The White House has apparently settled on Ashton Carter to replace Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, after other leading candidates withdrew their names from consideration. It can never be a pleasant experience to come into a new job with the baggage of everyone knowing that you were the third or fourth best choice for the position. But that is the least of Carter’s challenges.
Christopher Preble | All Articles
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Christopher Preble is the vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.
With the Iraqi government struggling to put down an insurgency with suspected ties to al Qaeda, Sen. John McCain on Sunday urged President Obama to send retired Army General David Petraeus and former Ambassador Ryan Crocker to try to help. But such calls ignore the reality on the ground in Iraq, and here in the United States. U.S. involvement is unlikely to turn the tide against the insurgency, but risks drawing the country back into a war that Americans don’t want to fight.
Late last year, then-Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said of the impending sequester, “The only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all.”
Earlier this week, Chris Bedford, national vice-chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, explained why his organization had chosen to expel Ron Paul from YAF’s national advisory board. Bedford makes repeated reference to the guiding “Sharon Statement” drafted by Williams F. Buckley and other conservative leaders in 1960, and states the case for why its principles cannot be reconciled with Paul’s opposition to aggressive U.S. militarism.
In his prime-time address last night, President Obama wisely avoided many of the pitfalls that tripped up his predecessor. He did not declare victory under a “mission accomplished” banner or claim that a fully-flowered democracy had been created in Iraq. Rather, he expressed his hope that violence comes down, that Iraqi politicians will reconcile their differences, and that Iraq may someday be capable of defending itself.
In a recent article in The Daily Caller, Chet Nagle claims that the Obama administration “plans to eliminate over a trillion defense dollars in the next ten years.” Unfortunately, he has no basis for saying so.
President Obama made a clear and laudable statement in the cover letter to his National Security Strategy, released on Thursday: “The burdens of a young century cannot fall on American shoulders alone.”