Don't shortchange defense

Don't shortchange defense

January 7th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

There are some sensible ideas in the national defense changes that President Barack Obama announced this week, but our nation should be sure that the changes do not result in inadequate resources for the military to do its job of protecting America. The Carter administration taught us painfully that perceived U.S. weakness invites aggression.

On the plus side, Obama has announced a focus on security issues in the Far East. That is timely, with Communist China and Communist North Korea posing threats to neighboring countries.

North Korea, whose broken economic system has led to starvation in the isolated country, routinely threatens free South Korea and its other neighbors and is believed to have nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, China makes no secret of its desire to gain control of the prosperous Republic of China on Taiwan. Taiwan is a beacon of liberty and free enterprise in the Far East. It deserves support. Ironically, even as the Obama administration talks up security in the region, it recently refused to sell 60 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan -- possibly for fear of retaliation by China, which unfortunately holds more than $1 trillion of our nation's $15 trillion debt.

It will be refreshing if the administration's new focus on the Far East means a renewed commitment to our democratic allies in the region, as well as a commitment to speaking up for human rights in repressive China and North Korea.

But an emphasis on the Far East should not mean a lack of focus on the important, oil-rich Middle East. It is vital that we stand firm against the threat of radical regimes such as the one in Iran, which has long been a sponsor of terrorism and is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

It is also essential that we maintain a strong military in general. Obama's plans include cuts in the size of the Army and Marine Corps. A stated reason for that is reducing spending.

Federal spending needs to drop, and that includes wasteful military outlays. But we would remind the president that his most important duty is defending our nation. It is not protecting ObamaCare nor other costly, unconstitutional programs.

Unchallenged U.S. military superiority can head off many a threat by international malefactors.