Beneath are some responses as they appeared in the Weekly Standard on January 5, 2012:

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon:

“This is a lead from behind strategy for a left-behind America. The President has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense. This strategy ensures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs. In order to justify massive cuts to our military, he has revoked the guarantee that America will support our allies, defend our interests, and defy our opponents. The President must understand that the world has always had, and will always have a leader. As America steps back, someone else will step forward.
“An honest and valid strategy for national defense can’t be founded on the premise that we must do more with less, or even less with less. Rather you proceed from a clear articulation of the full scope of the threats you face and the commitments you have. You then resource a strategy required to defeat those threats decisively. One does not mask insufficient resources with a fuzzy world view and a strategy founded on hope and a hollow force.”

House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee chairman Randy Forbes:

“This morning, the Administration released an eight-page document that purports to be a strategy review of our nation’s defense. Cloaked by the simplicity of this review is the reality of an increasingly complex array of threats faced by our nation, ranging from terrorists, to rogue states and emerging national competitors seeking to thwart the United States’ global reach. Unfortunately, this review dangerously fails to identify risks assumed by drastic budget cuts. This laundry list of vague ‘priorities’ is not a strategy for superiority; it is instead a menu for mediocrity. And while we agree with the President that it is indeed time to shift our national security focus toward the Asia-Pacific, it is difficult to effectively project power in the region while at the same both Congress and the President are actively dismantling the greatest military the world has ever known. The President can now claim this document as a ‘review’ of national security priorities, but I fear that it serves simply as as political cover for an Administration more committed to a stimulus-style domestic agenda than it is to preserving a strong national defense.”

Senator Roy Blunt:

“The president comparing our defense spending to the defense spending of other countries is certainly in line with his thinking that America is just like every other country. In terms of our freedoms and our attractiveness as a target, I’m absolutely confident that our enemies do not view us as just another country. I’ve always said that everything needs to be on the table as we look for ways to reduce out-of-control federal spending, but I have real concerns about any move that weakens our nation’s defense.”

American Enterprise Institute scholar Gary Schmitt:

“It’s a declinist strategy for a declinist president. And a key question is whether, when the administration submits its defense budget in a month, the Congress will step up to the plate and reverse course.”

Brookings Institution scholar Bob Kagan:

“The announcement of a new smaller-footprint approach to the world comes as Iraq begins to spiral into sectarian violence following [the] Obama administration’s premature and unnecessary withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. It is wishful thinking — engaged in by many a recent president — to imagine that we won’t need to deploy forces on a reasonably large scale sometime again in the not-too-distant future. Ironically, this current approach is the fulfillment of Don Rumsfeld’s dream. But our track record is clear — and it long predates the last administration. The U.S. has responsibilities and interests which sometimes require the use of military force, and sometimes deployments of troops on the ground. The world cannot be policed by drones and special forces alone.”


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