If Americans were to judge Barack Obama based on how he protects our country’s interests and keeps our nation safe, they would have to conclude either that he is blinded by his ideology or that he favors our enemies. His insistence that the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood have a seat at the table in the post-Mubarak Egyptian government is the most recent, high-level reminder of how this president hurts our allies and rewards our enemies. The question Americans should parse is not whether he is motivated by idealism or antagonism — the results are essentially the same. Instead, they must ask how they can stop his encroachments on their liberties, their wealth, and their security before disaster strikes. Radio talk show host Tammy Bruce has asked if Obama’s foreign policy of empowering Islamic fundamentalists is impeachable.
However, not all of Obama’s policies consist in helping our enemies. Many of his policie undermine our security and leave Americans weaker.
Perhaps the most unexplored of these is the president’s obsession with nuclear disarmament. Obama told the United Nations in the fall of 2009, “we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.” The previous April, Obama told an audience in Prague, “the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.” He appointed Ellen Tauscher, a congresswoman dedicated to unilateral disarmament, as his Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In February 2009, Tauscher told the Munich Security Conference:
The U.S. would, without question, be more secure in a world free of nuclear weapons. The real question is whether pursuit of such a goal is in our security interests. I believe it is.
To further this agenda, Obama abandoned our nation’s promise to provide Poland and the Czech Republic with the missile defense system we had pledged to them — in order to cut our nuclear arsenal with the New START Treaty. Although he tried to push it through the lame duck session of Congress, Republicans pushed it into the new year. (Sen. Richard Lugar, R-IN, this weekend told the Tea Party to drop dead; he was voting for it. No wonder MSNBC once referred to Lugar as “Barack Obama’s Favorite Republican.”)
Such Pollyanna notions as complete, unilateral nuclear disarmament (and its domestic counterpart, gun control) would be misguided under any realistic circumstances. In a dangerous world, where a debt-riddled American decline threatens to permanently yield to rising Chinese power, it is perilous.
Lavina Lee of the Cato Institute has issued a new paper exposing the futility of Obama’s disarmament push. Obama, et. al., believe the United States must shed as many nuclear weapons as possible to set a “good example” and prove we are “serious” about disarmament. Once we have done so, other nations will follow our lead. Lee concludes the obvious: while America disarms, the rest of the world will pursue its own interests. In fact, such a policy will backfire, causing hostile regimes to demand greater arms cuts than we wish to make in order to achieve nuclear parity — to become equal military superpowers.
Despite the ailing U.S. economy, exploding debt, and declining morality, there is still one area where this country is China’s uncontested superior: military power. This is especially true of nuclear weapons. America possesses 5,113 nuclear warheads to China’s 240. (Lee estimates that Beijing has enough weapons-grade plutonium to build between 500 and 1,500 more.) India has an estimated 60 warheads.
The United States has some rudimentary missile defense mechanisms that render much of the Chinese ship-sinking missile supply obsolete. Our decades-long commitment to defense Taiwan from a mainland assault complicates matters yet more. Before China makes significant cuts, Lee writes, “some semblance of nuclear parity with Beijing will be required.” That is, China will not slash its stockpiles until at least such time as cutting them would make China the equal of the United States. Lee summarizes, “the United States will be waiting a long time for any Chinese reciprocity on nuclear force reductions.”
Meanwhile, India has eyed China wearily since the 1962 border war, when Beijing defeated New Delhi. China has aggressively built infrastructure and stationed warheads in areas that threaten the world’s second most populous nation. India, which unlike China is an American strategic partner, is not crazy enough to put its people at risk while China builds and consolidates. Lee indicates, “Any commitments India is likely to make on nuclear force reductions will be linked to” China (and Pakistan) doing the same.
This should be common sense, a commodity in short supply on Pennsylvania Avenue since 2009. Lee concludes:
The bottom line is that short-term national security interests of both China and India are likely to have greater influence over the level of reciprocity that will be forthcoming, given that global zero is still aspirational, and the United States to maintain a high level of nuclear superiority.
Such considerations are important for U.S. policy and interests, because there are real opportunity costs associated with elevating disarmament to the center of U.S. nuclear diplomacy.
What are these “opportunity costs”? Specifically, once America has made the force reductions (some of) its military leaders deem appropriate, China may require “even greater force reductions by the United States” before reducing its missile supply.
The more likely scenario is that Beijing will not cut at all; rather it will build. The Red Chinese will double-down their investment in military spending in a bid to displace the United States as the world’s next superpower. Once they are sufficiently confident, they will officially launch this policy by reclaiming Taiwan, if necessary at the cost of a war with a weakened U.S. military.
By then, they will have nothing to fear. And Barack Obama, if he lives up to his rhetoric, will have made their triumph inevitable. The New START Treaty requires Senate confirmation, which it neither deserves nor appears to enjoy. However, foreign policy remains largely a prerogative of the president. It is time for the American people to strip Obama of this — and all — executive powers.