If the Obama Administration gets its wish, the U.S. will spend about a billion dollars per week in fiscal 2016 defending countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq against various threats. It will spend nothing on actively defending the American homeland against a Russian nuclear attack using long-range ballistic missiles. Even though Moscow has over a thousand nuclear warheads on missiles capable of reaching the U.S., and has been rattling its nuclear sabers frequently since the invasion of Ukraine a year ago. This seems like a classic case of misplaced priorities that needs to be rethought. The U.S. strategic “triad” of missiles and bombers is a potent deterrent, but it can’t cope with enemies who are irrational or accident-prone. And it can’t do much about Russian missiles once they are launched. The U.S. needs a layered ballistic missile defense of its homeland a lot more than it needs to preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq, because nuclear deterrence isn’t going to last forever. I have written a commentary for Forbes that you can read here.
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