Bolton: US Must Spend More on Defense
Monday, March 24, 2014 02:45 PM
By: Sandy Fitzgerald
President Barack Obama should ensure the United States is prepared to defend itself from outside threats, not making plans for further cuts to the nation's defense budget, former Ambassador John Bolton said.
"If the United States is not prepared to invest in its protection, the nation should face up to the reality of being a declining power," Bolton writes in a op-ed piece for the Washington Examiner. "Obama has started us along this road, but the American people do not really want to follow his lead — and that's what elections are all about."
Threats and challenges to the United States are growing, Bolton wrote, and a dramatically new defense strategy is needed. Obama's 2015 defense budget shows that his remaining three years in office will not meet that objective, he wrote.
"After Obama departs, his successor will inherit whatever is left standing in the strategic rubble he will leave behind," wrote Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and 2006. The next president will need "enormous courage and willpower" to reduce spending on entitlements and domestic programs while increasing defense and intelligence expenditures, he wrote.
America must be prepared, Bolton wrote, "for an unprecedented multiplicity of diverse threats, including international terrorism, nuclear proliferation and conventional warfare against medium-sized powers and perhaps large ones."
Since the United States can't conclude that there is only one threat scenario, its leadership must reject Obama's premise that the country will never be in another major conventional ground war.
"That is precisely the kind of war the U.S. fought in Iraq in 1991 and in overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003," Bolton said. "It would be folly not to prepare for such a conflict in the Middle East and in Korea, as well as the worst-case scenario — far from remote given Russia's invasions of Georgia and Ukraine — of ground wars elsewhere on the Eurasian landmass."
The United States must also be prepared for terrorism, including defending against attacks and keeping terrorists from having bases of operation.
"After withdrawing from Vietnam, the U.S. forgot many of its hard-won lessons," Bolton said. "The nation should not repeat that same mistake in today's counter-terrorism world."
The threat of global nuclear proliferation is also growing, with North Korea and Iran both progressing, Bolton wrote.
In addition, Russia is modernizing its missile forces, while China is expanding its stockpile of nuclear warheads, along with its missile and heavy-bomber delivery systems. China is also developing its navy for the first time in 600 years, adding pressures to American naval and air forces.
The United States should not be the world's "policeman," said Bolton, but "Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said this nation’s objective must be 'to make the world safe for ourselves.'"