The Right Cuts

When President Obama spoke at the Pentagon to outline his new defense strategy and budget reductions earlier this month, many conservatives condemned the strategy. Robert Kagan, for example, warned about the United States rendering itself weak by unnecessary defense cuts. Gary Schmitt and Tom Donnelly claimed that the new strategy means that America is no longer a superpower. In National Review, Arthur Herman accused the Obama administration of putting the United States on the brink of our weakest military posture since Jimmy Carter. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s comptroller, Dov Zakheim, was concerned about the new defense strategy abandoning the old two-war doctrine.

Even more thoughtful commentators, like David Ignatius of the Washington Post, have overreacted. Ignatius argued that the budget cuts mark a genuine shift, one of the most important since 1945, and contend that the new strategy will shift resources to Asia at the expense of Europe. In his view, this will result in Europe feeling abandoned and China nervous.

But the fact of the matter is that the Obama speech and the roll out of the new strategy is much ado about nothing. It does not really make any significant fiscal or strategic changes.

This article was originally published in The National Interest.