President Obama's cancellation of the summit with Putin demonstrates the extent of the deterioration in American Russian relations. In a short time, the U.S. and Russia have moved from what some in Washington viewed as a hopeful partnership to an adversarial relationship.
Last week, the House decided to throw good money after bad. Tucked inside its defense authorization bill was a provision that allocates funding for a new ground-based missile defense site -- despite the fact that missile defense brass don't want the money.
Defense programs that would protect the United States against possible missile attacks are popular with Americans and offer an opportunity for politicians in Washington D.C. to coalesce around a platform that would make the country safer.
As Congress and the president struggle to come up with a deal to avoid sending our country over the fiscal cliff by year's end, they should defense of the homeland more seriously -- particularly the draconian defense "sequestration" cuts that are set to take effect January 2, 2013.
Regrettably, this isn't the only instance where Washington politicians have sacrificed America's security by treating the Pentagon budget like an ATM. There is a lot of money to be made in wasteful government spending, and nowhere more so than the Pentagon.
Faced with the disastrous indifference of national governments to the fate of the earth, the people of the world would do well to study The Path to Zero, an extended conversation on the nuclear dilemma by two of its most brilliant analysts.
The fact is that, today, there is no safety from war to be found in nuclear weaponry, any more than there was safety in the past produced by fighter planes, battleships, bombers, poison gas, and other devastating weapons.
There are major foreign policy items to which the Russians attribute very great importance but are of little significance to us, and vice versa. Call it a major saliency differential. This seems to lay the ground for a major deal that has yet to be struck.
By rejecting Obama's position on homeland missile defense, Congress would both ensure taxpayer dollars are used more effectively and our country is well-protected. That approach would be a new way of doing business at the Department of Defense and real change that Americans can embrace.
For reasons that defy all logic, the administration wishes to spend yet another $400 million on MEADS, the Medium Extended Air Defense System, while simultaneously acknowledging that the missile system will never get off the ground.
The real nuclear threat to the United States does not lie in the fact that it does not (or will not) possess enough nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear attack. Rather, it is that there is no guarantee that nuclear deterrence works.
In terms of actual cuts in defense spending, Obama is shifting the focus from what is known to work in missile defense to developing futuristic missile intercepts which will require years of experimenting at great expense to taxpayers while a vulnerable America waits.