President Obama plans to trim military spending come as no surprise. Now that the military has done its jobs for him (killing Osama bin Laden, backing out of Iraq, keeping Afghanistan from imploding), he would rather use the money for other things. Many of the Democrats in Congress concur.
However, we shouldn’t forget that while every nickel the Pentagon spends may not be nursed, we over-reduce our military at our own peril.
When Obama made his grand tour of other countries after taking office, he was able to do so for one reason, and it wasn’t his alleged personal popularity. Rather, it was because America’s military might was behind him all the way.
Our military has two purposes: To defend us from attack, and to project our foreign policy throughout the world. We can run interference to help rebels in places like Libya because we are powerful. We are able to forge alliances with other powers because we are militarily strong, not because we are friendly.
Obama was able to take credit for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips from the hands of pirates in April of 2009 not because he was a clever fellow, but because of the skill and training of the personnel aboard UST Bainbridge, whose snipers dispatched Phillips’ captors after a four-day standoff.
This would be true of any president, because individual presidents can only do so much, and they only have limited authority. But they have to understand that without an effective military, whatever authority they do possess evaporates when it comes to projecting foreign policy.
In other words, if you have to kill pirates, or eliminate any enemy, you need to have somebody out there who can and will do it for you, and who has the training and wherewithal to do what has to be done. Cuts that destroy those options should not be made.