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Is Russia A Threat to the Free World?

December 8, 2014

Reports talk about Russia spending hundreds of billions of dollars on upgrading its military capabilities and, in particular, its nuclear arsenal.  A recent Associated Press story highlighted the Russian Navy’s successful test-firing of the new “Bulava” submarine-launched nuclear-capable missile.  This weapon has a range of nearly 5,000 miles.  Already two Russian submarines capable of firing this weapon are on duty with another due to join the fleet in the coming months.   Russian Military officials have boasted about the “Bulava’s”  ability to penetrate any prospective missile defense system.

In addition, a recent Moscow Times account notes Russian military planners are likely to reinstitute nuclear missile trains.  According to the story, the makers of the “Bulava” are in the process of designing the next-generation of nuclear missile launching trains.  Planners  say it could be deployed as early as 2019-2020.  When the USSR collapsed in 1991, 56 such missile trains were deployed throughout the Soviet Union. But the missiles themselves were manufactured in the Ukraine which stopped building them.  By 2005 Russia had decommissioned all 56 missile-firing trains.  The move by Russia to upgrade its armaments is all part of a $500 billion effort.

Meanwhile, we are seeing increased Russian military muscle-flexing around the globe.  Russian long range bombers, fighter aircraft and airborne refueling tankers have flow frequent sorties to within 60 miles of the U.S and Canadian west coasts.  Similar flights have been on the increase in Europe.  All of these have been intercepted by U.S., Canadian, and NATO aircraft.  But the number of incursions has become of increasing concern to free world military planners.

Add to this Russia’s “annexation” of the Crimean peninsula and its support for the separatists in the Ukraine – separatists who used Russian missiles to shoot down a civilian jetliner – and the concern over the Russian military continues to grow.

Closer to home, the third Defense Secretary in six years has resigned, this time under pressure from the White House.  Just like Secretaries Gates and Panetta before him, Secretary Hagel had complained of micromanagement from senior White House staff and a former senior Pentagon official -- Michele Flournoy – who was on the top of the “short list” to replace Hagel informed the President she’s not interested in the job.

Reagan had it right, others respect strength and “Peace through strength” works.  So too Teddy Roosevelt who coined the phrase “Speak softly but carry a big stick!”  They had a workable strategy and stuck with it!

Meanwhile the current Administration doesn’t seem to have a strategy and is seen as weak and untrustworthy by our enemies and allies alike.  We’re not, in any way, favoring going to war but what we continue to see is a lack of commitment -- and dollars -- for our military by this President and his Administration. 

Let’s put this into perspective.  The Constitution gives the federal government the responsibility to provide for the common defense.  It does not provide a mandate for Obamacare.  So why are we spending money on things that are not mandated while giving short shrift to those things that are clearly within the purview of the federal government?  Could it be that while global tensions are on the rise, this Administration is more interested in domestic policy than it is about our national security?
As we observe the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, we suggest a change of strategy is needed.  Perhaps the new Congress can provide the constitutional leadership we need.

Bill, Mark, and John