By unilaterally abandoning U.S. missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, President Obama has taken yet another step toward militarily and diplomatically disarming the United States and our allies in the face of Iran’s nuclear program. Sadly, this is yet another in a growing series of Obama’s retreats. From cutting our defense budget by $40 billion in a time of war, to unilaterally abandoning our commitment to defend our troops and our allies in the region, to foreign tours featuring public apologies for America’s role in the world, Obama’s liberal foreign policy is now coming fully and shockingly into view.
Next week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to America. This brutally repressive dictator will speak to the United Nations General Assembly, receiving all the courtesies and honors America affords to foreign dignitaries. And as he speaks, his thousands of high-speed centrifuges will be refining uranium into the weapons-grade components he needs to assemble his first nuclear weapon.
The blood of the peaceful demonstrators opposing his “re-election” has barely dried on the streets of Tehran. And we have been treated just this week to more of his delaying tactics, as he laughs in the face of America and our allies, who long ago exhausted our “soft diplomacy” aimed at stopping him from building a nuclear weapon.
We have also learned this week that Russia will supply Iran with sophisticated S-300 air-defense missiles. Russia is officially denying this, but a Russian official has been quoted in the official Russian news agency Tass, the RIA-Novosti news agency, and the independent Interfax news agency confirming the defense contract between Russia and Iran was signed two years ago.
The Russian S-300 is a sophisticated, long-range surface-to-air missile specifically designed for the air defense of large industrial facilities and military bases against cruise missiles and military strike aircraft — precisely the missile system Iran needs to defend a nuclear installation.
There is one, and only one aircraft in the world that can confidently penetrate and destroy the sophisticated air defense batteries Russia is capable of building, and that is the F-22 Raptor, which President Obama has just killed. That’s right. President Obama’s first veto threat was issued to Congress demanding that the F-22 Raptor, the stealthiest, fastest, longest range, most lethal strike fighter in the world, be discontinued, with no similarly capable aircraft even on the drawing board. The F-22 program is now dead.
Plus, the Obama defense budget has shown absolutely no seriousness in building the new fleet of aerial refueling tankers that would keep F-22s and follow-on aircraft airborne, halfway around the world. Our current Eisenhower-era fleet is over 40 years old. The bureaucratic effort to start building a new fleet has been a disgrace, with the Government Accountability Office overturning an attempt by a group of Air Force procurement officers to rig the bidding process in favor of French-based Airbus. The latest news is that the procurement team which has been placed in charge of rebidding the tanker will ignore the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling this week that Airbus is guilty of massive trade violations. In the largest case ever filed before the WTO, the US Trade Representative successfully established that the tens of billions of dollars in “launch aid” Airbus got from European governments is an illegal trade violation. Ignoring the WTO ruling is not only a scandalously self-destructive trade policy, but it is also bad procurement policy. If we want a tanker built quickly, the last thing we need is years of domestic litigation and international trade challenges that will follow if such a blatantly unfair and incoherent position is publicly adopted by two government agencies.
Obama’s campaign to end the Raptor program, and his willful blindness to Airbus’s trade violations on the tanker are evidence that he is simply not serious in addressing future threats to American security posed by countries like Iran.
The world does not stand still. And Iran is but one example of how, if we downgrade and delay our cutting-edge defense programs we increasingly place our future in the hands of the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads of the world.
As Ahmadinejad comes to New York next week and mocks American power from floor of the United Nations, Americans should consider just how much power we should be giving him through our unwillingness to maintain the military programs we need to ensure that we can, if necessary, deal with his nuclear ambitions.