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Published on September 23rd, 2014 | by Frank Vernuccio

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The Most Dangerous Policy Failure in U.S. History: Ignoring the Russian Threat

Recent incursions of Russian nuclear bombers over both the East and West coasts of North America in September clearly illustrate the dramatic threat from Moscow.

 Upon taking office in 2009, President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were quite explicit about their new direction in dealing with the Kremlin: they were going to "reset" relations with Russia.

They moved quickly and substantively:

  • The White House agreed to the New START treaty which left Moscow with a 10 to 1 advantage in tactical nuclear weapons. 
  • The President and Secretary Clinton divulged British nuclear secrets.
  • They reneged on an anti-ballistic missile treaty with Poland. They slashed the U.S. defense budget.
  • They encouraged the departure of experienced American military personnel.
  • American involvement in overseas military deployment was reduced.

President Obama promised that he would provide even more concessions after his re-election-and he did.

  • Earlier this year, all American tanks were withdrawn from Europe.
  • Despite the increase in threats from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, the White House continues to advocate unilateral cuts in the American nuclear arsenal.

The results of this extraordinary outreach have been devastatingly terrible. Russia has moved quickly and substantially to enlarge and modernize both its conventional and nuclear forces. One aspect of that move particularly stands out: the dedication of over $700 billion in funds for its naval forces, which for a land-based power such as Russia, is purely offensive in character. Moscow has returned to Cold War bases in Latin America, and is expanding its influence in the region. It has formed an anti-U.S. alliance with China, and supplies Iran with nuclear technology.  It has moved battlefield nuclear weapons to its European border; it has invaded the Ukraine, and threatens to continue its advance into other Eastern European nations. Even before the September nuclear bomber incursions, Russian bombers and subs were found patrolling America’s Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts.


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The White House response has been timid to the point of utter negligence, or worse. There have been no clear actions to provide appropriate funding to the armed forces. There has been no drive to expand drilling for energy resources on federal lands to allow our European allies to free themselves from dependency on Moscow. There has been no move to protect the U.S. mainland by fully funding an adequate anti-ballistic missile system or expanding the Air Force’s ability to intercept enemy bombers.

Instead, the opposite course has been taken, a clear rejection of the reality of the intense threat the nation faces. America is still dependent on Russian rocket engines for a variety of purposes. The nation is dependent on China for essential components of key weapons systems. The U.S. defense industrial base continues to shrink.  Only one plant, for example, in the entire nation produces tanks-and Mr. Obama has sought to close it on several occasions.

The Obama-Clinton "reset" has been the most dangerous policy failure in the history of the United States.  Despite the clear evidence of that failure, there is little indication of a substantive change in course from the Oval Office.

Frank Vernuccio, editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government, website www.usagovpolicy.com

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