Robert Zarate, Michael Rubin, Rep. Mike Conaway & Bill Gertz
In the never-ending debt ceiling debate, Robert Zarate, Policy Analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative, joins Frank to discuss what it may mean for our military. As proposed defense cuts have been as high as $1 trillion over 10 years, Zarate calls it a “war of accounting,” in which our spending in Iraq and Afghanistan takes the blame, while in actuality much of the budget is tied up in the Pentagon bureaucracy. Zarate asks what the risks are of not funding our military engagements abroad, and explains how we should determine our budgetary priorities.
Then, Michael Rubin, of the American Enterprise Institute, discusses another endless dilemma: the war in Libya. As rebels turn on each other, and defectors of the Libyan regime are assassinated, Rubin says the United States must choose whom to recognize, as such recognition brings considerable diplomatic power and aid. The Resident Scholar also explains how the Commander of the Revolutionary Guard, defenders of the Islamic Revolution, may soon be President of OPEC. Rubin also notes that while Iran’s menacing rhetoric is cause for alarm, the Islamic Republic is not currently in the position to act upon it.
Congressman Mike Conaway, 11th District of Texas, praises the vigilance of ordinary citizens in the role of catching Pfc. Naser Abdo, an AWOL Muslim soldier plotting a second attack on Fort Hood. Rep. Conaway wonders why conscientious objector status was given to Abdo, who did not demonstrate an eschew of violence by buying six pounds of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of shotgun ammunition and bullets for a semi-automatic pistol while reading al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. Conaway, member of the House Armed Services Committee, also comments on the debt debate, as he is “not interested in solving the problem on the backs of our men and women in uniform.”
Finally, weekly Secure Freedom Radio commentator Bill Gertz, of the Washington Times, reports on China and the growing tensions on the Taiwanese Strait, where Chinese surveillance aircrafts were recently spotted. From “Inside the Ring,” Gertz is also hearing that the Obama Administration and Sen. John Kerry are ramping up efforts for the Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty by using the Navy as a catalyst of support. He also notes how the Administration is in “major spin mode” in trying to defend U.S. relations with Russia after a GRU military officer was linked to the U.S. embassy bombing in Georgia.
From Today’s Show Prep
“Extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.” That’s how General Martin Dempsey, the Army’s chief of staff and Obama’s pick to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly described proposals by the president and certain lawmakers to cut national security spending by anywhere from $400 billion to $1 trillion or more over the next decade. During confirmation hearing on Tuesday, General Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the nation’s four military services had already begun to examine the possible impact of Obama’s April 2011 proposal to cut yet another $400 billion from the Department of Defense’s so-called “baseline” budget.
Senior State Department officials came under tough questioning from lawmakers Wednesday over the Obama administration’s reluctance to call for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s departure.
Despite the Assad government’s bloody crackdown on demonstrators, U.S. officials have shied away from calling directly for his ouster. They worry that the United States would end up looking weak if Assad managed to hang on in the face of popular pressure. And with American leverage limited in Syria, they also have been reluctant to raise expectations about what the administration might be prepared to do to unseat the regime.