Our transition in Presidential leadership provides a significant turning point for U.S.–Russian relations. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, struck a conciliatory tone in his recent state of the nation speech. Meanwhile, Russia works to deploy new medium and long range S-400 surface to air missiles, claiming the U.S. is threatening Russia’s Western border.
At no time in our nation’s rich history have we achieved peace through weakness. Today, more than ever, Americans need leadership that is committed to counteract Russia's military expansion which Vladimir Putin began in 1999 and aggressively pursued during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.
We need peace through strength, and that means modernizing defense systems, nuclear weapons systems, ships, aircraft, and personnel.
Recent examples of Russia’s aggressive expansionism include:
- Support for the current Iranian regime and Iranian nuclear deal with almost all enriched uranium—about 20,000 pounds—being transported from the Fordo site near Qom in Central Iran to Russia for storing, and potential bartering and refining;
- Putin's lifting of a self-imposed ban and delivery of S-300 surface to air missile system around the Fordo underground uranium enrichment facility in Iran;
- Increased cyber-attacks by Russia;
- Huge armament and troop buildup on Baltic borders;
- Reactivation of Soviet military bases in the Arctic with modernization of radar and ground guidance systems, huge increases in nuclear powered icebreaker ships and nuclear submarines.
- Russian atomic war ships, aircraft carriers, and battleships at warm water ports and warplanes to its air base in Syria and continued anti-American support of the Syrian government. Russian troops continue to kill and bomb innocent civilians in and around Aleppo.
- Shadow war between Iran and Iraq results in Russian tanks and both Iranian and Russian troops stationed just above Israel's northern border in a fight against ISIS/DASH, and remember, Russia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel;
- Intensifying of Russian-Chinese relations as seen in 8 days of increased joint military exercises with China;
- Philippine President, Duterle’e request that US advisors leave the Southern Mindanao region of the Philippines with more Pilipino acquisition of weapons systems made in the PRC and Russia;
- Attacks in Ukraine and it's annexation of Crimea—demonstrating its willingness to use military force to achieve expansionism. Russia remains heavily dependent on the export of oil and gas. Russia uses oil as a military weapon by threatening to cut off supplies of gas when much of Europe’s gas is exported through pipelines in the Ukraine. Gas prices are down and the Russian economy has been hard hit;
- Putin suspended the 34 ton plutonium clean-up agreement brokered with Secretary Clinton; and
- As a former KGB agent, Putin’s prior military doctrine sees nuclear force as a normal extension of conflict with Russian development of low yield warheads on high accuracy weapons systems.
How should we respond?
- Our next President must provide a total missile shield for Poland and Finland.
- A combat brigade must be stationed in Europe to facilitate a NATO defense. European counties must be required to pay the cost.
- We must build on our Romanian missile defense which uses radars to detect ballistic missiles launched into space through sensors that measure rocket trajectory and destroy the missile in space before the missile enters the atmosphere. This will protect Europe from Iran and any aggressor whose rockets can reach both Europe and Israel through the use of interceptors fired from ships or ground sites.
- We must fully implement this Aegis based system. With proven reliability and high success rates, this defensive umbrella will provide needed protection from Greenland to Poland by late 2018.
- The Obama Administration has made severe cuts in missile defense and F-22 aircraft which renders America’s ability to protect our interests and our allies virtually impossible. The new Administration needs to correct this mistake.
- A need exists for Arctic cooperation with our allies and a new base with Denmark, Iceland, Canada and Norway.
President Obama’s unwillingness to be assertive in the World has created a vacuum that Vladimir Putin has filled in all areas of the globe. The United States needs leadership that protects and advances American interests both at home and abroad.