In announcing his recommended cuts to the defense budget—cuts that will, conveniently, be made after the presidential election—Barack Obama claimed that his big picture strategy was a leaner more agile force that could face down the Chinese. His words resounded with many Americans because China is spending every spare dime it can muster on building up its military. While the President proposes to cut America’s military spending by $487 billion, the Chinese just announced an 11 percent increase in military spending on top of a 12 percent increase last year.
As is often the case with this president, there is a gap between his words and his actions—actions that ignore the stark reality of the situation. When it comes to reducing military spending while creating a more capable military President Obama’s words and actions are not even in the same ballpark. Consider just a few examples:
- President Obama’s strategy for making the proposed defense cuts is supposed to enhance our military’s ability to deal with the growing threat from China. This would be a welcome result, indeed. Unfortunately, the president’s actions do not match his words. One of the key weapons in America’s arsenal when it comes to facing down the Chinese is the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. If President Obama really wants our military to maintain its technological superiority over the Chinese, this program should be moving forward at full speed and with full support. It isn’t. In fact, the president announced that he plans to cut back on production of this badly needed weapons system. While he is cutting back on the F-35 program, China is moving full-speed ahead with development of its J-20 stealth fighter. With all of the technology China has pilfered from the United States, we can assume that the J-20 will be a marvel of military technology.
- While President Obama is drastically reducing America’s military budget, the Chinese are increasing theirs every year and plan to continue doing so for the next two decades. Because America cannot hope to slug it out on the ground with millions of Chinese soldiers—a fact the Korean War taught us—maintaining technological superiority is critical. America cannot maintain technological superiority over China by putting all of its funds into social welfare entitlements while China continues to invest heavily in developing its military.
- President Obama announced that America can no longer afford to maintain a two-war capability. In other words, he plans to reduce America’s ability to project its military power around the world. At the same time that President Obama is reducing ours, China is strengthening its ability to project military power, especially in the Pacific region. To this end—the projection of power—China is building up its navy, air force, and ballistic missile capabilities.
There are those in America who have deceived themselves into thinking that trade and commerce will prevent a future war with China. Their thinking goes like this: China cannot afford go to war with the United States because we are its biggest trading partner. There is little precedent in history to suggest that commerce between nations will prevent war. Just prior to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, America was Japan’s largest trading partner. Just before our War for Independence, Britain was America’s largest trading partner. I have said it many times, but will say it again: the best social security program a nation can offer its citizens is a strong national defense. Are you listening Mr. President?