In a report last week from national security expert Bill Gertz, a Russian Akula class nuclear attack submarine patrolled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for a month over the summer. The Akula’s job is to find and destroy US ballistic missile subs, known in Navy parlance as “boomers.” It can also fire cruise missiles with a range of nearly 2,000 miles.
More troubling is that the Navy, whose job it is to detect enemy subs with satellites, ocean sensors and warning nets, and antisubmarine aircraft, had no idea the Akula was in the Gulf until after it was gone. And with a major US boomer sub base at King’s Bay, Georgia, the report is all the more disturbing.
In June and July, Russian strategic bombers flew missions toward US territory in Alaska and California, with the latter operation actually penetrating American airspace. Thankfully, air force fighter jets were scrambled to escort the bombers away from the mainland.
Under the terms of the new START agreement, negotiated in 2010, an advance notice of two weeks must be given before any strategic bomber exercises are conducted. The Russians provided no such notice.
Such incursions by air and sea have not been an issue since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. But Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles to show the world, particularly the United States, that Russia remains a military superpower.
It is obvious that President Putin has no respect whatsoever for President Obama. This situation is similar to that in the late 1970s when President Carter proved unable or unwilling to confront aggressive Soviet military actions, including incursions by subs, ships, and bombers. Ronald Reagan, though, pushed back hard and the aggression ceased.
Today, because of both our domestic and foreign policy situation, the Russians see us as stretched too thin and worn out from fighting two foreign wars in the Middle East for the past decade. They are testing our resolve.
Other nations also smell weakness. As I documented in my book, The Last Jeffersonian, China has been quietly establishing a presence in Cuba, with surveillance outposts, and even on the US mainland, with a People’s Liberation Army front company gaining access to an abandoned naval base in Long Beach, California, also for the purposes of spying.
Iran is also making inroads into the Western Hemisphere, building their largest embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, as well as a strategic missile base deep in the jungle. The terror group Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, has established training bases in Central and South America. Only a fool would fail to realize the purpose of these actions.
The Russian military is currently working to establish a naval refueling and replenishing station in Cuba in order to maintain a constant presence under our very noses. Yet we have done nothing to dissuade any of these nations who regard us as an enemy; our dovish administration is only fueling their aggressive desires.
For unknown reasons, as a nation we have made the Monroe Doctrine of little practical effect in our modern era. We currently spend nearly $700 billion a year funding the Pentagon, which has translated into a first class international offense, yet, in light of these recent reports, we seem to be lacking what our Constitution guarantees and that is a strong national defense.
Obama’s budget cuts are, like all liberal cuts, aimed at the Department of Defense. The precious welfare state never sees the budget ax because Democrats guard it with their very lives. These military reductions, over the next decade, total nearly a half a trillion dollars, with more planned in the future. Specifically, $1.3 billion of these cuts included naval shipbuilding, at a time when our fleet is as small as it was before World War II. Amazingly, the Navy also had to scrap plans to buy 10 advanced antisubmarine aircraft.
Because our foreign policy is so fixated on “overseas contingency operations,” we have lost focus on protecting the homeland. We seem to be too occupied with building democracies in the Middle East and in trying our best to get involved in civil wars, like in Syria.
We have troops in over 100 foreign nations, with over 900 overseas bases, and treaties with dozens of countries that would require us to defend those lands with our blood and treasure should the need arise. On our dime, the US military patrols the borders and guards the peace of nations a half a world away.
It’s time we brought our troops home, ended our treaty guarantees that would force us into a foreign war, cut our overseas budgets, and begin protecting our homeland and our own borders before we have no nation left to defend.
This column appeared in the Laurel Leader Call (Laurel, MS) on Tuesday, August 21, 2012.