Union fell apart, we have scores of thousands of troops in Europe.

Why? The European Union's economy is 10 times that of Russia. Europe's population is twice Russia's.

Why are we still there?

Though we have given NATO war guarantees to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, our McCainiacs want them handed out to the Ukraine and Georgia. Yet no president in his right mind is going to go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over some Caucasus dustup or Baltic brawl.

If Richard Nixon could achieve a modus vivendi with Chairman Mao, have we no statesman who can patch it up with Vladimir Putin? A first step might be to pull all U.S. missiles out of Eastern Europe and put our democracy-meddlers on the next plane out of Moscow.

Even as Ike was telling JFK to bring the troops home from Europe, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was urging JFK not to put his foot soldiers in Asia -- advice not taken there, either.

On retirement, Robert Gates said any future defense secretary who advises a president to fight another land war in Asia ought to have his head examined. So why do we have 28,000 U.S. troops in Korea and 50,000 in Japan?

In his Guam Doctrine, Nixon declared that in any future Asian war, we should provide the weapons to our Asian allies and they should do the fighting. Does that not still make sense today? Before we can decide the size and shape of our defense budget, we need a consensus on what we must defend.

And if Republicans wish to remain a viable party, they cannot delegate these decisions to the "We-are-all-Georgians-now!" crowd that plunged us into Iraq and is bawling for intervention in Syria and war on Iran.

The GOP desperately needs a credible, countervailing voice to the uber-hawks whose bellicosity all but killed the party in the Bush era.

Obama is president because of them. And his most popular act, according to voter surveys from 2012? Ending the war in Iraq.

© 2013 CREATORS.COM

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Education a priority? Don’t believe it

    They did it – more or less.

    They got a budget, they got a road plan and they got out of town on time.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don McNay.jpg Did you miss small business health-care tax credit?

    A Kentucky professional who owns his own business found that he missed getting the health-care tax credit.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results