Earlier this week, Barack Obama offered a strange rhetorical construct about the military dominance built by the US that made state-on-state attacks on America unthinkable for over 60 years. He told an audience, “Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower,” suggesting that military dominance is somehow a negative. Sarah Palin finishes off the week with a commentary about this odd gripe about success, and wonders whether Obama sees a strong America as a good thing at all:
Whether we like it or not? Most Americans do like it. America’s military may be one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen, liberating countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and kept authoritarian powers like Russian and China in check.
It is in America’s and the world’s interests for our country to remain a dominant military superpower, but under our great country’s new leadership that dominance seems to be slipping away. President Obama has ended production of the F-22, the most advanced fighter jet this country has ever built. He’s gutted our missile defense program by eliminating shield resources in strategic places including Alaska. And he’s ended the program to build a new generation of nuclear weapons that would have ensured the reliability of our nuclear deterrent well into the future. All this is in the context of the country’s unsustainable debt that could further limit defense spending.
To some extent, one could argue this as a difference in viewpoints and definitions. The Left likes to argue that strength comes from internal stability and equitable distribution of resources. They dislike the idea of military strength, partly because of a natural tendency towards pacifism and the class-warfare conflict that they see as the primal conflict of the West, but also because of the money it takes to maintain that military dominance. That antipathy towards military strength certainly explains a “whether we like it or not” attitude towards our superpower status.
However, we live in a dangerous world. If the entire world was peopled by legitimate democracies that respected property rights, we wouldn’t need a military at all. If tyrannies and kleptocrats only controlled a handful of nations, we wouldn’t need overwhelming force. The truth is that the enlightened republics are far outnumbered by dangerous nations, and that means we have to remain vigilant for symmetrical and asymmetrical threats. If we allow our military dominance to pass, we will find it much more expensive to acquire later, and perhaps too late to keep us safe from the threats coming in the 21st century.
Obama appears to have put the US on a path that dismantles our advantage. Palin’s correct in that assessment, and we will soon see whether that means putting the US at the mercy of our adversaries.