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The Defense Crisis

The Wall Street Journal today opines on “Putin Invades, Obama Dismantles,” and it is afire follow up to my conversation yesterday with the Journal’s Bret Stephens about Putin’s aggression and the just leaked plans for the next round of cuts to our nuclear arsenal:

Defense officials privately had said that they expected the cuts to spare U.S. submarine-launched weapons, which are considered the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad—which consists of bombers, subs and land-based missiles—and therefore the strongest deterrent force.

But the Pentagon instead decided to cut the number of submarine missile launch tubes from 336 today to 240 by 2018, a 29% reduction. It will cut the number of nuclear bombers from 96 B-52 and B-2s today to 66 by 2018, a 38% cut.

The Congressional GOP is belatedly taking notice and trying to get their Democratic colleagues to recognize that 2014 is not 1991 and that Russia and the PRC are aggressive, authoritarian powers that require a robust U.S. military and especially a fully functioning nuclear deterrent, not an ideology driven parity-by-leftwing-politics arsenal.

Paul Ryan has a piece out on the defense side of his budget, and the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker reports on the turn towards sharply higher defense spending. The bad news is that Dick Durbin is the Senate’s leader on defense appropriations and he is solidly in the Obama appeasement camp. Until the Senate is back in GOP hands, Putin, the PRC, Iran and the rest of the world’s aggressive authoritarians won’t have to worry that the U.S. is serious about rebuilding its nuclear deterrent, much less its Navy and Marine Corps or restoring too-deep Army cuts. Bret Stephens spelled it out Monday: It is “Putin’s Moment.”

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    Hugh Hewitt
  • Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist. A proficient blogger, Hugh Hewitt has one of the most visited political blogs in the U.S.

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