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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reverend Terry Jones Back In Dearborn

Just like the perpetual penny, the Reverend Terry Jones is back in Dearborn. Yesterday he spoke and then tried to walk to the Arab Festival. His walk was interrupted by protesters who attacked him as he made his way down the public streets wearing a bullet proof vest. 

Welcome to Dearbornistan.  In this suburban Detroit suburb known for the headquarters of Ford Motor Company, the largest group of Arabs outside the Middle East live.  Want to see what a burka looks like, go to Dearborn. Want to know what it is like to live in the Middle East, go to Dearborn.  Want to see politicians falling all over themselves to appease Muslims, go to Dearborn.

Now, as I have said previously in these blogs, Reverend Jones is not my cup of tea and I definitely do not agree with  him or his tactics. However, when one looks at the reception he has received in Dearborn, it scares me. Where has our ability to accept others gone?  Is this any different than Europe where Muslims are catered to and allowed to do things that others are not?

One of the strengths of this country has been the ability of people of varying religions to get along. It is sort of  "you have your religion, your native country, or your political beliefs and I have mine, just leave me alone and I will do the same." In this way Protestants and Catholics could live next door even though they would have been shooting each other in Ireland.  Pakistanis and Indians can live next door to each other, work together and have none of the problems that exist in their native countries.  This ability to accept the others in this country, has been unique in human history. Nowhere on earth does this occur but here.

So when I see the City of Dearborn prevent Reverend Jones from speaking--as he was last month (regardless of how anti Jones the populace might be) and see him physically attacked on the street--as he was yesterday. I am wondering if we are not losing something very special, that ability to accept others. 

On the other hand, one has to look at the combatants in this issue.  There is Christianity (which before the Reformation was very violent) and Islam which is now violent.  Now, I am sure there will be some who read this blog who will disagree with the violent issue, however, one only has to look around the world to see where violence is occurring (including 9/11) to see that Muslims have been involved in most of these actions.

Islam definitely is on the rise and its leaders are not afraid of killing, maiming, silencing,  or threatening its enemies.  Just look at the Muhammad cartoons and the world wide reaction to them including the newspapers in this country who refused to publish them in fear of reprisal. This my friends is scary.  When our freedom of speech is diminished, we all lose.

So I support Reverend Jones and his ability to speak, to tell the world what he thinks is going on and to freely walk the streets of Dearborn. I may disagree with him, his actions, or his words, but he has every right to peacefully express his opinions. If that right goes way for him, when will you or I no longer be able to express our thoughts?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Switzerland On The Right Track?

Most of us think of Switzerland as this quaint small country in the middle of Europe that has a secretive banking system where you can hide your money without anyone knowing it.  The reality is that the banking system is not so anonymous anymore and Switzerland is becoming a shining light in the middle of a Europe plagued with financial problems.

Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland, known as the PIIGS, have all sorts of debt problems with Germany helping to save them all.  In all of this, we hear so little about Switzerland.  So when I read this article that was posted by Personal Liberty Digest, I was impressed and thought you  might also like to read it.

Please let me know your comments, I am interested.

Is Switzerland A Role Model For Democracy?

June 16, 2011 by Daniel Zurbrügg

In Switzerland, people can challenge any decision or law with a referendum -- all it takes is for 100,000 people to sign such a referendum.
The world economy is in a very fragile state, despite the fact that world gross domestic product is growing at a rate of about 4.3 percent this year. Most of the growth comes from emerging markets like China, Brazil and India.

While these emerging nations have a lot of economic potential for the coming decades, most of them will have to deal with their own specific problems in the years ahead. What differentiates these nations from the West is they typically have much lower levels of debt; most of them have accumulated large savings surpluses. This is in sharp contrast to the West, especially Europe and the United States, where governments have accumulated large deficits by chronic overspending on social security, all sorts of subsidies and/or military and defense costs.

This is a very dangerous trend that can’t go on forever. Actually, I think we are witnessing the turning point right now and that coming years will bring huge changes to these economies. This will most likely result in a severe devaluation of their currencies and socioeconomic tensions. Remember, the euro and the U.S. dollar make up almost 80 percent of the world’s currency reserves, a percentage that will have to drop significantly in coming years.

In a world of ideal economics, these nations would address their problems by making structural adjustments to their economies, making investments that tend to increase true economic value and cutting spending on things that don’t make sense and only destroy value. However, this might be wishful thinking. One does not need to be a genius to see that the sovereign debt problem will, at least partially, be solved by a forced currency devaluation, meaning that the central banks, such as the Federal Reserve in the U.S. and the European Central bank in Europe, will continue their very expansionary monetary policies.

Despite the many advantages of democracy, there is tendency for politicians to overpromise, overspend and underdeliver in the long term. This results in huge deficits that must eventually be paid, either through higher taxes or significantly devaluing currency. In a democracy, governments eventually become too big and too powerful and spend too much money. Therefore, more and more people become directly or indirectly dependent on the government. That’s when a nation becomes a welfare state. The larger and more centralized a government becomes, the higher the risk that it will lead to a real disaster in the long run.

It is absolutely crucial that a democratic system maintain self-correcting mechanisms by keeping government size and control at reasonable levels. However, people must also be realistic about what they can expect from a government.

This is a long-term trend that can be observed in many Western countries with far-reaching consequences for people. From an investment-management point of view, currency diversification should be the key focus in coming years. It will be an almost ideal environment for precious metals and hard currencies.

In a previous article, I compared the performance of various foreign currencies against each other and against the two major currencies, the U.S. dollar and the euro. Many people say they do not understand currency markets. Keep it simple and look at foreign currencies like stock prices. The prices of currencies measure the performance of countries, just as the prices of stocks measure the performance of companies.

Looking at currency markets, especially their short-term volatility, people tend to forget about the main forces driving currencies. The chart below shows how the most common foreign currencies have performed in recent years. The best and most stable currency in the world has been the Swiss franc.

With a lot of money-printing going on in the world, it is not a surprise that the Swiss franc has kept outperforming all major currencies. The Swiss franc is, in my opinion, the strongest of all currencies. The chart below shows how much the U.S. dollar lost against the Swiss franc in the past 40 years.

In order to understand why the Swiss franc is such a strong currency, many factors need to be considered and understood.

Typically known for its famous chocolate, cheese and for being one of the world’s largest banking centers, Switzerland has much more to offer. Switzerland is a small country with a size of only 16,000 square miles. That’s only about one-quarter the size of Florida. With a population of about 8 million, it is also among the least-populated countries in Europe.

Despite being located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is one of the very few European countries that have not become a member of the European Union. Because of that, the Swiss franc — not the euro — is Switzerland’s currency. Also, the Swiss National Bank is completely independent.

The roots of the country go back to 1291, when most of today’s territory was controlled by the Habsburg dynasty. Many people suffered under the Habsburg regime, since they didn’t have many rights and had to pay high taxes, usually in the form of agriculture goods, to their rulers. In 1291, three cantons started the Old Swiss Confederacy and began to fight for the freedom of its people and an end to the dark days of tyranny. More and more cantons joined the Confederacy.

In 1815, Switzerland’s independence was recognized by most other European countries. While the need for some centralized government was understood, Swiss people have always remained critical toward large, centralized governments. Democracy in the Swiss understanding means citizens and communities should act responsibly and take care of their own affairs.

Switzerland has also remained neutral during the world wars and kept a very large army for most of the past century. Today, about 100,000 soldiers serve in the army, which is still large, given the relatively small size of the country. The Swiss army is not and has never been a professional army; it is mandatory for Swiss men to join the army and serve the country.

I remember my days in the army. I was only 20 years old, and at that time I didn’t really like it or understand the sense of it. Only later did I start to realize what a great school of life my time in the army was, and how much it taught me about freedom and responsibility.

The events of recent years, especially the events in Europe, such as the war in former Yugoslavia or the increasing tensions among European countries, have made me realize things are a lot less stable than we would like. I think the strong sense for neutrality and freedom has remained one of the reasons Switzerland has always been so stable.

Another important factor is the kind of democratic system we have. The Swiss Parliament consists of two chambers, the Council of States and the National Council. The Federal Council, the “Bundesrat,” consists of seven members, each elected for a term of four years. What is unique about this direct democracy is that people can challenge any decision or law with a referendum — all it takes is for 100,000 people to sign such a referendum. This is a very important corrective mechanism in a democracy.

Switzerland was able to stay out of the two world wars by remaining independent. Despite the relatively large size of the Swiss army at that time, it would have been difficult to stop an enemy in case of an attack, especially from Nazi Germany. However, the Germans knew they would need to pay a very high price if they attacked Switzerland. Switzerland’s army was and is well-trained to fight and defend the country — especially in the mountains, which have hundreds of bunker systems, some so large that they look like little villages inside of mountains.

The fact that Switzerland’s infrastructure wasn’t destroyed in any of the world wars also meant the country had a competitive advantage during the rebuilding period after the war. Many large corporations established their international headquarters in Switzerland, and many have stayed here ever since. Today, the main advantages for corporations are the almost-perfect geographical location, a business-friendly tax system and the high level of internationalization in the economy. The tax system for corporations and residents is attractive no matter its level of profit or income. The European Union has called Switzerland’s low tax rates unfair, since taxes are much lower than in the European Union. How can a tax system, which encourages competition and ensures efficient use of taxpayers’ money be unfair?

This conflict with the European Union shows the fundamentally different approach Switzerland has taken. It is a country in which each canton and each community has a high degree of fiscal responsibility. It’s where people make the government, not vice versa.

I think many countries, especially large Western nations, can learn a lot from the Swiss system of democracy. Many Western nations are finding themselves in a difficult position today. The chronic overspending and wasting of tax money has resulted in a very heavy debt burden, which has become almost unbearable. Governments should always work in the best interest of their people and act diligently and responsibly when spending tax money. Governments should be lean and efficient, working for their people and not against them.

While it is in the best interest of any nation to have a social-security system that provides help to people who really need it, overextending welfare will give the wrong incentive to people who should never depend on a government to help them.

Daniel Zurbrügg is the Managing Partner of Alpine Atlantic Global Asset Management, a Swiss-based independent investment management firm. The firm provides clients with independent investment management, asset protection and family office services and is the issuer of the global investment newsletter Echo From The Alps. With a global network of partners, Alpine Atlantic's aim is to provide clients with true "turnkey" solutions for global investing. Prior to setting up Alpine Atlantic, Daniel held various positions with other banks and financial companies. Daniel is a Chartered Financial Analyst and regular guest speaker at international investment conferences.

Spending American Style

Yesterday I heard Rush Limbaugh talking about a website,, so today I went there.  It is shocking to see the waste of money that is being spent by our government on things that are not necessary or should be the responsibility of someone other than good ole Uncle Sam.

For example, our government spent:
     $146 million on air flight upgrades for federal employees
     $3 billion to add sand to beaches
     $500,000 to Alaska Airlines to paint a salmon on one of its planes and
     $2,600,000 to train Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.

Wow, what a great country. Our employees are treated like execs and our prostitutes are trained to  drink less while on the job!  Are they not one in the same?

If this site can highlight these abuses, how many others are there, I am sure so many that it would make your head spin.  I have heard that the job training programs have NEVER been audited. Senator Tom A Coburn M.D.of Oklahoma writes in his 2011 report  entitled "Help Wanted: How Federal Job Training Programs are Failing Workers: 

 "A newly released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report exposes a broken web of
federal job training and employment programs. Nine federal agencies spent approximately $18
billion annually to administer 47 separate employment and job training programs. Many of the
programs are duplicative, but GAO‘s most shocking revelation is that ―little is known about the
effectiveness of most programs."

Training is just one little corner in the government spending apparatus.  If this tiny area is not working and costing us billions, to say that we cannot cut spending is disingenuous  and totally irresponsible. It is time that Congress is held responsible.

I suggest that we all sign the letter on the site and write our "representatives" to get rid of these special deals and get back to governing in the best interests of the country and not special interests. Do you agree?


The ATF Has Gone Nuts

Once in a while there is a story that shows that this government really has lost its way.  Recently we have heard about the ATF allowing obvious gun runners access to illegal weapons in an effort to find Mexican  gangs is an example of what is going wrong with this country.  It only got worse when the gun shop owners call ATF and were told to sell the guns.  Someone who was paranoid might think that the government was out to frame those who sell legal firearms but that would not really happen with this administration, right?

Unfortunately we believe the current Congressional investigation is only going to scratch the surface and I doubt that we will really find out what was the original intent of the operation and how it morphed into something if not illegal, definitely immoral.  We have laws that require a citizen who wishes to purchase a firearm to go through a background check and if he is approved, then the sale can go through.  In this case, the law's intent was thrown under the bus.

I think that most law abiding citizens have no problem checking to see if the prospective buyer has a criminal record or is not psychologically stable. However, our concerns are raised when government changes the rules or makes it impossible for Joe Citizen to buy the gun he desires.

Unless the government charges those who violated the law, illegal operations will continue and without a doubt, innocent individuals will be caught up in them. My fear is that when they are charged, it will be nearly impossible for them to prove their innocence due to the fact that the power of the government will be against them.

 Although we need to find those who are shipping guns to Mexico, we cannot violate our own laws for expediant reasons.  If we do, all of our rights will be minimized, again.

Congressional report criticizes ATF gun operation

By Pete Yost
Rep. Darrell Issa of California said leaders of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were fully aware of the details of Operation Fast and Furious, which was designed to track small-time gun buyers to major weapons traffickers along the Southwest border.
At a hearing before Issa's panel, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said "hundreds upon hundreds of weapons" destined for cartels in Mexico were purchased in Arizona gun shops.
The operation was designed to respond to criticism that the agency had focused on small-time gun arrests while major traffickers eluded prosecution.
In December, two assault rifles purchased by a now-indicted small-time buyer under scrutiny in Fast and Furious turned up at the scene of a shootout in Arizona where Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry was killed.
"We ask that if a government official made a wrong decision that they admit their error and take responsibility for his or her actions," Robert Heyer, the slain agent's cousin, told the committee. "We hope that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is forthcoming with all information" Congress is seeking.
John Dodson, an ATF agent who feared the operation would result in deaths, told the committee that "although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest, but rather, to keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk."
"Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan," said Dodson. "It was so mandated."
ATF agent Olindo James Casa said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms."
"We were told to just fall in line," said Casa.
ATF agent Peter Forcelli said that "when I voiced surprise and concern with this tactic ... my concerns were dismissed" by superiors.
"To allow a gun to walk is idiotic .... This was a catastrophic disaster," said Forcelli.
VN:F [1.9.6_1107]

Monday, June 13, 2011

White House Pressure on 1967 Borders

If  you have been following this blog on the the issue of the 1967 border lines that the Obama Administration "suggested" as the starting point of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, you know this is an important issue.  In the attached article Eli Lake from the Washington Times writes today about these negotiations and some of the background give and take between the Administration and Israel.
Israel must not be forced to return to the indefensible 1967 borders, even with "land swaps.".  All military studies of the issue that I have seen along with good old common sense says that a 9 mile strip of land cannot be defended in modern times.  If the past with horseback pulled carriages, maybe but not in the time of supersonic jets and even faster missiles. All of those who argue differently, either are naive or do not understand military tactics or are anti-Israel. 
If you disagree, as always, we are open for a discussion.
Here is the article. 

White House seeks Israeli agreement to negotiate on 1967 lines

Eli Lake - The Washington Times, June 13th, 2011
The White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that Israel’s pre-1967 borders should be the basis for future peace talks.
A senior administration official Friday told American Jewish leaders that the request for Israel to endorse the president’s peace principles was part of an effort to head off Palestinian plans to declare an independent state at the United Nations in September.
Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, said he was looking to get both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to adopt Mr. Obama’s “principles as a basis for negotiation,” according to a recording of the call played for The Washington Times.
Mr. Obama said last month, “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” But the president has also rejected a set of U.S.-Israel understandings made during the Bush administration that tacitly accepted construction in some Jerusalem suburbs over the 1967 line.
Mr. Obama’s position would effectively reopen border negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that had been mostly settled in the last round of peace talks that ended in 2008.
The request of Mr. Netanyahu to publicly endorse those lines was made June 6 to the prime minister’s top peace negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho, at a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the National Security Council, according to an Israeli diplomat based in Jerusalem.
The diplomatic effort shows Mr. Obama is now ready to begin imposing general principles on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a tactic that until now the White House had avoided.
Mr. Simon, who served as the Clinton White House’s top counterterrorism official, said the United States had about a month to head off the Palestinian plan to declare a state during the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting set for September.
“We have a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians as accepting these principles as a basis for negotiations,” he said. “If that happens we are somewhat confident that the Palestinians will drop what they intend to do in the U.N.”
Mr. Simon said Palestinians in general were supportive of the idea.
“We are working with the Israeli government to see whether they can accept these principles as a basis for negotiations,” he said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Simon said the United States would oppose a Palestinian unilateral declaration at the United Nations, regardless of whether Israel adopted the Obama principles. He also said that the Palestinian leadership was divided on whether to proceed with the unilateral declaration in September.
Palestinian leaders have long said the 1967 lines, or the de facto borders of Israel prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, should be the basis of negotiations.
But since Israel’s victory in the war, successive governments have built Jewish suburbs in and around Jerusalem. Both Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed privately in 2008 talks, that most of these suburbs would remain part of Israel after a peace agreement, according to a Palestinian negotiation record first disclosed by the Al Jazeera news organization.
Last month, Mr. Obama, in a major foreign policy speech, endorsed the Palestinian position on the 1967 lines in his speech about the Arab Spring.
The New York Times reported that senior Obama administration officials were divided on whether the president should make mention of the 1967 lines in the way that he did.
The last-minute inclusion in the speech of language using the lines was a surprise to Mr. Netanyahu, who was en route to Washington when the president delivered his speech.
The tension over the 1967 lines lessened after Mr. Obama spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee during Mr. Netanyahu’s visit. He clarified that the final borders between Israel and a future state of Palestine should take into account demographic realities and facts on the ground, a clarification that brought Mr. Obama closer to his predecessor President George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush, in 2004, wrote a letter to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon saying it was “unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”
The Israelis have long considered that letter to be the basis of a set of agreements with the Bush administration that would shield the Jewish state from criticism for building roads, housing and other developments inside the boundaries of the Jerusalem area settlements known as Maale Adumim.
Mr. Bush’s letter was written a year before Mr. Sharon became the first Israeli leader since Menachem

Secretary Gates On Defense Spending

On a post last week Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly write in The Weekly Standard about Retiring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his parting words at the University of Notre Dame Commencement and before the American Enterprise Institute.  His words scare the bloody heck out of me.  The cuts that the Defense Department have experienced in the past two years remind me of times in the Carter Administration and after WWI.  In both of those times we cut our military to a degree that it took years to again return to a posture of adequate defense material, manpower and equipment.  It appears as if we are heading the same path again.

This is ironic in that we now are involved in three active wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) and one undeclared/unannounced action in Yemen. What is our government thinking?  This should be  the time when we are increasing spending and not the opposite.

With the new Defense Secretary Panetta, the great defense cutter of the Clinton Administration, becoming the new Secretary, can things get worse?  I fear that is a great possibility.

When will we ever learn.  The best defense is a strong offense. If we are going to be the leaders of the free world, we must have a strong military.  We definitely cannot depend upon Europe or Scandinavia to defend the world.  Who is going to be there if the United States does not?  Please name one because I cannot think of any country.

This policy will only come back to haunt us.  I hope some sanity prevails before the military is completely gutted.

Here is the article. I sure do hope that I am wrong!

The Weekly Standard, JUN 6, 2011, VOL. 16, NO. 36
In the next month, after more than four decades of distinguished public service including almost five extraordinary years at the Pentagon supervising the successful surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will retire. He departs as the very model of a Washington “wise man,” having served in senior positions in two Democratic and three Republican administrations—the best the inside-the-Beltway establishment has to offer. His parting words, delivered in a series of valedictory speeches, carry the weight of his long experience and sober judgment.
Gates’s career spans a remarkable period from the Cold War to today, the events of which raised immense hopes—none more than the collapse of the Soviet Empire—and were punctuated by deep darkness—9/11 and the year 2006 in Iraq.
In his May 22 speech at the University of Notre Dame commencement, Gates summed up the classical wisdom of a conservative: “If history—and religion—teach us anything, it is that there will always be evil in the world, people bent on aggression, oppression, satisfying their greed for wealth and power and territory, or determined to impose an ideology based on the subjugation of others and the denial of liberty to men and women.”
If mankind has fallen, the United States of America still struggles to lift it up. “Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated,” Gates allowed in a speech last week at the American Enterprise Institute that developed the themes of his commencement address. “But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief: that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet.”
To protect and promulgate its liberties and the cause of liberty, America must be strong. “More than any other secretary of defense, I have been a strong advocate of ‘soft’ power—of the critical importance of diplomacy and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and national security.” But, said Gates, “Make no mistake: the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators, and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is ‘hard’ power—the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military.”
This is the heart of the matter. During his service under Barack Obama, Gates has been directed to make three significant rounds of reductions in Pentagon plans and budgets. The first came in early 2009. As the Obama administration prepared to inject $800 billion in “stimulus” into the faltering U.S. economy, canvassing agencies for “shovel-ready” projects, it ordered weapons cuts that totaled about $330 billion.
In 2010, seeing the shifts in the domestic political landscape, Secretary Gates seized the initiative to wring $100 billion in “efficiencies” from defense programs, hoping he would be permitted to reinvest the money in higher priority procurements. He got to keep about three-quarters of the “savings,” but the White House took not only the remainder but another $75 billion.
The net result was that Gates transferred $78 billion from one Pentagon pot to another, but a further $100 billion was cut. The third round began on April 13, when the president announced—though he hadn’t informed Gates until the night before—that the Defense Department would contribute another $400 billion to his “deficit reduction plan.”
If brought to fruition, the Obama administration will have sliced something on the order of 15 to 20 percent out of the already overstretched military it inherited. The dollar figures don’t reflect the full extent of the damage, but the loss in power is clear: The Army and Marine Corps will return to their pre-9/11 size, and major land, sea, and air projects have been reduced, ended early, or never brought into production. And it might be worse: Secretary Gates has acidly described the defense cuts called for by the chairmen of the president’s deficit commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, as “catastrophic,” driven by budget “math, not [military] strategy.”
AEI, “those weapons and other programs considered most questionable, have not only been plucked, they have been stomped on and crushed.” The fat has been trimmed; what’s left is bone.
Gates also defined the challenge for the man nominated to be his successor, Leon Panetta, who’s been a strong director of central intelligence but who also, as a congressman in the 1990s, led the charge to reduce defense spending. “We need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people, indeed with ourselves, about what the consequences [of further defense cuts] are: that a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things.”
Gates’s warning should be a call to arms for conservatives who, in election after election, have retained the public’s trust by adhering to the principle that American military preeminence is absolutely essential if we want security at home and great-power peace abroad.
It is a platform that Republicans in Congress and those running for president, in particular, need to reaffirm. Former Minnesota governor and 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty got it precisely right when he said: “I’m not one who’s going to stand before you and say we need to cut the defense budget. .  .  . I’m not for shrinking America’s presence in the world. I’m for making sure America remains the world leader.”
Through the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bob Gates has seen the thin line that separates “too few” from “just enough.” He knows how hard it is to turn defeat into a chance for victory. When he says “enough,” conservatives—and all Americans—should listen.