Posted by Curt on 25 June, 2013 at 4:05 pm. 2 comments already!


Jim Talent:

The most recent humiliation of the United States has come at the hands of the Chinese, Russian, and Ecuadorian governments, which are together orchestrating a plan to protect Edward Snowden from prosecution.  Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong for Russia, evidently with the intention of seeking long-term asylum in Ecuador.

Forget, for a moment, whether the NSA program that Snowden leaked was good or bad, and whether Snowden should be prosecuted for leaking it.  Those are important issues but they are not relevant to the motivations of the governments that are cooperating to protect Snowden.  Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are not trying to strike a blow for American civil liberties.  The whole plot was hatched and executed within a few weeks of President Obama’s meetings with Putin and Xi.  It was intended to be, as Senator Chuck Schumer put it, a “finger in the eye of the United States.”

And why shouldn’t they stick their fingers in our eye?  Over the last few years, the United States has repudiated the strategic principles which have underpinned its foreign policy since World War II.  The Obama Administration has moved America away from the forefront of world events, preferring to “lead from behind” – which of course means not leading at all.  It has neglected traditional alliances with Britain, Israel, and Eastern Europe and failed to build new ones.  It has eschewed the tools of soft power, pointedly failing to recognize, much less support (even rhetorically) those fighting for human rights in places like Russia, China, or Iran.

Worst of all, the government is systematically dismantling America’s hard power.  Over the last four years, American defense budgets have been cut by almost 1.5 trillion dollars — far more than any other part of the budget.  The last round of cuts embodied in the sequester are eating into readiness.  The force is “hollowing,” sacrificing the training and maintenance that are essential for the military to operate on a day-to-day basis.  Training has been curtailed for 80% of the Army; one third of America’s fighters and bombers have stood down; and two thirds of the Navy will, by year’s end, not be ready for combat.

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