By: J. Randolph Evans
With just 11 months remaining in his current term, President Obama announced drastic cuts in the U.S. military, including proposed significant reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The announcement comes as Iran proclaims, publicly and defiantly, that it is much closer to its own production of nuclear fuel; and as Russia continues its steady march to return as an equal military superpower after President Ronald Reagan pushed the old Soviet Union to dissolution.
Each one of these developments has its own destabilizing impact on an increasingly fragile world. When taken together, these ingredients produce a dangerous recipe for spiraling global problems unlike any that the world has ever faced before. The uncertainty alone makes optimism difficult in even the most stable countries, and makes hope elusive in the rest of the world. With a world economy that teeters on the edge of financial collapse, just one international crisis could tip the balance, especially with so many nations struggling to just survive under mountains of deeper and deeper debt.
Throughout history, periods of peace and prosperity have depended on strength and stability, not weakness and decay. For decades, the United States has served as an important source of that strength and stability.
The United States economy has powered the world economy through challenging times. The United States military might has protected and deterred conflicts that might threaten the globe. Both the economic might and military power have given U.S. Presidents the ability to speak and act authoritatively, giving direction and reassurance to an otherwise uncertain and sometimes chaotic world.
On June 12, 1987, in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall, President Ronald Reagan did not apologize for a past of airlifts of food and supplies to the West Berliners in defiance of Soviet rule. Instead, President Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Indeed, on June 26, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy flew to West Berlin, he did not speak softly either; instead, he defiantly said “Ich bin ein Berliner” – “I am a Berliner.”
President Kennedy and President Reagan boldly challenged the Soviets from a position of strength – grounded in economic and military might. The result was peace and prosperity, and eventually victory over Communist oppression.