The Obama Administration’s declinist vision of the country and “blame America first” policy has a negative impact on America’s standing in the world and is permeating into American national security policy, a U.S. Representative said at a Heritage Foundation event.
“Time again we’ve seen this Administration reject notions of American exceptionalism and only reluctantly assume the role of the world’s lone democratic superpower,” said U.S. Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, a Republican from California and the ranking member of the House Armed Services committee.
Instead of using words like “victory and winning,” the President is focused on just ending the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which “reveals that we have a reluctant wartime President,” McKeon said.
McKeon said, on the same day the President acknowledged his Administration failed to prevent the Christmas Day terrorist attack, the President also said Guantanamo prison has damaged America’s national security interests and was an “explicit rationale” for the formation of al Quaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Using the Christmas Day attack to justify the President’s failed Guantanamo Policy is “utterly, totally, and completely backwards,” McKeon said.
“Instead of blaming the enemy, the President chose to blame our nation’s security policies,” the U.S. Representative said. This “represents a dangerous new policy of ‘blame America first’ that must end immediately,” he added.
“Put bluntly, the President believes that American policy was a root cause of AQAP’s [al Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula] attack on the homeland,” he said.
McKeon said another example of the President’s declinist policy is the Administration’s impact on defense programs and spending.
In a Congressional testimony last May, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, emphasized the need to balance the department, which will lead to “over $50 billion in programs cuts,” McKeon said.
“Top defense budget experts testified last November that we can expect a dramatic decline for weapon acquisition funding-from 35 percent of the fiscal year 2010 budget to 24 percent in the fiscal year 2020. That is a sizeable and unacceptable decrease,” the U.S. Representative said.
“Cuts to defense investment in the midst of two wars is unacceptable,” he said.
“When one considers the current threat environment and some alarming gaps in our capacity, the need for more dollars going to defense becomes critical … this capacity gap, I expect, will lead to hollow contingency plans and could embolden adversaries-simply shifting into neutral puts America at risk,” McKeon said.
“To stem decline we must invest in ourselves,” he said. “A coalition of realists-made up of Republicans, Democrats and independent-minded Americans alike-must push for increases in defense investment, particularly in accounts which spur innovation and American technological superiority,” McKeon added.
The U.S. needs to also enact a National Defense Education and Investment Act, “which would increase funding for basic defense research and ensure we maintain our technological edge,” the Congressman said.
“We cannot continue to take our workforce for granted. With our technical workforce aging, we are in danger of losing our intellectual capital,” he added.
McKeon said, “We need to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists that will ensure the world’s greatest innovators reside here at home-we need to invest in American exceptionalism to stem the tide of decline.”