An existential choice 17

America is confronted with an existential choice. If it can no longer afford both strong defense and social welfare – which seems to be the case ever more compellingly – which will it choose? A strong defense ensures survival. Welfare guarantees decline and fall.

Earlier this month, Obama announced his plan for weakening America.

We quote from an article by Arnold Ahlert at Front Page:

The scope of the divestment is daunting. The additional $500 billion in new spending cuts come on top of the $480 billion this president cut out of the military budget his first three years in office. Neither of these cuts reflect the possibility that an additional $500 billion in possible cuts will kick in next January, under “sequestration.” And since the 2012 budget request already calls for the reduction of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines over the next four years, it is likely those numbers will increase as well.

Critical technology has also [been targeted and], may get axed as well. The Airborne Laser, a project aimed at destroying enemy missiles soon after they blast off was killed 2010, along with the Future Combat Systems, a program deigned to coordinate mobile forces and unmanned vehicles. The latter was killed with the promise that modernization resources would go directly to the Army and Marines. So far it hasn’t happened, and now it may not. The Navy’s hypersonic electromagnetic rail gun, a project designed to intercept anti-ship missiles–like those that could be aimed at our carriers in a fight with Iran or China–lost funding in 2011. Cutbacks could also include the F-35 fighter plane, despite its radar-evading stealth technology that would allow us to maintain our dominance in the air.

Why? Incredibly, the president claimed “the tide of war is receding.” No doubt that would be news to Iraqis who are enduring large-scale attacks and the possibility of a civil war, due primarily to our premature withdrawal. So too for the Afghans, who must now contemplate the return of the Taliban, with whom the Obama administration has seen fit to negotiate, using Islamic cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as a “key mediator,” despite [no, because of  – JB] rabid anti-Semitism and his issuance of a fatwa urging the killing of American troops. No doubt Iran, fresh from conducting military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz last week, and further maneuvers near the Afghan coast on Saturday, would be equally surprised. And then there’s the multiple threats the Islamist uprisings, nostalgically referred to as the “Arab Spring,” have the potential to engender as well.

[The] administration [is] projecting military budget outlays of 2.7 percent of GDP by 2021. That number is comparable to our military outlays in the year 1940–one year before America’s fatal flirtation with both isolationism and peace literally blew up in our collective faces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

As always, this chain saw approach to the military is what every military cutback has been about for progressives: maintaining the inviolability of the welfare state, for which spending is set to hit nearly 11% of GDP by 2020, before the projected $2.6 trillion slated for ObamaCare – a number that will undoubtedly rise – is factored in. Yet this is where that inviolability inevitably leads:

“Entitlements now account for around 65 percent of all federal spending and a record 18 percent of GDP. The three largest entitlements – Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – eclipsed defense spending in 1976 and have been growing ever since. If future taxes are held at the historical average, these three entitlements will consume all tax revenues by 2052, leaving no money for the government’s primary constitutional obligation: providing for the common defense.”

Yet it is more than just a desire to expand the welfare state that drives this president and his administration. Mr. Obama is a dedicated progressive who cannot hide his disdain for American exceptionalism. The Hoover Institution’s Shelby Steele explains:

“[The American left] seeks to trade the burdens of greatness for the relief of mediocrity. When greatness fades, when a nation contracts to a middling place in the world, then the world in fact no longer knocks on its door… To redeem the nation from its supposed avarice and hubris, the American left effectively makes a virtue of decline  …”

How far is Mr. Obama willing to go in that regard? His administration recently acknowledged that it is pursuing a policy aimed at giving Russia detailed information about the performance of our offensive and defensive missile capabilities. Ostensibly this will be instrumental in breaking the deadlock in missile defense talks with Moscow, in that it will assure the Russians we mean them no harm. Yet section 1227 of the defense law prohibits spending on such a measure, until Congress receives a report on the numerous details involved. Furthermore, the president is required to certify to Congress that Russia will not share the secrets with other nations, or “develop counter-measures” to U.S. defenses. [Trust thine enemy?}

[But] Mr. Obama kicked section 1227 to the curb. In a signing statement, he said he considered the restrictions “non-binding.”

Are Americans willing to completely abandon this nation’s role as the “last best hope of mankind” for a welfare state that will consume 100 percent of government revenue forty years hence?

For those who can’t work out in theory that the welfare state is unsustainable – to use one of the favorite words of the left  – there is the model of Europe to prove it, as one after another the socialist heavens come crashing down.

We would like to see all entitlements abandoned. Let’s have very low taxes instead, allotting the government enough revenue to maintain an extremely strong defense capability and a reliable justice system so that the only necessary function of government, the defense of the nation’s liberty, is thoroughly fulfilled;  allowing it nothing to squander on frivolous and counter-productive extravagances such as welfare and foreign aid.

We expect this opinion of ours will provoke the usual question: if the government stops being the welfare-provider for the nation, how will those who cannot support themselves survive? The answer: on the munificent charity that those who ask the question will not hesitate to provide.