No Time to Back Down on Missile Defense

Around the world, we see evidence that we have enemies and they mean us harm. North Korea continues to develop, test, and deploy offensive nuclear missile capabilities. They have come right out and said what their intentions are. All we have to do is listen.

Much the same thing can be said of Iran. Russia is again selling equipment and materials to the Iranians as they pursue their quest of offensive nuclear missile capabilities. The Russians, too, have made it quite clear what their intentions are. Are we listening?

Much of Europe, which is currently unprotected from missile attack, desperately wants the United States to extend the reach of our missile-defense capabilities from the Eastern United States to include Europe. This would be a win-win. Europe would be protected from radical extremists, and so would the United States.

As Iran openly pursues nuclear capabilities and missile technology, this is not a time to shrink from our commitment to defend ourselves and our allies against ballistic missile attack.

Just after North Korea launched its longest range missile yet, in yet another violation of its international agreements and obligations, now is not the time for President Obama to bow and scrape before the world’s fanatical dictators who are pursuing offensive nuclear weapons.

As the threats to the free world increase, now is the time to take steps to ensure America’s safety by making ballistic missiles obsolete and incapable of harming us.

Missile defense is not the only deterrent we must place between us and those who would consider doing us harm. We must also continue to develop and deploy the tools and equipment and technologies that will allow America’s fighting men and women to have every advantage on the battlefield as they place themselves in harm’s way to protect American lives and American freedom. That is why weapons systems such as the F-22 fighter jet, the Future Combat Systems, new air refueling tankers, and increased troop levels and training cannot be put on hold.

Simply put, we must continue to take affirmative steps to deter aggression and to ensure America’s safety and freedom. We must not view our military budget as just another pot of federal money open to shifts in the political winds and the desire to reward favored domestic constituencies.

A stronger defense would also add considerably to the diplomatic options open to the Obama team. Our current and potential allies will more readily listen to American diplomacy if we have the capabilities and the will to protect them from the threats of dangerous dictators.

Whether you have greater faith in the deterrent power of a strong military posture, or the diplomatic advantages a strong defense affords us in the world community, a strong U.S. defense capability remains an essential element in maintaining and expanding the nations we have come to know as the Free World. So on every conceivable level, it is important that the Obama administration not seek to fund its political agenda or to appease international critics by cutting America’s ability to defend itself and its allies from critical threats.

The truth is, if Obama reduces our defense capabilities, there will likely come a time when he will bear a large portion of the blame for his refusal to deter the aggression of rogue nations or our inability to project power in defense of U.S. interests around the globe. Alternatively, if Obama and his team were to exercise some wise planning and steady leadership, we can avoid many of those looming threats.

If President Obama puts national defense ahead of domestic politics, he will be rewarded by the American people, our allies abroad and by history. For generations to come, this will be the truest measure of whether he was a successful president.