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Back in my days as a U.S. Air Force officer, I remember clearly the Pentagon’s goal of training and equipping the United States military to fight two global conflicts at the same time, giving the commander-in-chief one hell of a stick to manage threats to America offshore. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. With budget cuts and the intentional policies of the Obama administration to reduce our power projection capability, the American armed forces are a shell of previous times. We are seeing the results of this unwise drawdown across the world today.
America’s adversaries are fully aware of the weakened state of her armed forces. North Korea is threatening the homeland and American forces on the Korean Peninsula with a nuclear ballistic missile strike. Iran continues to threaten Israel as it buys billions of dollars of sophisticated weapons from Russia with the large sums of money acquired under the recently negotiated nuclear ‘deal.’ The Islamic Republic is also testing ballistic missiles in violation of the so-called agreement. The Obama administration is impotent to do anything about it, or rather, doesn’t want to do anything about it. That reality is the subject of another column. Iran is also seizing American sailors and parading them on TV in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Russia is buzzing U.S. warships so close as to strip the paint of the deck while they form a new axis in the Middle East with Iran and Syria. NATO is a weak sister of its former self with most American heavy armor having been withdrawn; although, in the face of Russian behavior, some is being returned to preposition in Eastern Europe.
China is weaponizing man-made islands in the South China Sea and militarizing the heavily-used shipping lanes where a large percentage of global trade transits on a daily basis. All America can do is fly an occasional bomber overhead or sail a couple destroyers within range. China is very cognizant of our weakened state in the Pacific.
I don’t want the United States to be the world’s policeman. However, I do want our possible military adversaries to understand we have the power to achieve peace through strength. That ability at the present time is suspect at best. The U.S. Army is on its way to being at its lowest strength since prior to the Second World War. Our Air Force does not have the force structure to handle its commitments and responsibilities and is cutting the bone to achieve a smaller stature demanded by the executive branch and Congressional funding. The Marine Corp is literally scavenging through museums for spare parts for its aircraft.
The next president will have a big job on his hands to rebuild the deterrent capability of the U.S. military. That is one reason that 2016 is such a critical election. The future of our defenses literally hang in the balance. A Reaganesque military resurgence is sorely needed and would be much welcomed.
L. Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a contributor to The Washington Times, Fox Business, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others, and he is a foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit LToddWood.com.