Ronald Reagan, as he always did, went directly to the American people, in a televised speech given on the night of March 23, 1983.
…The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression – to preserve freedom and peace.
Since the dawn of the atomic age, we’ve sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. “Deterrence” means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression. This strategy of deterrence has not changed. It still works. But what it takes to maintain deterrence has changed. It took one kind of military force to deter an attack when we had far more nuclear weapons than any other power; it takes another kind now that the Soviets, for example, have enough accurate and powerful nuclear weapons to destroy virtually all of our missiles on the ground. Now, this is not to say that the Soviet Union is planning to make war on us. Nor do I believe a war is inevitable – quite the contrary. But what must be recognized is that our security is based on being prepared to meet all threats.
There was a time when we depended on coastal forts and artillery batteries, because, with the weaponry of that day, any attack would have had to come by sea. Well, this is a different world, and our defenses must be based on recognition and awareness of the weaponry possessed by other nations in the nuclear age. We can’t afford to believe that we will never be threatened. There have been two world wars in my lifetime. We didn’t start them and, indeed, did everything we could to avoid being drawn into them. But we were ill-prepared for both. Had we been better prepared, peace might have been preserved.
For 20 years the Soviet Union has been accumulating enormous military might. They didn’t stop when their forces exceeded all requirements of a legitimate defensive capability. And they haven’t stopped now. During the past decade and a half, the Soviets have built up a massive arsenal of new strategic nuclear weapons- weapons that can strike directly at the United States.
…This is why I’m speaking to you tonight – to urge you to tell your Senators and Congressmen that you know we must continue to restore our military strength. If we stop in midstream, we will send a signal of decline, of lessened will, to friends and adversaries alike. Free people must voluntarily, through open debate and democratic means, meet the challenge that totalitarians pose by compulsion. It’s up to us, in our time, to choose and choose wisely between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.
President Reagan coined a famous, but simple, phrase that captured the substance of his foreign policy: Trust, but Verify.
Evidently, our 44th president and his administration only believe in the first half of that phrase.
President Obama greeted the Chinese heir apparent in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, a venue where the U.S. president usually receives only the nation’s closest friends.
But even as the two countries eye one another warily, the Obama administration wants to keep its options open with Vice President Xi Jinping as he prepares to take his place as president next year.
In a joint appearance before their meeting, Obama told reporters that the U.S. relationship with China is based on “mutual interest and mutual respect,” and that such a relationship is in the interests of the rest of the world, too.
The United States welcomes China’s “peaceful rise,” Obama said, which he said has the power to “help to bring stability and prosperity to the world.”
I can hear Al Jolson: Wait a minute…wait a minute…you ain’t seen nothing yet!
The Obama administration is weighing options for sharp new cuts to the U.S. nuclear force, including a reduction of up to 80 percent in the number of deployed weapons, The Associated Press has learned.
Even the most modest option now under consideration would be an historic and politically bold disarmament step in a presidential election year, although the plan is in line with President Barack Obama’s 2009 pledge to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons.
No final decision has been made, but the administration is considering at least three options for lower total numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons cutting to: 1,000 to 1,100; 700 to 800, and 300 to 400, according to a former government official and a congressional staffer. Both spoke on condition of anonymity in order to reveal internal administration deliberations.
The potential cuts would be from a current treaty limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads.
A level of 300 deployed strategic nuclear weapons would take the U.S. back to levels not seen since 1950 when the nation was ramping up production in an arms race with the Soviet Union. The U.S. numbers peaked at above 12,000 in the late 1980s and first dropped below 5,000 in 2003.
Obama has often cited his desire to seek lower levels of nuclear weapons, but specific options for a further round of cuts had been kept under wraps until the AP learned of the three options now on the table.
A spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, said Tuesday that the options developed by the Pentagon have not yet been presented to Obama.
If you are 50 years old or older, you may remember the old civil defense “duck and cover” films we used to watch in school. Well, the things we learned from those instructional features won’t help now.
I suggest prayer.