An effective defense and foreign policy and the ability to keep internal order without infringing on individual freedoms are prerequisites for any successful government.
World order and stability is dependent on US defense and alliance strategies and its ability to maintain open sea lanes, use of space, etc. Nothing is more important than the US maintaining a defense structure that is a deterrent to other nations starting a major war. Should the US relinquish its dominant military power, its effective alliances, and its determination to keep a practically achievable level of order in the world, we would undoubtedly see a spiral of disorder and a great reduction in the general standard of living in many places.
The nuclear threat is the most serious, and it would be dangerously shortsighted for the US to fail to modernize its nuclear arsenal and continue to improve its missile defenses and defensive and offensive systems in space. Though our navy is far superior to that of any other nation its role is so much greater and it is foolish to neglect its modernization. No other country will or can take the responsibility of keeping the worlds sea lanes open to commercial traffic. Update: June 2022 – In the 10 years since this was written China has modernized and greatly expanded its Navy and its anti-ship missile systems so its ability to counter the U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific may have achieved superiority. The Biden administration’s plan to draw down the current Navy’s forces to shift funds to create a modernized naval force that will take about 10 years to reach full effectiveness is too risky. The period of greatest danger for war in the Western Pacific starting with a Chinese attack on Taiwan is probably near term. China is most likely to attack when it feels we are weakest and about to get stronger. We urgently need to increase production of the types of weapons, including modernizing existing ships and building new ones, anticipated to be most effective against China’s potential for establishing military control of the western Pacific, including Taiwan. China is also rapidly expanding and upgrading its strategic nuclear forces and our planned nuclear force structure needs to adjust accordingly. Arms control treaties with Russia that do not include China are dangerously shortsighted.
The signs are increasing that China will develop into an aggressive military power that seriously threatens us and world stability. On its present trajectory China can develop that capability if we are not very wise about preparing for it, including strengthening our alliances. We greatly aid the rate at which China is gaining on us by failing to more effectively block, including with cyber countermeasures, China’s stealing military and industrial information and technology from us.
The reason to build nuclear forces is to minimize the threat of others using them. If Putin with 10 times our tactical nuclear forces should threaten to invade peripheral NATO countries and threaten to use tactical nuclear weapons if we resisted, what would be our response? Note: The Obama Administration’s defense policy was dangerously naïve. Announcing a major reduction in defense expenditures as Putin invaded the Ukraine and China militarized the South China Sea was astonishing. Our defense policy should include major initiatives to modernize our nuclear forces, increase tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems, modernize and enhance our naval and aircraft fleets and our space-based assets and their survivability, and build in protections for our power and computer networks against both hacking and potential magnetic pulse attack, and to develop better countermeasures to cyber-attacks, etc.