Sen. John Cornyn (R, Tex.) spoke at the American Enterprise institute this morning about the administration’s plan to “cash in the peace dividend,” which he said is a big mistake now, at a time when we’re still stuck in two wars and facing new threats.
[I]t looks like we are about to make the same mistake we made in the 1970’s and 1990’s. We are about to cash in a so-called “peace dividend” by growing domestic spending and weakening our defenses. History has shown that cashing in a “peace dividend” does not make America safer – or the world a more peaceful place. Cashing in a peace dividend only hollows out our military forces – as our country did in the years before 9/11.
Cornyn said that as China, North Korea and an increasingly belligerent Russia build up their militaries, the Obama administration is slowing down military spending in favor of domestic budget priorities.
“Other great powers are increasing their military capabilities,” he said, “even as the Obama administration seems intent on reducing ours…The Administration seems to be forcing the Pentagon to make some needlessly tough choices – even as they justify trillions of dollars for domestic spending in the name of economic stimulus.”
Despite a 4 percent increase for Defense in the president’s budget (less than the 8 percent increase for domestic discretionary spending), Cornyn worried particularly about the administration’s plans to eliminate several cutting-edge weapons programs, such as boost-phase missile defense. He also cited the possible demise of the F-22, the lack of a plan for a next-generation bomber, and plans to stop producing the C-17 without an alternative airlift vehicle in place. Obama, he said, is funding the military this year at $50 billion less than the $584 billion the joint chiefs said they needed prior to Obama’s inauguration.