Lost in the noise of Tuesday’s absurd Rose Garden victory dance over Obamacare “enrollments” –the equivalent of Browns’ fans strutting about the 2013 season– as well as the continued speculation over MA 370 and GM’s woes, were the details of the House GOP’s proposed 2015 ten year budget, rolled out by Paul Ryan.
As The National Journal’s Billy House notes, the new Ryan budget has no chance of becoming law, but it does recommit the GOP to a defense build-up in the years beyond 2015, a commitment that will be a centerpiece of the fall 2014 campaign to take control of the Senate and the 2016 presidential campaign. The crumbling Department of Defense needs help right now, of course, and Congressional appropriators can stop absurd things like the cuts to Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles and the shuttering of the A-10’s production, and the Pentagon can try and hold on to near-readiness through gimmicks and slow downs for one more year, but this document at least points the GOP back to the right path and shuts the door on the talk that “the number one threat to our national security is the debt.” Under the Ryan plan, military spending would be increased by $483 billion through 2024 over a “cap” established in 2011. “Caps” are shorthand for past plans of past Congresses, and recent developments in Russia and the PRC make the old plans as relevant to today as 1940’s Defense budget was to 1942’s.
Senator Marco Rubio opens today’s show to talk, among other things, about those emerging threats to America’s national security and global stability, and in hour three, strategist Robert Kaplan joins me to survey the largely uncovered surge across the South China Sea by the PRC, detailed in his new and riveting book Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.
The GOP did not fight hard enough for defense spending over the past five years, allowing the domestic political battles of the era to dominate and alleged “war weariness” to steer the debate away from the country’s necessary role in the world. Mitt Romney’s attempts to warn the country about Russia and especially our declining sea power were laughed off by the Manhattan-Beltway media elite, but no one outside of MSNBC is laughing now. Paul Ryan’s new budget is a welcome start back to the policy of “peace through strength,” and anyone who wants to lead the GOP in the future will have to help carry that banner.