As conservatives wrestle with the question of their movement’s commitment to national security, one young war veteran made the case for a strong national defense and Ronald Reagan’s entreaty that America pursue “peace through strength.” Speaking Thursday morning at CPAC, freshman congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried directly to appeal to those conservatives wary and weary of American wars against radical Islamic terrorists.
Since the hacking of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, etc., and the Mandiant revelations about China’s PLA Unit 61398, the media and Internet have exploded with talk of our reaching a “tipping point” in cybersecurity (or not, depending on the point of view). We’re, in fact, long past the “tipping point”: what Mandiant had to say about Chinese hacking was actually old news to those who follow things cyber.
With the next round of international talks on Iran’s nuclear program scheduled for February 26, the United States needs to understand Iran’s negotiating strategy. Recent Iranian tactics suggest a seemingly contradictory approach: simultaneously slowing down and speeding up their nuclear program. But by buying time now, Iran is shrewdly seeking to evade international pressure while hastening its advance to nuclear weapons capability. The United States should be clear that it sees through this ploy and remains determined to prevent a nuclear Iran.
With the quiet announcement that the United States is earmarking $50 million from the defense budget immediately for France and Niger, two countries in the forefront of the battle for Mali against Islamist hordes and Tuareg secessionists, the Obama administration appears to be indicating that it views with a jaundiced eye the potential of our enemies to burst out of the Sahara, cross the Niger river, and wreak havoc throughout the Sahel and beyond.
Growth is the summum bonum of economic policy. Tough to arrange at home: stimulus packages don’t work very well, and monetary policy produces lots of fiat money but not very many jobs. The solution: export-led growth—the other guy will buy so much of your goods and services that your economy will grow. There are two ways to make this sort of growth happen. Lower the international value of your currency so that your output is cheaper overseas, or increase productivity at home by lowering labor and other costs and therefore the prices you need to charge foreigners.
The U.S. military announced today that instead of keeping mulitple aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, only one would be kept there. The reason offered? Uncertainty surrounding budget cuts.
"The secretary of defense has delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), which were scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va., later this week for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility," says the Pentagon in a press release announcing the big move.
Informed sources are confirming reports that there was a major explosion at a uranium enrichment plant at an Iranian nuclear facility in Fordow last week. However, the White House believes the reports are not credible and Iran denies that anything is amiss, but a variety of news items coming out of Israel and Iran point to the likelihood that something significant is happening in the region.
President Obama has released a statement supporting Secretary of Defense Panetta's decision on women in combat units! "Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens." Indeed, the president is confident this decision "will strengthen our military, enhance our readiness, and be another step toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals of fairness and equality."
President Barack Obama gave a shout out last night at an Inaugural ball to our "comrades in arms" in Afghanistan. After hearing from troops in Afghanistan through a video a satellite, the commander in chief said, "I can tell you that you've got a room full of patriots here. And although I've got to admit that they're a little spiffied up right now -- their heart and soul, their dedication, their sense of duty is at one with every single one of the folks who are in Kandahar right now."
In an otherwise unmemorable second inaugural speech, I was struck by one sentence: "But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well."
Determined not to lose Mali to Islamist forces, France’s president Francois Hollande ordered a rapid deployment of air and ground forces in Mali to block well-armed and motivated fighters of the Ansar Dine movement led by the veteran Tuareg leader Iyad Ag Ghali from crossing the Niger river and marching on Bamako.
In remarks with Afghan president Hamid Karzai at the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama said the U.S. has fallen "short of the ideal" in Afghanistan:
"So, you know, I think that, have we achieved everything that some might have imagined us achieving in the best of scenarios? Probably not. You know, there's a human enterprise, and you know, you fall short of the ideal," said Obama.