Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that U.S. relations with Russia have dipped to the lows of the Cold War. That’s a pretty worrisome assessment, because back then Washington spent a lot of time worrying about the possibility of nuclear war with Moscow. Which raises an important question: if the U.S. is going to continue injecting itself into regional conflicts on the doorstep of other nuclear-armed nations — in Eastern Europe, in the Western Pacific, and elsewhere — shouldn’t it be doing more to protect its homeland from nuclear attack? Right now, it is spending less than 1% of the Pentagon’s annual budget on active defenses of the homeland against ballistic-missile attack. That is the one manmade threat that could destroy the republic, and yet almost nobody in Washington seems to be thinking about what would happen if nuclear deterrence failed in a place like Ukraine. If that day comes, America needs something more than the ability to retaliate. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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