foreign policy

Drones Can Protect Us From Kim’s Missiles

Stephen Meyer and Hudson Institute’s Arthur Herman writing in The Wall Street Journal:

“President Trump’s announcement that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un caught everyone by surprise. The big question is: Will the meeting reduce the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles?

Given North Korea’s record of deceit, the president will need an insurance policy against Mr. Kim’s penchant for bad-faith negotiating, especially concerning his nuclear program.

Fortunately, Congress can make a down payment this week in its 2018 omnibus spending bill, and soon after when it authorizes the Pentagon’s 2019 budget.”

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Valuable, Under-Reported Protection from Nuclear Attack

You have plenty to worry about, don’t you, without turning your anxious eyes to the problem of possible nuclear attack on the U.S. Even less worrisome for most people is the chance of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would close down electricity, computers–everything but pre-modern infrastructure–for half or more of the country. Both kinds of danger have been described eloquently by Discovery Sr. Fellow John Wohlstetter (Sleepwalking with the Bomb), among others.

Yet the possible can become the probable without preventive measures. The point of missile defense is to make it clear to adversaries that an attack is likely to fail and to lead to a very successful counter-attack. The good news that is not being widely reported is that the military is doing something about it–finally.

Former Ambassador Henry Cooper and his High Frontier group are hailing the Pentagon’s $700 million investment in a hardened nerve center inside Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. That is the most serious first step in upgraded U.S. deterrence. Note Amb. Cooper’s warning that without greatly improved anti-ballistic missile protection from the middle or south of the globe, assaults still can come. So we are a long way from the kind of shield that will a) protect our homeland; and b) serve to deter aggression by North Korea, Iran or, for that matter, something like ISIS. But we at least do have a military command, Congress and–presumably, an Administration–that is preparing to do what is necessary. Read More ›

Obama’s 1930’s: We’re at 1937

By John Wohlstetter Soon enough the Iran nuclear talks will become a replay of Munich 1938. Many pundits have drawn parallels between the last decade and the 1930s. Though the precise sequence of events eight decades ago is not being repeated, the kinds of events that transpired in the years 1933 to 1937 have been repeated in broad brushstroke during the Obama years. Continue reading at The American Spectator . . .

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President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 27, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The State of the Union Is a Mess: Honesty Would Be a Good Start

With a new year often comes anticipation and optimism. And this year the State of the Union address will be in front of a new Congress — with a Republican majority in both the House and Senate.

President Obama’s State of the Union speech will likely have its smallest audience to date. That is the price any leader pays for being dissembling on a range of important issues — from Benghazi, to IRS targeting of conservative American non-profits, to keeping your doctor, trading the Gitmo 5 for deserter Bowe Bergdahl — and showing disrespect for the voting public. After all, when after the November 4 election results came in, and Obama said he heard the message of “two-thirds of the people who chose not to vote,” that was final confirmation of rigidity and denial that turns people off.

What America’s domestic and foreign policy failure both now have in common at the outset of 2015 is an “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome — where reality is turned upside down, where nonsense is passed off as truth, where disarray is a plan and stonewalling is an acceptable response.

Unfortunately there are no silver bullets to our current predicament in either domestic or foreign policy. What American people should demand now is not immediate results but more honesty in public discourse about the causes of our national decline and the need for new and different approaches that embrace realistic solutions grounded in principles and institutions that work and deliver measurable results.

On domestic policy, the first order is for Washington to acknowledge the absurdity of dealing with over-indebtedness by piling up more debt or fixing problems with more regulations. Any new legislation or executive order — like a free community college entitlement — that adds to the federal debt should simply be dead on arrival. Clearly a new monetary policy approach is needed by the Federal Reserve, whose six-year experiment with  zero interest rates and money printing has left the poor and middle class entirely behind, while helping big government, Wall Street and corporate officers with big company stock awards get even richer. There is something wrong with Washington policy that has left the vast majority of Americans worse off than they were ten years ago.

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Exaggerating the Cuba Change

To me, the most remarkable thing about President Obama’s decision to recognize Cuba diplomatically is that it does not represent as big a change as either the President or his critics suggest. We soon can have an “embassy” in Cuba where we have an “interests section” now. Well, that interests section is bigger than most of our embassies around the world, especially in countries with only eleven million people. The sign on the outside wall may change, and there may be more paling around with diplomats in Havana posted from other countries. But the essential differences will be minor. Continue reading at Chapman’s News & Ideas.

Who Are We at War With, and Who Is a Threat?

By Discovery Institute senior fellow John C. Wohlstetter. Originally published at The American Spectator.

We in the West have been coming to wrong conclusions in answering the above questions.

Our “war” confusion is that we aren’t necessarily at war with countries and/or terror groups whose leaders have declared war on us. Thus the Islamic Republic of Iran established in February 1979 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has avowedly been at war with the West ever since. As a result our policies are constrained by the perception that we are not at war with such adversaries. And so now with Islamic State — IS, ISIS or IL — of whom the Obama administration now says that they are not yet a threat to the homeland.

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