GUEST COMMENTARY: U.S. Senate must advocate interests at home, abroad

  • Mark Hurt
  • Oct 20, 2016

At no time in our nation’s history have we achieved peace through weakness. Recent examples of Russia’s aggressive expansionism include:

Support for the Iranian regime and Iranian nuclear deal with about 20,000 pounds of enriched uranium conveniently transported from Iran to Russia.

Putin’s delivery of an S-300 surface-to-air missile system around the Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility in Iran.

Increased cyber-attacks.

Russian military bases reactivated in the Arctic with modern systems.

The staging of Russian naval vessels at warm-water ports — warplanes to Syria and continued support of the Syrian government.

The 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/DAESH, when Russia has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Intensifying of Russian-Chinese relations evidenced by eight days of joint military exercises.

Loss of American influence in Asia clearly reflected by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s disparaging comments about President Barack Obama and his request that U.S. advisers leave southern Mindanao and subsequent Filipino acquisition of weapons systems made in the PRC and Russia.

The attacks in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, demonstrating Russia’s willingness to use military force to achieve expansionism.

Putin suspending the 34-ton plutonium clean-up agreement brokered with Secretary Clinton.

As a former senior KGB agent, Putin sees nuclear force as a natural extension of conflict. Russian development of low-yield warheads on high-accuracy weapons systems should be expected.

I suggest the following responses:

We must provide our military with the best technology and equipment that gives our forces an unparalleled competitive advantage.

Our next president must provide a missile shield for Poland and Finland.

A combat brigade must be stationed in Europe to facilitate a NATO defense.

European countries must be required to pay the cost, as stipulated by NATO records.

We must enhance our Romanian ballistic missile defense to detect ballistic missiles and destroy missiles in space before entry into the atmosphere, thereby protecting European and Israeli allies from Iran and any potential aggressor, whose rockets can reach both Europe and Israel.

We must fully implement an enhanced Aegis-based system. This proven defensive umbrella will help to provide needed protection from Greenland to Poland by late 2018.

A need exists for Arctic cooperation with our allies and a new joint and combined base with Denmark, Iceland, Canada and Norway.

Regrettably, the Obama administration has made severe cuts in missile defense and F-22 aircraft, rendering America’s ability to protect our interests and those of our allies virtually impossible.

Obama’s unwillingness to be assertive in the world created a global vacuum that Putin has willingly filled. As Americans, we must reinvigorate our historical leadership role. The Senate must lead the way, and senators will need to be clear and forceful on America’s strength in the world. We need leadership that advances American interests both at home and abroad.