In a previous column I observed that something must have scared the bejabbers out of President Trump because out of the blue he called for doubling the defense budget. I came across a news item in the Quad-City Times quoting a report by Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal on a recent presentation by Admiral Gary Roughead who chaired the National Defense Strategy Commission.
Admiral Roughead flatly stated that in case of a war in the Baltic region or over Taiwan we would lose. The article went on to state reasons why we would lose and I added a few of my own based on 38 years of exposure to the Department of Defense.
— Our enemies now have precision strike capabilities as good as our own. Hell, they are our own. They stole them from us.
— They have vast, uncounted quantities of cruise and ballistic missiles. In fact, Russia just touted a new design of a multi-warhead ballistic missile and a new supersonic missile for battlefield application.
— They have advanced cyber warfare and air defense capabilities, possibly superior to our own because they have thousands of operators, exploring how to sabotage ours.
— They have significant air/naval forces concentrated into smaller areas than our depleted capabilities stretched out over larger areas.
— They, too, have nuclear weapons.
— They have shorter supply routes and better knowledge of the terrain and languages in the battle zones.
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— They have significant fifth column infiltration already functioning.
— They have a larger population base than we do in the areas cited.
— They can effectively impose secrecy on their operations because they have dedicated central and closed government, unlike our open, democratic methods.
I hope the commission’s finding receive much wider circulation among our citizens than I believe it has thus far. I have stated before — we are at war and have been at war since 1941, both hot and cold wars. Being tired of war is no excuse to ignore the danger to our democracy, loss of lives, and severe economic impact that could destroy our economy.
Mr. Trump has called for increased defense spending but suggested no measures for paying for it. Quite flatly, if we are to do as he suggests we are going to require some really creative taxation to handle it. Since he represents the anti-tax oligarchy in this country, that approach is highly unlikely. That leaves another alternative never really discussed.
This one is right up Mr. Trump’s alley; something I wouldn’t put past him. Cancel all defense/protection treaties and agreements. Pull all our troops and equipment out from wherever. In one way some of our citizens would be happy because every year we pour millions of dollars into these places and their citizens have come to think of it as a birthright. They think we should defend them and they do little to defend themselves. Tell the Russians and Chinese, “Go ahead. You will deserve all the headaches that go with your actions.”
Then what would we do? With the aid money saved, bolster our continental offensive and defensive power — men and equipment. Harden key sites to withstand an attack from beyond our borders. Any retaliation by us should be complete, leaving only scorched earth. Doesn’t fit the ideas of pacifists and welfare state proponents? I didn’t say I recommend it — I’m just supposing. But we may have to do something very soon that is just as radical.