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Didn’t we win the Cold War?

December 1, 2010

What happened?  Somehow we won the Cold War but never got the spoils.

Twenty years after winning, we’ve got Russian billionaires buying up the world, incessant pictures of bare-chested Vladimir Putin doing stuff like fly-fishing and swimming in Siberian rivers, and a brand new arms control treaty that gives away American missile defense.  What the…!?

Short history lesson: the Soviet Union and the United States were allies at the end of World War II but wary of each other.  The communists had more in common with Nazis than Americans.  In fact, Stalin and Hitler signed a treaty dividing up Europe one week prior to the onset of the war.  They were natural buddies, both of them being ruthless socialist dictators intent upon spreading misery to the rest of the world—and they both enjoyed massacring Jews as a hobby.

Makes you wonder what these two guys talked about when they had face to face meetings… fast cars, women, and mass murder statistics?

Because the Soviet communists were fundamentally opposed to individual freedom and therefore uncomfortable with America, the world entered into a 45-year Cold War that was finally ended by Ronald Reagan calling the Soviet bluff in the 1980s.  Reagan drove the Soviet Union into bankruptcy.  First he withdrew from the SALT II nuclear disarmament treaty because they were violating it.  Then in Reykjavik, Iceland, during face-to-face meetings with Gorbachev, he insisted on the U.S. right to develop missile defenses.  Finally, as a symbolic coup de grâce, he stood at the Berlin Wall and shamed them:
“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate… Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
The U.S.S.R. found itself staring at a costly war in Afghanistan, the possibility of a renewed nuclear arms race, a dysfunctional economic system that stretched across Eastern Europe, and a brand new race with the U.S. to develop defensive anti-missile systems.  The Soviets couldn’t afford even a tenth of it.  In the end, they couldn’t even afford to heat themselves in the winter.

On December 3, 1989, with most of the Soviet Union’s component republics declaring or considering independence and glasnost producing daily humiliations of the ruling Communist Party in Moscow, Mikhail Gorbachev met with Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, in Malta and they formally declared the Cold War ended.

You can’t really continue a war when one side ceases to exist.  Too awkward.

(Afterward, Bush and Gorbachev retired to a private patio, shared a couple of beers, reminisced about Cold War good times, and said wise things like, “Now what do we do about those two billion frickin’ Chinese?”)

That’s where things stood at the end of 1989: the United States resurgent after eight years of Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union bankrupt and dissolving.  So what the heck happened since then?

All over the news you see Russian billionaires buying shiny new toys like outrageously huge, outrageously beautiful mega-yachts that make American billionaires' yachts look like scows.  It’s irritating.  And it’s puzzling how they managed to out-rich boat-lovers like Microsoft founder Paul Allen and Oracle founder Larry Ellison in a mere 20 years.

Maybe they need those mega-yachts to visit their NBA franchises in the United States and their soccer franchises in the U.K.

Meanwhile, insult to injury, everywhere you look you see manly photographs of Vladimir Putin contrasted with unmanly photographs of President Obama.  It’s downright embarrassing.  Look at Obama flinching and giggling like a little girl while merely watching a martial arts demonstration.  Then look at Putin—resolute of gaze, wearing his judo-gi & black belt—actually teaching martial arts.

It’s not fair.  We won, they lost, so how did we end up with the weak-kneed Communist president?

While Putin is photographed riding a horse sans shirt, Obama is photographed riding a bicycle sans dignity.

Ask yourself, “Which is more dangerous, the horse or the bicycle?”  The answer is obvious.  So why why WHY does Obama have to wear that silly helmet?

It doesn't have to be this way.  The President of the United States doesn’t have to look like a sissy when he’s on a bike.  George Bush managed to look fairly manly when he was on a bike.

No, this is an Obama thing.

He doesn’t seem to get it.  Even when the guy specifically aims for a publicity shot, he ruins it.

Example: when Putin wanted a publicity shot doing something useful with fellow Russians, he measured an anesthetized polar bear in Siberia.  Let me repeat: a polar bear in Siberia.  When Obama wanted a publicity shot doing something useful with fellow Americans, he went to a Habitat for Humanity house under construction… and hung curtains.  Hung curtains.

Good grief, Mr. President, you couldn’t pick up a hammer and pretend to be a guy for a minute?  Just for the cameras?

Finally, look at Putin controlling his well-trained dog and then look at Obama in the act of being pulled across the White House lawn by his fluffy, neutered, ill-behaved little Portuguese Water Mutt.  Makes you wonder who’s walking who, doesn’t it?

I’m not being mean just for the sake of being mean—there's a point here.  If the man can’t say no to a dog, how do you think he fares in the realm of international diplomacy with enemies like North Korea and Iran?  “Stop yanking my chain, Kim Jong-Il, you rascal!” doesn't cut it out there in the real world.  Look at what North Korea is doing right now.

As Bo might say, “It gives one paws.”

On April 8, 2010, Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in Prague.  Obama and senate Democrats are now in a dither to get the damn thing ratified before newly-elected Republican senators get there in January.

New START surrenders our right to missile defense, the right that Ronald Reagan insisted we have back in the 1980's, and mandates parity in strategic offensive nuclear missiles (where the U.S. has the advantage) while leaving the issue of tactical nuclear missiles (where the Russians have a huge numerical advantage) unchanged.  In return for these huge concessions, Obama got nothing.  He also told the Russians that we would not install missile defense systems that the U.S. previously promised to Poland and the Czech Republic.  He got nothing in return for that, either.

Plainly put, Obama got rolled.

[Breaking news: U.S. officials just announced (11/30) that the Russians moved short-range tactical nuclear warheads to facilities near NATO countries, breaking a long-standing pledge.  The Russians made these moves as recently as last spring... right about the time President Obama was meeting with Medvedev in Prague.  You couldn’t make this stuff up.]

In the coming days, you’ll see talking-head “experts” and congresscritters and White House spokesmen and even generals from the Joint Chiefs hitting the streets to sell this treaty to the American public.  They’ll be claiming that we did not give up the right to missile defense.  They’ll be lying through their teeth.

I can give you chapter and verse:
1. Right off the bat, the preamble of the treaty says that missile defenses must not undermine effectiveness of strategic offensive arms.  In simple English, we can’t develop missile defenses which stop Russian ballistic missiles.  That’s insane.  In fact, it’s MAD, the Mutually Assured Destruction strategy I grew up with and lived with until Ronald Reagan ended it.  This is a restart of the whole Cold War, two sides sitting back with their aging nuclear warheads aimed at each other, hoping nobody pushes the wrong button.  Maybe this is what Hillary Clinton meant when she gave the Russians that reset button.  Apparently, “reset” means they get a do-over on the Cold War.

2. Paragraph 9 of the preamble goes further and says that the U.S. must reduce current missile defenses in accordance with Russian reductions of offensive missiles.  So when they say they destroyed offensive missiles, we have to destroy defensive missiles.  Trouble is, we don’t have that many defensive missiles and the Russians lie like rugs.

3. Paragraph 3 of Article V says we can’t convert offensive missile launchers to defensive launchers.  More MADness.  Why would anybody object to a defensive missile launcher?  Defensive missiles don’t hurt anybody, let alone defensive missile launchers!  This is a sign of how important stopping our missile defenses is to the Russians.

4. Article IX, Part 7 of the Protocol says we have to share telemetry from our missile defense tests with the Russians.  As anybody with half a brain could guess, there’s no sense working on missile defense if you turn around and give the enemy all the information they need to defeat the system you just developed.  This provision alone should have been a deal killer for the U.S.

5. The treaty limits what kind of missiles the U.S. can use to test its defense systems.  If we can’t fly a target missile, we can’t test our stuff.  If we can’t test our stuff, we can’t build a missile defense system that we know works.  Duh.
Back to the original question: didn’t we win the Cold War?  So why are we giving away the advantages we won?  Most importantly, why has our president bargained away the right to defend against nuclear missiles?

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” which means stay cautious and non-aggressive but be ready to defend yourself.

Common sense.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

December 2, 2010 - Hey J.P., I posted the summary of the START II treaty from your latest Mad Cow article on my FB page. I hope you don't mind. I felf it was important to get this type of news out there. Anyway, I got the following response from [mutual acquaintance]. We still talk a lot. Just try to avoid politics for obious reasons. Thought you might enjoy the dialog; PS. I don't think he knew that it was you that wrote the article. I did not inlcude your name because I hadn't asked your permission. I just referred to you as a very wise man. [His] Comment:
These kinds of stories are more about twisting the facts than anything. There were some very good reasons why we made the concessions we did. None of those reasons made it into this story. I am not saying I am sure Obama's decision was the correct one, only time will tell. This version of the event however is your typical political news piece with half facts fueled by a partisan agenda.
My Comment Back: Yes... you are right. This was definitely a politically fueled piece, no doubt about it. But if you look at the Russian's history on this their main goal for many years has been to get us to reduce our stock of defensive missles. We have an advantage defensively and they are looking to, at the very least level the field and restart the cold war. The original START II was signed by Bush Senior and Boris Yeltsin in 1993, ratified, and set to go into effect when START 1 expired in 2009. START 1 contained language binding us to the ABM Treaty (Anti Ballistitic/Defensive Missle Treaty) of 1972? Not real sure on the date here. Anyway, in June of 2002 Bush Jr. withdrew from the ABM Treaty. This was most likely due to 911, and the fact that he had just signed them to the SOAR (Strategic Offensive Arms Reductions) Treaty which made no mention anywhere in the document of defensive missles. Either way I agree with the move. One day later Yeltson showing the Russian's true colors with regards to their desires for us to reduce our defensive missle capabilities withdrew from the START II treaty. I read the new treaty, and based on the history of the Russians, and the statements that they were making to press during negotiations I think that we have every reason to question the decision to enter into this agreement. The problem isn't as much in the articles themselves as it is in the preamble. I am not a lawyer, but I have had enough experience to know that this establishes the "intent" of the contract by which everything else within the document will be evaluated. The reduction of strategic defensive arms is implied in the very first paragraph. Here's the portion of the paragraph referring to defensive arms:
"Recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties"
This language is traditionally used by the Russians referring to the deterrent theory of Mutaully Assured Destruction (MAD). If each side has the ability to wipe each other off the face of the Earth, then neither side will. Therefore, one must recognize that there is a "interrelationship" between offensive arms and defensive arms. Especially, if we have more defensive weapons than Russia does. Furthermore, it states that defensive arms can not undermine the "viability and effectiveness" of offensive arms. This could be construed to mean that if one side has more defensive weapons than the other side has offensive weapons, defensive wepons will have to be disabled. In addition, the right of Russian to withdraw from the Treaty based on U.S. missile defense deployment beyond “current strategic” capabilities is implicit in this Treaty language. In other words, in order for our governmet to stay within the terms of the agreement we can't develop our missle defenses beyond what they currently are. A Russian general negotiating the treaty stated the following; “The sides agreed that the present strategic defensive arms are not undermining the viability and effectiveness of their strategic offensives forces. This makes it possible for us, in case the Americans increase their strategic ABM system, to claim that they are not observing [the terms] of the treaty." The fact is that there is no reason for defensive arms language to be included in the treaty at all. O'Bama's administration is hurting badly in the polls. The reason for this is certainly debatable, but you can't deny the fact that he doesn't want another failure. This is a case where another politician rolled over at the expense of the American people. Now he's got his people out trying to put lipstick on a pig. All one has to do is read a little history, read the treaty, and you can see that the preamble to this treaty, was written by the Russians. Am I all for offensive arms reduction? Hell yes. The scare the crap out of me. As far as your being sure that Obama is right on this one and that only time will tell???? I'd hate to see how we find out if [you're] wrong. - Identity removed, USA
J.P. replies: I absolutely love it that my website is generating a discussion like this.  If you don't mind, I'm going to post this in my comment section with identities removed...

December 1, 2010 - No, it was disassembled by time... - Julio V., Michigan

December 1, 2010 - You're right about one thing, I'm seeing everybody under the sun on tv telling me the treaty doesn't give away our right to anti-missile systems. But I'm also seeing people who say what you're saying. Frankly, I think it boils down to Obama having lost my trust. I believe you. - Susan P., Denver

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