For four years, American policy toward Syria has been built on a wish and a prayer: a wish that President Bashar al-Assad would leave and a prayer that the “moderate” Syrian opposition would be more than it is. Now Russia has stepped up its game, and the response from the American government and many commentators seems to be to wish harder and pray more, while condemning Russia for intruding where it supposedly doesn’t belong.
As much as many Americans and Europeans may abhor what President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia did in Crimea and Ukraine, Moscow’s intervention in Syria may offer the first glimmer of hope for ending the quagmire there.… Seguir leyendo »
Leon Panetta may still be savoring the successful operation against Osama bin Laden in a month or two. But as the incoming defense secretary, he will have a major challenge of a different order: presiding over a defense build-down.
President Obama’s proposal to reduce the projected defense budget by $400 billion over the next 12 years underlines a reality that is driven by concern over deficits, debt and a declining interest in having the United States act as global cop. And his proposal is only the opening bid on how far down defense budgets could go.
While outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates reacted to Obama’s decision as though it had created a crisis in defense planning, the reductions that Panetta must carry out are inevitable, even necessary.… Seguir leyendo »
Of all of this year’s seismic shifts in the deficit and debt debate, putting U.S. defense budgets on the table is perhaps the most significant.
President Obama’s deficit commission, reinforced by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Rivlin-Domenici panel, has added military spending to the conversation on spending cuts. And newly-ascendant Republicans have affirmed that fiscal discipline must extend to the defense budget.
The U.S. Department of Defense, however, has not yet acknowledged this shift. On the contrary, Defense Secretary Robert Gates blasted the deficit commission’s report as “math, not strategy.”
More disciplined budgeting will first require the United States to acknowledge that we Americans are more secure today than at any point since 1945.… Seguir leyendo »