The New York Times reports: ” The Pentagon will spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Korea’s weapons, a decision accelerated by Pyongyang’s recent belligerence and indications that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is resisting China’s efforts to restrain him.”
Contrary to what was once the position of candidate Barack Obama in 2008, this is a critical part of our national security:
Gen. C. Robert Kehler, the commander of the United States Strategic Command, made clear they serve a larger purpose. “Deterring North Korea from acting irrationally is our No. 1 priority,” he said. He acknowledged that there were doubts that the 30 existing antimissile systems would be sufficient, and added that an additional site in the United States, on the East Coast, may be needed to deter Iran.
Oops. Let us hope that is not a sign of preparation for containment, rather than admission that previous cuts were unwise and reckless. This is one of many examples in which the liberal infatuation with slashing defense runs head into the reality that the president is commander in chief and ultimately responsible for defending the United States and deterring our allies. It also belies the notion that because a “decade of war is ending” that we can reap a huge peace dividend.
A word of advice for fellow hawks is in order. Rather than decrying war-weariness and complaining about the current commander in chief, strong-defense conservatives, like their counterparts on domestic policy, need to define the current challenges and sketch out a conservative vision that is based on reality. The last thing war weary people are going to respond to is finger-wagging telling them to stop being war-weary. The most effective conservatives like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are candid about the threats and the necessity of being engaged in the world. They lay out a feasible series of policies (e.g. don’t blindly arm the Muslim Brotherhood government), making clear that there are a variety of tools (economic, diplomatic, soft and hard power), but the sole goal is too promote U.S. interests and values. By lecturing against war-weariness, hawks convey the impression that they want unending conflict. That is not the way to induce support for a strong military.
Like every other aspect of conservatism, strong-defense and pro-internationalist conservatives must offer a reality-based vision of the world and appeal to enlightened self-interest. The missile defense reversal is a teachable moment about why we can’t neglect defense, why a strong defense deters aggression and keeps the peace and why the world remains a dangerous place.