President Obama has just ordered massive cutbacks in defense spending, eventually to total some $500 billion. There is plenty of fat in a Pentagon budget that grew after 9/11, but such slashing goes way too far.
Fairly or not, the cuts will only cement the now-familiar stereotype of Obama’s desire to retrench on the world scene. They follow symbolic apologies for purported past American sins, bows to foreign royals, and outreach to the likes of Iran and Syria. Abroad, such perceptions can matter as much as reality, as our rivals begin hoping that Obama is as dubious about America’s historically exceptional world role as are they.
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