BACK TO NUCLEAR BASICS: DOES UNlateral RESTRAINT WORK?” by Pete Hoekstra

Editor’s Note: From our great friend and regular SUA contributor former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. Pete represented Michigan for 18 years in Congress as chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee and as a leading bipartisan voice on policy and oversight of national security, education, labor, and economic issues.

 

 

 

“BACK TO NUCLEAR BASICS: DOES UNlateral RESTRAINT WORK?”

By Pete Hoekstra

Nuclear weapons are in the news multiple times each day, with unsettling events in North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia escalating the concern that the United States is entering an era of growing instability and uncertainty.

While there are serious and gathering nuclear threats facing the United States and our allies, there is no need to panic, nor believe that doomsday is just around the corner. But we do need to get on with the task of modernizing our nuclear deterrent, enhancing our ballistic missile defenses and working effectively to stop the proliferation of such weapons.

This essay addresses the question of how best to maintain nuclear deterrence. Critics of the current US modernization plan urge the US to exercise restraint by curtailing the modernization of significant portions of our nuclear deterrent under the assumption that if the United States unilaterally stops “arms racing”, our adversaries such as Russia and China will as well.

My conclusion is three fold: (1) recent history shows restraint does not work; (2) nuclear modernization is absolutely required; and (3) a renewed “peace through strength” policy will both reduce nuclear dangers and restore some stability in international affairs.

First, let’s review the facts of the nuclear landscape.

The United States has deployed in its strategic nuclear forces under 1600 nuclear warheads, at least 1000 warheads less than the Russians. [The Russians have to reduce these numbers to the New Start level by February 2018].

Second, the United States has a few hundred tactical or theater nuclear weapons, less than the 2000-5000 such weapons held by Russia.

Third, the Russians are on a pace to modernize at least 90% of their nuclear deterrent force by the turn of the decade, no later than 2021 it appears. By contrast, the US modernization begins with the deployment of a new bomber, submarine and land based missiles no earlier than from mid-2027 through 2031, so US modernization restraint is hardly called for.

Fourth, and just to be clear, current forces are capable but in need of significant investment. Most of the US forces were fielded 30 or more years ago and are at the end of their service lives. They are thus actually way past due for modernization, and that is the only way they can remain credible and capable as the foundation of our deterrent. Four senior USAF and Navy nuclear commanders underscored this point in HASC testimony on March 8, 2017.

In that context, how should we treat calls for major US restraint in rebuilding our nuclear arms? Perhaps it would be instructive to review the impact of US nuclear unilateral restraint just before and following the 1990 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Now to be clear, the US and the Soviet Union and then Russia jointly agreed to the INF (1987), START I (July 1991) and START II (January 1993) nuclear weapons treaties. But unlike in the post 1990 period, we significantly invested in a simultaneous modernization of our entire nuclear deterrent during the Reagan administration while also seeking arms control. Peace through strength worked as we secured major reductions in Soviet-era nuclear weapons and the end of the Soviet Union.

It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union did our nuclear investments markedly decline. The US went beyond the joint treaties with Moscow and took a large number of additional unilateral actions in both the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations, many of them codified in the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). This restraint included a US nuclear policy which:

“Created no new mission or scenario for nuclear-weapon use and articulated the premise that nuclear weapons play a smaller role in U.S. security today than at any other time in the nuclear age.

“Codified that the United States no longer targets any country with strategic nuclear forces on a day-to-day basis.

“Specified that U.S. strategic bombers were taken off alert. Further, more ballistic missile submarines now patrol on “modified alert” out of the range of their targets than on an “alert” status. The U.S. airborne command and control posts now operate at a reduced tempo.

“Called for continued reduction of defense expenditures for strategic nuclear forces and in the number of associated personnel. The levels for FY 97 were roughly one-third those of FY 88.

“Terminated U.S. ground-force nuclear capability and training for nuclear missions. By FY 97, the number of U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe was down from a peak of 7,000 to ‘hundreds.’

“Mandated that all nonstrategic nuclear weapons, including nuclear cruise missiles, depth charges, and torpedoes, be removed from surface ships, multipurpose submarines, and land-based naval aircraft bases. The capability to deploy such weapons on U.S. surface ships has now been eliminated.

“Continued the reduction of the overall U.S. nuclear stockpile–a 59 percent reduction from FY 88 to FY 97. Ninety percent of the nonstrategic nuclear stockpile was eliminated.

The NPR also assumed such unilateral reductions were safe to undertake because the Russians would not brandish for diplomatic or military purposes its nuclear weapons. The study further assumed the Russian leadership was intent on fully joining the “international community of market economies”, and that the Russian nuclear arsenal would not pose a serious threat to the United States. Overall, the report generally foresaw a relatively benign future nuclear environment. (1)

What happened?

In fact, after the American unilateral exercise of nuclear restraint, these serious and adverse nuclear developments followed:

  • The Russians in 2000 turned down START II arguing that Moscow would not agree to the treaty’s ban on multiple warhead land based missiles. Russia insisted that all US work on missile defenses had to be contained within the laboratory with strict adherence to the ABM Treaty. Those conditions were not acceptable to the Clinton administration nor the Congress and thus the treaty never went into effect.
  • North Korea worked to produce nuclear weapons fuel in violation of the 1995 Agreed Framework that purported to end Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Eventually, in 2006 North Korea tested an actual nuclear weapon while advancing its ballistic missile delivery systems.
  • Iran went forward with its nuclear work, both increasing its capacity to make enriched nuclear fuel and seeking help to design warheads.
  • The Khan network out of Pakistan, what I have termed the “Nukes ‘R Us” outfit, expanded its work of distributing nuclear weapons technology and scientific nuclear know-how to North Korea, Libya, and Iran.
  • Pakistan and India, as well, exploded nuclear devices and made plans to sharply increase their inventory of nuclear weapons.
  • China, too, expanded its nuclear capability, and began the construction of what appears to have been $50 billion (my estimate) in missile tunnels and train tracks that would come to house mobile land based missiles, as part of a modernization of all elements of their nuclear deterrent.

In addition, Russian aggression in Ukraine and Crimea went unchecked, and China unilaterally seized atolls and reefs in the South China Sea on which it is building military bases.

In just the past decade, Russia and China together have rhetorically brandished nuclear weapons three dozen times, threatening to use such weapons in the conduct of their foreign policy, and rhetorically threatening to push the US and its allies to give up important international security objectives or risk nuclear attack.

Recently, both Norway and Denmark, for example, were added to the Russian nuclear target list said the Kremlin, for the “provocative” one for protecting its territorial sea from the incursion of Russian submarines and the other for planning to put a missile defense capability on its Navy Aegis cruisers.

The gathering nuclear threats today cannot be tied to any notion that the US has not evidenced sufficient restraint, including unilateral gestures of nuclear arms control.

China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, seek to replace a rules based civilized order with one of blackmail, coercion, terror and aggression. Acting with restraint in the fact of such aggression is not a policy but it is a faith based hope. Nuclear dangers arose in part because we exercised excessive restraint, what one senior Air Force official described as a “nuclear procurement holiday”created a security vacuum that over a period of the past two decades the bad “hombres” filled.

President Trump has argued that the United States must maintain its nuclear deterrent forces at “the top of the heap” when compared to our adversaries. He has also repeatedly noted that our forces are in need of repair and modernization as Russia and China fully modernize their nuclear forces.

Here the disarmament advocates appear to trying to have it both ways—the claim nothing is wrong with our deterrent as it still is better than the Russians but simultaneously they argue we need to kill large segments of that same force so the Russians don’t engage in an arms race!

For example, former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former defense logistics staffer Lawrence Korb both advocate a massive unilateral 97% reduction in America’s nuclear assets plus a one-third reduction in our warheads, arguing that maintaining nuclear parity with the Russians is unnecessary.

If we don’t try to retreat our way to nuclear safety, isn’t the alternative unaffordable? Can we really increase the defense budget adequately to fully modernize the nuclear deterrent?

Again, let us look at the facts. The United States now spends in the neighborhood of 5% of the defense budget on nuclear modernization. At the peak of this effort next decade, we will be spending 6% but only one half of one percent of the Federal budget. That means for every $100 Uncle Sam spends, the nuclear deterrent gets 50 cents.

Looked at another way, this is the equivalent of a household with a $52,000 income—the national per capita GDP average—spending on auto, fire, life, and homeowners insurance $22 a month.

Ok, it may be cheap the critics might admit, but what does it matter if we underfund our defense? What if we simply gamble and spent less?

Well, let’s look at some history.

Prior to World War II and the Korean War, the US defense budgets were dramatically curtailed or sustained at levels incompatible with our security.

We know that the US and its allies were woefully unprepared for both conflicts.

Defense spending in the US was $700 million in 1933; it remained at that level for every year of that decade up to Pearl Harbor.

After WWII, from 1945-50, US defense budgets declined markedly, from near $90 billion at the war’s end to under $10 billion. Just a year prior to the Korean War, the US defense secretary was urging Congress to cut the defense budget down to no more than $7 billion a year.

On December 7th, 1941, and June 25, 1950, respectively, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and North Korea invaded the Republic of Korea. These wars killed a combined 81 million people, out of a world population of roughly 2.4 billion, or three percent of all the people alive at the time.

These wars were fought almost entirely without the use of nuclear weapons, with the exception of the bombing of two Japanese cities which historians agree saved the lives of millions of people by ending the war in the Pacific.

Spending $26 billion annually now on nuclear deterrence, increasing to $35 billion by the middle of next decade, is a prudent insurance policy that will annually cost $9 billion more next decade than today.

These are the projected nuclear investments now planned in budgets approved by Congress.

By contrast, Americans spent $11 billion in 2016 just going to the movies.

Today’s investment is with treasure and yes the amount is a lot of money.

But if we get this wrong, tomorrow will be paid in blood.

Just to save $9 billion a year or $28 for every American living today, think of what we are willing to risk. As the advertisement says, you can pay me today, or you can pay me tomorrow.

World War II and the Korean War were fought with conventional weapons. And upwards of 84 million people perished.

The next war could be fought with nuclear ones. And we are willing to take that risk just to save each American $28 a year?

 

 

 

 

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Paul Vallely, MG USA (ret) RBTH Interview: Trump won’t take a confrontational approach with Russia.

U.S. General: Trump won’t take confrontational approach with Russia

March 3, 2017 NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH

What would Trump’s reaction to Crimea have been, and what will the U.S. President discuss with Russia’s Vladimir Putin at their first, as yet unscheduled, meeting? In an exclusive interview with RBTH, retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely and Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst for the Secretary of Defense, share their views on these and other issues in U.S.-Russia relations.

Trump, Crimea and the meeting

RBTH: General, imagine that Crimea happened today. How would Trump have reacted?

Paul E. Vallely: I think he would have wanted to talk to Putin and say “Hey, what’s going on? What’s happened, there’s got to be a reason for this, would you let me know?” Obama could never do that. If you read Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, you find out how he does it.

It’s difficult to guess what he would have done, but we know what his thinking is, and it’s very different from Obama’s. Now, if Russia takes some action somewhere, he is not going to overreact. And if it’s not in the interests of the U.S., if it’s not a threat to the U.S., he is going to think very hard about getting involved.

RBTH: What do you expect from the first meeting between Trump and Putin?

Paul E. Vallely: Putin is going to meet with Trump sooner rather than later. That’s very important. A long time has passed since Mikhail Gorbachev met Ronald Reagan and we are in a very different environment now that looks almost like a new Cold War. But this happens because the media and the Democratic Party blame Russia for everything, which is just ridiculous. There is absolutely no evidence that the Russians affected the U.S. elections by hacking or by any other means.

I think Trump and Putin will discuss issues related to energy, economics. They will talk about the situation in Syria, extremism and how to deal with it. Trump is likely to bring up North Korea as a subject of the discussion too. He will see to it if to bring Crimea and Ukraine as part of the discussion, but he will not be fixated on that. In general, I think Putin respects Trump. I know Trump respects Putin. I would say rather sooner than later we will be surprised about the way things happen.


 

Misunderstanding Russia

RBHT: There are many military representatives in Trump’s inner circle. Do they see Russia as a challenge, a threat, or a potential ally?

Paul E. Vallely: We have a couple of guys who do not understand the new Russia. We still have a contingent of old CIA types who regard Russia as a main threat. I have one person in mind. But I don’t want to name him only because of the transition period. If you quote me on that, he is going to say “Why did he say this about me, I’ve been here for only a week.”

RBTH: Is it true that, among the military members of Trump’s team, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has the most influence with the President?

Paul E. Vallely: Yes, Mattis has an upper hand in pushing his agenda with the White House. Mattis certainly has more power than the other military within the Trump team to shape policy.

RBTH: Does James Mattis see Russia as a threat?

Michael Maloof: Yes, Mattis still regards Russia as a threat, but at the same time he says we can work with Moscow. But it’s important that it was Trump who has brought these people in, knowing what their positions are. And he made it very clear that he wants their opinions, but the ultimate decision remains with him.

Paul E. Vallely: And Trump is very positive about Russia. He does not have any preconceptions that Russia is a threat.

RBTH: Some saw former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation as the closure of an opportunity for Moscow. Was Flynn indeed the Kremlin’s window into the Trump administration?

Is McMaster’s appointment as national security adviser bad news for Moscow?

Paul E. Vallely: Flynn indeed was a window into the Trump administration for Russia. And this was particularly important in light of the legacy Obama had left. Obama never knew how to develop a relationship with Russia. Flynn, on the other hand, has been very proactive in engaging Russia. But even though he had to resign, Trump will still reach out to Moscow.

Trump’s line in the sand

RBTH: Trump seems to be under significant pressure on issues related to Russia. Is it true he has been pressured by the Washington political establishment and the military to change his rhetoric on Russia?

Michael Maloof: To a point. Trump has been more forthcoming about expressing the desire to work with Russia than the old Cold Warriors had. And that’s a part of the changes that are happening in the U.S. now. The country is being mentality oriented into a new direction by the new president. And this is pretty hard when you have old CIA types who are still in their positions and the media, which has been very anti-Russian.  But if Trump makes a decision to cooperate with Russia, they will stand up and salute.

Paul E. Vallely: Definitely, they will stand up and salute. An important thing is that the soldiers are very happy to have Trump as president. And this is what is really important. From that stand point we get a new spirit within the armed forces now.

RBTH: If the military has Trump’s ear, does it mean Trump is going to pursue a more assertive policy towards Russia if he fails to find common ground with Putin?

Paul E. Vallely: No, I don’t think Trump is going to take that approach. Trump and Putin will get along well, and they will make a deal. Trump is not going to take a military confrontational approach to Russia at all.

RBTH: In Syria, what does the U.S. military think about a prospect of cooperating with the Russian military?

Michael Maloof: There is already some level of cooperation. They have video conferences. There was one episode when the U.S. bombed Syrian troops. A serviceman left his post on the U.S. side, and that created the problem. That episode helped establish new procedures to be followed from then on. They are trying to make it work, but that’s the level of cooperation for now.

There is substantial internal resistance within the military against cooperating with the Russians in Syria. There is reluctance on part of the military to share the intelligence, because of the perceived notion that Russia remains the primary threat.

But the whole Syrian thing might change this mindset. From our personal meeting with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, we have an impression that Russia is willing to achieve it too. And this is one of the messages we are bringing back to the U.S.

RBTH: Obama was criticized for drawing a line in the sand on Syria and then not acting upon it. Would Trump be more decisive to act in a similar situation?

Paul E. Vallely: I don’t think Trump will draw any lines to begin with. For Trump, if there’s a threat to the U.S., then we are going to go and take it out. If, in the meantime, we have to work with the Russians to eliminate that threat, then we will. That’s the attitude. Trump is not that kind of person who wants to draw lines. He wants to identify a problem and work with everyone he can to solve it.

Paul E. Vallely is a retired U.S. Army Major General, Chairman of Stand Up America, Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund and NEMO ARMS Inc. He is senior military analyst for Fox News.

Michael Maloof  is a contributing writer for national security affairs for WND and G2Bulletin, a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, and the author of A Nation Forsaken.

Paul Vallely and Michael Maloof both came to Moscow for a series of events organized by the Valdai Discussion Club, including a private meeting with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

Nikolay Shevchenko is a foreign correspondent for Russia Beyond The Headlines and an editor at the Global Ethics Network.

Article here

 

More retired U.S. generals and admirals line up for Trump

More retired U.S. generals and admirals line up for Trump

By John Stryker Meyer/JNS.org

The number of retired U.S. military generals and admirals endorsing Donald Trump in an open letter has grown from 90 to 162, says the only Holocaust survivor signing it, retired Green Beret Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, a key proponent behind the effort.

 

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Shachnow and retired Rear Admiral Charles Williams organized the letter and signature collection earlier this month, citing Trump’s commitment to rebuilding the military, securing the borders, defeating Islamic supremacy and restoring law and order.

Fourteen Medal of Honor recipients are among the 72 new signatories, Shachnow told JNS.org from his North Carolina home.

Shachnow, a 40-year Army veteran, who spent 32 of those years with U.S. Army Special Forces – the Green Berets, said he took the “unprecedented” step to get the Trump support letter written and circulated publicly because he felt obligated to speak up. “Historically, I’ve felt that we’re soldiers and we should keep our nose out of politics,” he said. “Today, however, we have two candidates who can affect our country for a generation or more, with the balance on the Supreme Court and rebuilding our military being major issues to our national security.”

His deep concern for the future of America is reflected in Shachnow’s compelling life story.

Holocaust Survivor

During WWII, he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in his native city of Kovno, Lithuania from age 7 to 10. Only five percent of the people in the Kovno concentration camp survived the war. He and his family endured a 2,000-mile, six-month trek across war-torn Europe to eventually land in Salem, Mass.

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The massacre of 68 Jews in Kovno Ghetto in June 1941. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

As a Green Beret, he was assigned to the ultra-top-secret Detachment “A” (classified designation: 39th Special Forces Detachment) beginning in 1956 through 1984, when it was called the Physical Security Support Element, Berlin (classified designation: 410th Special Forces Detachment).

Shachnow, now 82, participated in clandestine missions behind enemy lines and later commanded secret missions conducted by Green Berets from Det. “A” and the 410th.

One of his favorite stories while serving in Det. “A” as a young major, stems from an unauthorized mission that he and a few non-commissioned officers took into the subterranean network of underground tunnels and sewers to get the upper hand on East German police.

“We were told the subterranean system was off limits, but I decided in my infinite wisdom that we’d go down there anyway…it was like a desert in that there were no points of reference,” he said. “We ended up using the Hansel and Gretel method of keeping track of where we had been.”

The unauthorized mission brought them into East Germany, and also brought Shachnow before the top commanding general for West Germany, where he was reprimanded for the mission. The reprimand, however, didn’t slow down his service nor his promotions.

Shachnow was the classic Special Forces officer, said retired Chief Warrant Officer James Stejskal, who served two tours of duty with Det. “A” and is the author of the soon-to-be-published book, “Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the U.S. Army’s Elite, 1956-1990.”

Stejskal said the Det. “A” missions were “classic OSS (WWII’s Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA) Jedburgh missions, run deep behind enemy lines.

Cold War Command

“Keep in mind,” he said, “during the Cold War, there were only a hand full of us stationed in West Berlin surrounded by more than a million Russian and communist East German military and police in the Warsaw Pact, on a wartime footing.”

Stejskal continued, “General Shachnow came up through the system, survived unreal dangers, both from the Nazis and the Soviets, he took that knowledge and turned it into a successful career where he never forgot his men, his mission and he respected his men, listened to them and let them do their jobs.”

Shachnow was the commanding general of the Berlin Brigade when the Berlin Wall, which the Communists began building in 1961, began to be torn down on Nov. 9, 1989, and it’s where he had a clarion moment in his life.

He was sitting with his Russian counterpart from the Soviet Army and senior KGB officers. “There was a moment when they were laughing and I asked what was so funny,” Shachnow said. “The general pointed out the personal irony for me then. I was a Holocaust survivor living in the villa that Hitler’s Finance Minister, General Fritz Reinhardt, owned and which was Hermann Goering’s headquarters, and I was having dinner with my Russian counterpart and senior KGB officers. The general said, ‘Here you are, a Jew. You were liberated by us, by the Russians (from the Kovno concentration camp). Now you are defending the Germans who had incarcerated you and committed atrocities against your people while you are getting ready to fight us, your new enemy.’ I’ll never forget that.”

Shachnow remains humble to this day. In his book “Hope and Honor,” he wrote about having worked with Communists to transition from a military-seize footing in East Germany to an open society. When he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his exceptionally meritorious leadership during that period, from December 1989 to August 1991, from Army Gen. John M.D. Shalikashvilli, Shachnow wrote: “I stood proudly as General Shalakashvilli awarded me the Distinguished Service Medal. But, I was even more grateful for the next award” when he presented the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal to his wife, Arlene, for her devotion and care of military members serving in Germany during those tumultuous years.
John Stryker Meyer is a combat veteran, who served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War with Special Forces serving in the secret war in Laos, Cambodia and N. Vietnam under the Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (SOG). He’s the author of Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietman and co-author of On the ground: The Secret War in Vietman.


Article here

 

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Veterans VPAC II: 10-11 OCT 2016 – AMERICA’S SECURITY AND THE VETERAN VOTER

AMERICA’S SECURITY AND THE VETERAN VOTER

About the Event

You’ve been looking for a Veteran organization that has energy and is on the attack. Vets with purpose and energy.

You came to the right place.

Welcome to Vets in the Fight

You served honorably in any number of places and actions, and your military oath still defines who you are … what you will always be.

“I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Register at Vets In The Fight.

Link

 

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America’s Security and the Veteran Voter

Monday, 10 October 2016 (Columbus Day) and Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Owens Auditorium Sandhills Community College

Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA

Veteran Patriots Action Conference (VPAC)

Vets in the Fight … all honorably discharged American military personnel who embrace their oath of office; and there are 22 ½ million of us … along with our spouses … may  well be the only segment of American society bound by an irrevocable oath to Duty, Honor, Country; irrevocably invested in America’s Security; and the only segment of voters capable of banding together to elect the candidate who will ‘ bring integrity, honor and credibility to the office of Commander-in-Chief  ‘ at the polls on 8 November 2016.

 

Hosting a National Discussion:  Special Operations Speaks, Veteran Patriots Action Conference and other sponsors bring the national discussion of America’s Security and the Veteran Voter to the Sandhills of North Carolina a month prior to the general elections: Monday (Columbus Day) the 10th & Tuesday, 11th of October,  2016, Owens Auditorium, Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC.  We invite all Veterans … and their spouses … who still hold their military oaths dear to come to Pinehurst to be part of the most historic national discussions since the Civil War and since our American Revolution before it.

 

Editor’s Note: One more time.

 

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For those unaware…It’s still our country.

1ap2gAmerica-the-Beautiful

 

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Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy Looking through the smokescreen.

Editor’s Note: A great article from our great friend and regular SUA Contributor, Fred Gedrich and our friends at The Washington Times.

Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst. He served in the U.S. departments of State and Defense.

The Clinton Foreign Policy Brand is not a REAL AMERICAN BRAND. Since Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Haiti, and Syria, it has been one of carnage, culling, and capitulation. It is not one that secures freedom, but one that crushes out the breath of freedom.

We must ask ourselves the question: Is this what American citizens want our foreign policy to be associated with now and in the future?

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Looking through the smokescreen

Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record deserves scrutiny

By Fred Gedrich –
Monday, September 5, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her allies, and others have declared Donald Trump unfit for the presidency because of his lack of national security credentials. American voters should carefully look through that smokescreen to see the global damage resulting from President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton’s “smart” foreign policies, and how she behaved in office before casting their presidential ballots.

On the surface, Mrs. Clinton’s resume appears impressive. She served the nation as first lady for eight years, as twice-elected U.S. senator from New York for eight years, and as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s first term for four years. She is also the first woman ever nominated for the presidency by a major political party. And, if elected, she would become the first secretary of state to be elected president since James Buchanan in 1856.

As U.S. senator, her most important and controversial votes were in favor of the Afghanistan and Iraq war resolutions. Those wars, to date, have resulted in 6,888 American troop fatalities, 49,897 American troop injuries, at an estimated cost to the American taxpayer of between $4-6 trillion. And despite the enormous American sacrifice of blood and treasure during the Bush and Obama administrations, these two nations remain among the most dangerous places on earth, infested with radical Islamic terrorists who continue to threaten U.S. citizens and U.S. national security.

As secretary of State (the executive branch of U.S. Government’s third highest position after the president and vice president), Mrs. Clinton dutifully carried out President Obama’s foreign policies and served as a key member of his National Security Council, providing advice and assistance to him on the most important and urgent foreign policies and national security matters. She promised to move the country in a new direction with “smart” foreign policies designed to make the United States more secure and the world more peaceful.

Some significant examples of where those policies led and how she handled her secretary of state duties follow:

  • The 2016 Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Peace Index Report provides an assessment of the current global landscape. It shows a decade-long decline in peace with terrorism at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict at a 25 year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people at a level not seen in sixty years. Since 2009, terrorism-related deaths have more than tripled; battle deaths from conflict have more than tripled; and refugees and internally displaced persons almost doubled to 60 million people.
  • The 2016 U.S. State Department’s 2016 annual report on terrorism lists 59 foreign terrorist organizations (about 75 percent of them which gestated and operate in Muslim-majority countries) that threaten U.S. citizens and security — a growth of 34 percent since its 2009 report. IntelCent (a private firm which collects and disseminates up-to-date global terrorist activity) currently ranks Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya and Somalia as the world’s most dangerous countries, and the Islamic State (which evolved from al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Taliban among the most dangerous terror groups.
  • The 2016 Freedom House reports on global and press freedom shows that global freedom declined for the 10th consecutive year and that press freedom at its lowest point in 12 years. Of the world’s 7.3 billion people, only 40 percent live in freedom and only 13 percent enjoy a free press.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigations and State Department Inspector General officially confirmed in 2016 that Secretary Clinton used an unauthorized private, unsecure computer system to store official government communications, some containing very sensitive, highly classified information. Use of the private system prevented Congress from promptly overseeing, and the media from legitimately reporting on, her official activities and possibly exposed U.S. state secrets to skilled Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean cyber-thieves engaged in espionage.
  • The Associated Press recently reported that more than half the people (85 of 154) outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State gave a total about $156 million — either personally or through companies or groups to her family’s Clinton Foundation. She also met with at least 16 representatives of foreign governments who gave another $170 million to it. The revelation raises serious ethical and conflicting interest issues.

In sum, Hillary Clinton has wrapped herself in President Obama’s foreign policy mantle to facilitate her rise to the presidency. However, that mantle and the ‘smart’ policies it purports to represent have made the world more dangerous and less free. And her conduct as secretary of state arguably shows someone who may have placed her self-interests above the nation’s best interests.

Conversely, successful international businessman and non-politician Donald Trump offers American voters a new direction away from the failed President Obama and Secretary Clinton globalist policies, and the established D.C. national security and crony capitalism order which have caused U.S. and global security so much harm. The world will be anxiously awaiting the voters decision on which way America will go.

Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst. He served in the U.S. departments of State and Defense.
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