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  • Defense Cuts Ignore Threats, Increase Risks

    President Obama’s cuts to defense put America’s national security at risk, argues Heritage’s James Carafano. As the U.S. draws out of two foreign wars, the President assumes that America will no longer require a capable global force. However, these cuts do not account for growing threats throughout the world. U.S adversaries will only grow emboldened as America draws down its defenses.

    Proponents of defense cuts argue that America’s forces are overfunded and bloated; therefore, they can accept a degree of reductions. However, the President’s recent budget request will reduce not just top-line spending but also military readiness. Obama’s strategic guidance calls for a shift to the Asia–Pacific region, yet his budget request cuts funding for both fighter jets and naval ships.

    Those who favor slashing defense also argue that American forces can simply do less. They suggest that through a less aggressive foreign policy, the U.S. can minimize its involvement in global conflicts. This argument ignores an important fact: The enemy gets a vote. As America prematurely pulls out of Afghanistan, the Taliban may be emboldened, thinking they can simply outlast the U.S. in the region.

    America’s acceptance of a smaller force also sends a negative signal to its allies. As Iran and North Korea continue to develop nuclear weapons, a weaker U.S. missile defense may cause weary allies to produce their own arsenals as a deterrent. Obama’s intended goal of reducing nuclear arms worldwide would thus backfire.

    Whether America remains a world power doesn’t seem to matter to the President. The Administration has acknowledged that these defense cuts will increase threats to national security. Regardless of any strategic justifications he has issued, Obama’s real motivation for cuts is to appear fiscally responsible. However, he does not address the real debt driver: entitlement spending. In reality, the defense budget is only one-fifth of federal spending but has already accounted for half of deficit-reduction efforts. The government could zero out defense spending today, and entitlement programs would continue to consume the federal budget.

    Others argue that Congress cannot restore defense spending without accompanying tax increases. “Holding national security hostage over tax policy is just unacceptable,” Carafano retorts. Obama, as commander in chief, should understand this. Congress should understand this and fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. Shrinking America’s military will accomplish only one thing: making America and the free world less safe.

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    6 Responses to Defense Cuts Ignore Threats, Increase Risks

    1. PoliticsAlabama says:

      No matter what you think, defense spending takes up such a large section of our total spending that some cuts will HAVE to be made in order to get our budget under control. We will go bankrupt if we don't dramatically reduce spending soon, and since the majority of spending comes from Medicare, Medicair, Social Security, and defense spending, that's where the majority of the spending cuts will have to occur.

      Spending cuts are not neccesarily a bad thing.

      Look at it this way. Either we voluntarily reduce spending in a controlled way now, or we are forced to do it after we go bankrupt. Which would be better?

      • Brian Slattery Brian Slattery says:

        I agree that entitlement spending must be addressed. The Department of Defense has already accounted for half of recent deficit reduction efforts yet programs such as Social Security and Medicaid have been left untouched.

    2. Chris Richardson says:

      The biggest threat BY FAR to this country is our economy. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being involved in a terrorist attack. But with these endless unAmerican wars of offense we will certainly all suffer. What a disgraceful attitude to have….the willingness to bankrupt a nation to fight endless global offensive wars…..

      • Brian Slattery Brian Slattery says:

        A strong military supports a strong economy, particularly in an increasingly globalized world. Without the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard patrolling the seas and America's waters, there would be more disruptions to international trade through piracy and aggression in areas which are critical parts of the maritime highway. While some of these may not be direct attacks on the U.S., they certainly affect the free flow of goods and services.

      • Brian Slattery Brian Slattery says:

        I am not advocating for war. President Reagan's "peace through strength" was an attempt to avoid confrontations through an overpowering military, coupled with a robust economy. If you look to recent history, the U.S. has entered into combat operations during times of military reductions, not buildups (Korea, Vietnam, and in Iraq and Afghanistan). In contrast, the military buildup of the 1980s saw the successful end of the Cold War without bloodshed. Whether you are talking about terrorist attacks or the erosion of global freedoms, weakening the U.S. military any further while entitlement spending balloons is irresponsible. I appreciate your concern with excessive spending and would not advocate to the contrary, but this is not about war mongering. It is about defending America's people and interests.

    3. brian says:

      simple answere to medicare and ss rasise the retirement age to 99 problem solved and you only get 2 years not 35 plus and stop giveing money to pepole that are from over seas and stop catering to our friends in the south of the Usa

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