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Jim Talent: “The Left Has Allowed its Ideology to Distort its Perception of Global Risk”

May 21st, 2009 by mopns · No Comments

With North Korea and Iraq thumbing its noses at the world, former Senator Jim Talent writes in National Review how irresponsible it is for the United States to continue cutting its defense spending.

By Jim Talent

In an editorial on Sunday, May 10, the New York Times took the Obama administration to task for not cutting defense spending more deeply. Now, one wonders whether the Times is serious, or whether it is sending some kind of intramural signal intelligible only within the political Left. The administration is already making deep cuts in the defense budget and will undoubtedly cut even more in the future, despite the need for substantial increases in the modernization budget, which the Heritage Foundation, among others, has documented and about which I have written previously for National Review Online.

Yet the Times editorial is worth some consideration, because it is so typical of what passes on the Left for “analysis” of defense spending. The editorial does not actually discuss the programs it wants to cut, much less the general condition of America’s military or the risks America currently faces. Rather, its recommendations spring from a deeply ideological aversion to military power that is increasingly out of date and dangerous in the post–Cold War world.

First, the Times mischaracterizes the programs it criticizes. For example, it calls the F-22 air-superiority fighter “redundant.” Whatever else can be said about the F-22, it is not redundant. It’s the only fighter in the Air Force that can match the modern aircraft America’s competitors are acquiring in increasing quantities. Certainly the Russians and the Chinese will not shut down their Sukhoi and other advanced-fighter lines on the grounds that they are “redundant.” Numbers matter; without adequate numbers of 21st-century fighters, the United States cannot achieve air superiority, and without air superiority, military operations in places like the Straits of Taiwan become impossible. Read more…

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