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The Obama administration has been very effective at one thing—destroying the reputation of the American military as a force to be reckoned with. World leaders do not respect the United States. They do not fear the United States. The U.S. military has been turned into a social justice organization whose priority is combating so-called global warming, not, as they teach you as a military officer, to kill people and break things. The next President of the United States will have as his number one priority the job of rebuilding the American military as a fighting force, feared and unbeatable.
Machiavelli wrote so many centuries ago, “It is better to be feared than loved.” I fear the U.S. military, at this point in time, is neither. The U.S. Constitution lists ‘providing for the national defense’ as one of the key roles of the federal government. It doesn’t say ‘make sure there as many women as men in the military.’ It doesn’t say to preserve the environment, no matter how admirable that goal may be.
There are several initial moves that the new president could make to signal that the American military is back, or will be in a few short years. Perceptions matter and if the new American leader could set the stage early, then his job of defending the country and our allies during his term will be much easier.
The first would be to restart the F-22 production line. Yes, it is old technology; however, the U.S. Air Force initially requested over 300 of the advanced fighters but the buy was limited to below 200. We do not have enough of these planes to effectively fight a large conventional conflict. Our F-15s, 16s, 18s are aging and have for the most part been surpassed by Russian and Chinese technology. Ronald Reagan restarted the B-1 program when he came into office and it sent a huge signal to our adversaries that he was really serious about rebuilding the U.S. military’s power projection capability.
The second would be to signal a reinvigoration of our missile defense program in the homeland, Europe and Asia. Upon coming into office, the Obama administration immediately betrayed our allies in Europe by removing planned missile defenses in Poland and other former Soviet satellites in favor of appeasing the Russians. Of course the policy failed and only emboldened the Kremlin; however, missile defense is the one thing that really scares Moscow. They realize they cannot keep up financially or technologically. SDI is what led to the fall of the Soviet Union. An initial nod to building up this much needed capability will again put our adversaries on notice that the new president is serious.
The consequences of not projecting a newfound power immediately upon the geopolitical stage will be further aggression by those overseas leaders who want to do us harm. It is what could lead us to another global war. The stakes are very high.
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.