The NRO editors remind us of the strange rhetoric Obama employed upon hearing North Korea would be shooting a missile at Hawaii:
“Well, first of all, let’s be clear. This administration — and our military — is fully prepared for any contingencies,” he assured Harry Smith of CBS News. “The t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted in terms of what might happen.”
Yes, I’m sure the ruthless efficiency of a proofreader is just what sends a shiver up the spines in Pyongyang. But the actions that the editors catalogue speak louder than the mousy verbiage. He has proposed $1.2B cuts in missile defense while North Korea embarks on an ICBM program and the mullahs in Iran bare their teeth. And as the president heads for Russia, we are reminded:
Also in jeopardy is a missile-defense system currently planned for Eastern Europe. The NATO-endorsed program, which would include about ten interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, aims to protect Europe and the United States from the emerging menace of Iran. In February, rocket scientists in the service of the ayatollahs demonstrated their sophistication when they put a satellite into orbit, using the same ballistic technology that can launch warheads. Yet Russia has objected to this proposed defensive system on the preposterous grounds that it would create a deterrent to its own massive arsenal. Moscow’s real concern is the expansion of Western influence in former Soviet satellite states. Unfortunately, Obama has given every indication that he’s ready to abandon the program.
If there were ever a policy — cutting back on missile defense — more inappropriate to the moment I’d be hard pressed to come up with it. (Er, well, there is neutrality on regime change in Iran and bullying of Israel, but this is a close third at least.)
The president seems ideologically wedded to recreating the nuclear freeze movement of the 1970’s and 80’s. But the times call for a far different approach. Now is not the time for unilateral cuts or timidity. Unfortunately, that is what we have.