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Cornyn vs. Gates

The Republican Party is hurting for foreign policy and national security standard-bearers. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the GOP’s flagging Senate recruitment effort, is hurting for a measure of relevance. Cornyn’s scheduled speech to the American Enterprise Institute next Thursday, entitled “No Time To Cash In A Peace Dividend,” is kismet unseen since Frank Sinatra’s passing deprived us of his observations on compatability.

From the AEI press release:

The Obama administration has made clear that defense spending is not a top budgetary priority either today or in the future. And, indeed, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already begun a process of cutting defense programs that, if left unchallenged, will immediately impact the armed forces’ ability to protect the country and deter potential adversaries.

What would be the strategic implications of an overall decrease in U.S. defense spending?

It’s a good question, especially if by “good” you mean “stupid” or “irrelevant” or “ignorant” or “dishonest.”

The Obama defense budget raises defense spending from the final Bush defense budget. Gates’ shift in spending is designed not for a non-existent “peace dividend” — where does Cornyn even come up with that? — but to support the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to put defense spending on a sustainable and actual-threat-centric footing. By all means, argue Gates’ priorities, but this is just box-turtle-level reasoning.

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