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Deeply Unsettling

Mar 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 25 • By GARY SCHMITT and THOMAS DONNELLY
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Even worse would be to have the military capacity to sustain the security guarantees of the past. Hagel made it plain: The U.S. military has become a one-war-at-a-time force and has cast aside the traditional two-war standard that guided American strategists in the past and which kept the great power peace for the past 60-plus years. Of course, any nation with only one bullet will be reluctant to pull the trigger.

Alas, congressional Republicans have been the enabler of this disarmament. The party’s accountant wing cooked up the Budget Control Act and accepted its sequestration provision that allowed Obama to do what no previous Democratic president would dare. So the weapon used to assault our military preparedness and national strength has Republican fingerprints on it as well. Ryan-Murray was a first step to correct this mistake, but only a first step. 

In the meantime, the world, from East Asia to the Middle East, is “unsettled” and becoming ever more so. Does anyone doubt that the decision in Washington to slash its defenses has been fully noted in Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, Tehran, and North Waziristan? Like Jeremiah, we say judgment is inevitable. Unless the present course is reversed, the wages of weakness will be paid in increased instability, crises, and ultimately conflicts that might well have been avoided.


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