Just another nail in the coffin of Barack Obama’s naive worldview. Yesterday his Secretary of the Air Force stated that “the biggest threat on my mind [is] the activities of Russia.” Deborah James said this at the Paris Air Show, one stop on a European trip hoping to allay growing fears about Russian aggression and threats.
Of course, it was just three years ago that President Obama unleashed his petty and insecure character by publicly humiliating Mitt Romney during their third presidential debate. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years,” goaded Obama, in response to Romney’s claim that Russia was the number one geopolitical foe America faced. Of course, Romney may not have been correct, given those vying for the honor of being the greatest threat to America, including ISIS, Iran, and China.
Obama’s JV worldview has been so completely dismantled that it is tiring to recount the ways in which he has misunderstood and ineptly responded to real threats (not, say, global warming). Yet it is indeed noteworthy that one of his top officials in 2015 has so effectively dismissed the Obama of 2012.
And as for the Cold War returning? Of course, today’s Russian challenge is not the same as the decades-long struggle with the Soviet Union. But with Cold War aircraft like B-52’s and U-2’s being joined in Europe by B-2’s and possibly, according to Secretary James, F-22 Raptors, and with nuclear and other military saber-rattling by Putin, Europe is once again looking eerily like days of yore.
Ironically, should the U.S. send F-22s to Europe in response to Russia’s ongoing aggression, the planes will be fulfilling the role originally envisioned for them back in the 1980s, when the Cold War was in its final phases and Washington looked to ensure air dominance in any conflict with Moscow. Yet given the possibility that the planes might be needed in Asia to prevent China from gaining air superiority over contested islands in the East and South China Seas, or in Iran, should a nuclear crisis ensue, the paltry 150 or so combat-capable Raptors will be hard pressed to fulfill all the demands Washington may make on them. But, of course, it was Barack Obama who canceled the program back in 2009, when he was resetting relations with Russia and embracing China as a strategic partner. Sometimes all the parts of a worldview do fit together, unfortunately.