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Friday, February 28, 2014

Russia's Resurgence Is A Reaction To Obama's Retreat -- IBD Editorial

America's old Cold War adversary is acting more and more like it used to, exerting power from Crimea to Havana to Singapore. Think it might be related to the shrinking of our conventional forces?

It might sound crazy today, but historians (writing in Russian or Mandarin, of course) could look back one day at the killing of Osama bin Laden and see it as the beginning of the demise of America as a superpower.
As Center for Political-Military Analysis director and Hudson Institute senior fellow Richard Weitz noted some months after the bin Laden operation, rather than "overwhelming force missions, the Obama team is partial to the deft and swift surgical strikes conducted by missile-armed drones and helicopter-transported commandos."

Consequently, as announced this week, Obama is shrinking the U.S. Army to its smallest size since before World War II. While he's at it, he's scrapping an entire class of Air Force attack jets. The idea is to "modernize" the military — you know, put aside all those obsolete horses and bayonets the president sneered at Mitt Romney about during the final debate in 2012.

An anonymous Pentagon official quipped to the New York Times that "you can't carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war." Moscow, however, sees it differently.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Wednesday that the once and future superpower plans permanent military bases in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Vietnam, Singapore and other countries; refueling facilities for Russia's strategic bombers are also in the works.

That same day, a Russian Meridian-class intelligence ship with about 200 crew members was discovered docked in Havana. And on Thursday, Russia scrambled fighter jets over its border with Ukraine as Moscow signaled it didn't fear confronting the West over the exasperating crisis in the nation Stalin starved.

During Obama's first term, the U.S. officially undertook a policy leading to giving up our capability to wage two major ground wars at the same time in different parts of the world — a quality that defines a global superpower.

The U.S. has already withdrawn from Iraq, and we are making it clear we are fully withdrawing from Afghanistan as well. It's an invitation asking the Taliban that we so easily defeated after 9/11 to come right back into power in a year or several. Tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines are being cut.

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