PETE DU PONT WAS THE VERY SUCCESSFUL REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE (1977-1985)….AND ONE OF THE FINEST AND SMARTEST POLITICIANS IN AMERICA….RSK
The domestic policies of the Obama administration evince a lack of understanding and experience in how an economy functions and grows. Things are not quite so clear with the administration’s foreign policies, where we see both encouraging and discouraging indications.
Those who think one of the federal government’s primary responsibilities is providing a strong national defense should be heartened by President Obama’s increased authorization of drone strikes against terrorists on foreign soil. Likewise the administration’s continued use of the Guantanamo Bay detention center and many of the Bush-era security tools.
Unfortunately, there is much the president and his team get wrong on foreign policy. At times it seems that politics stand in the way of good policy. At least in the first term, the team suffers from an apparent naiveté in thinking the mere presence of Barack Obama in the Oval Office would make their “reset” with Russia productive or cause terrorists and the rogues leading Iran, North Korea and other troublesome countries to like the United States all of a sudden.
One of the administration’s most significant failings is its missile defense policy. It was 30 years ago last week that President Reagan spoke to the American people from the Oval Office and pushed the idea of a strategic defense initiative. SDI was derided by those on the left as “star wars” and considered fanciful by many of all political stripes due to the state of the available technology at that time.
Still, who could dispute Reagan’s goal—a world in which an intentional or accidental nuclear launch could end in something other than mutually assured destruction? Reagan said SDI would “offer a new hope for our children in the 21st century,” adding his basic duties as president included “the duty to protect and strengthen the peace.”
Critics were correct that the technology to develop, deploy and (most important) rely on such a system did not exist in 1983. There was much to do and many dollars to spend before something along these lines could be accomplished. But what a worthwhile effort it would be, and if pursued fully, it could have been this generation’s space program. Progress was made over the years, as technology was tested, refined and deployed. Sitting here in the 21st century, we are not yet able to fully deliver the “new hope for our children” of which Reagan spoke, but we do have functioning theater-based systems.
Mr. Obama seems not to like the idea of missile defense very much. As national security writer Clifford May noted recently: “In 2001, Barack Obama, then a state senator, said flatly: ‘I don’t agree with a missile-defense system.’ Seven years later, during his first presidential campaign, then-senator Obama pledged to slash $10 billion from the Pentagon’s missile-defense budget—about $1 billion more than the U.S. was actually spending on missile defense at the time.”