Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . . Reagan’s Vision Lives!
E-Mail Message 141107
Beware the Lame Ducks!
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
November 7, 2014
“We the people” must stay alert throughout the entire remainder of President Obama’s lame duck presidency, beginning now—and beyond—to assure that our elected representatives—on both sides of the aisle—live up to their Constitutional oath “to provide for the common defense.”
After Tuesday’s “Republican Wave Election,” we should expect a major change in how Washington deals with a number of important issues. The American people have clearly spoken about their unhappiness with the current “powers that be.” And how the new leadership fares with the public depends on how the new bunch performs.
Polls show that the dissatisfaction is bipartisan. If the new Republican leadership doesn’t make a major difference, the people will surely clean house again—more of them will be up for re-election in 2016 than were on Tuesday.
Furthermore, this election was not just about Washington. The “Wave” extended to the states, where change swept among the state governors and legislatures. Click here for Jerry Corsi’s World Net Daily claim that this “GOP Wave Is More Massive than Anyone Realized.” He quotes Morgan Cullen, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Colorado, as saying, “This was a wave election victory for Republicans in state legislatures across the country, leaving Democrats at their lowest point in state legislatures in nearly a century.”
The above NCSL summary of “red,” “blue” and “split” states shows clearly that Americans—at least those who vote—are looking for new directions and leadership. Corsi states that Republicans now control 67 state chambers while the Democrats control 28. Prior to Tuesday, Republicans had a 57-41 advantage. Republicans have complete state control – both chambers and the governor’s mansion – in 23 states, compared to six states for the Democrats.
This shift should be a net positive for High Frontier and our agenda, which involves initiatives at the national, state and local levels. But we need to get by a couple of “Lame Duck” sessions:
(1) Until the current congress passes the baton the next in January 2015, particularly the same Senate which has blocked legislation on over 200 bills passed by bipartisan majorities in the House of Representatives; and
(2) During the next two years when President Obama is expected to continue pursuing his objectives, whatever the new congress reflects as the will of the people.
A “Lame Duck” Congress Can Create Long-Term Damage.
A brief history lesson from not long ago is instructive.
Many cheered the alleged progress during the 2010 “Lame Duck” session of congress because of several “bipartisan” agreements. But there was at least one with long-standing negative impact on U.S. strategic interests—the ratification of the so-called “New START” Treaty, passed over the objections of top ranking Republican leaders, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ). (Click here for a sample summary.)
The key vote was 67-to-28 for cloture with everlasting shame going to 11 Republicans who supported it. To buy reluctant votes, President Obama promised a major investment in modernizing our deteriorating strategic forces—a promise unsurprisingly not kept, and our strategic forces (among our other military capabilities) continue to atrophy under the administration’s stewardship.
President Obama’s supporters suggested the 2010 Lame Duck Senate ratified New START Treaty justified his unearned but much publicized Nobel Peace Prize, and he claimed “This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades. It will make us safer and will reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia’s.”
Au contraire, this the first treaty ever to be ratified by a lame duck Senate actually required significant cuts in U.S. strategic arms while legitimizing a buildup of Russian strategic arms, currently still underway. And while Russia (and, by the way, China) modernizes and deploys new strategic forces, the Obama administration is failing even to keep ours current.
Click here for Bill Gertz’s summary of the dismal status of our nuclear forces, a prelude to a senior review panel’s soon to be published “Nuclear Enterprise Review.” Gertz says the bottom line is that “U.S. strategic nuclear forces, both weapons and personnel, are experiencing serious problems that must be addressed urgently.”
Making sure that objective is met should challenge the new Congress—and the Senate in particular should keep a careful eye on any further New START negotiations—and assure a proper response to Russian violations of treaties from the START era and earlier.
In that context, these Obama efforts should have been called “New SALT” because the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), begun President Nixon, were little more than a diplomatic process that legitimized a major buildup of Soviet strategic arms. Notably, the Carter administration’s SALT II Treaty was never ratified, at least partially because of this feature.
President Reagan wanted actual reductions, which is why he called his negotiations Strategic Arms Reductions Talks (START)—with a goal of equal reductions on both sides.
New START doesn’t meet Reagan’s standard by a long shot. It is an insult to those of us who were involved in helping President Reagan meet his objectives.
Furthermore, SALT gave us the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which made it illegal to defend the American people from ballistic missile attack—while the Soviets violated its terms from the outset. We are at best still recovering in our limited efforts to provide effective defenses for the American people. Thankfully, President George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty, but we still are not taking full advantage of that freedom.
Long-Term Damage Can Be Hard to Correct.
For example, the Navy’s sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems have proven capabilities to defend our homeland, but they are still limited, by executive direction, to the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) role that was permitted under the ABM Treaty. In fact, Aegis BMD could be made even more effective as a homeland defense, but the powers that be remain focused on spending much more money on developing less effective defense systems.
Furthermore, we are pursuing policies and programs that restrain our ability to build the most effective ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems to protect the American people—which was Ronald Reagan’s vision. And our leaders are permitting politics to dominate considerations of serious efforts to return to the key technologies that could and would underwrite that vision.
For example, there are no apparent serious technology development programs to advance the light-weight technology so important to building cost-effective space-based interceptors—viewed by the living directors of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) as the most important innovation of our watch—canceled in1993 by the Clinton administration and not since revived. (Click here for my June 5th discussion of how this most important SDI product has been lost amid politically correct delusions.)
Nothing is likely to change this sad situation unless and until some future President wishes to build the most effective ballistic missile defenses. A key challenge is to keep that option available for him, should he wish to do so.
In the meantime, we should not allow distractions from making the Aegis BMD systems—at sea and on land—all they can be, and as quickly as possible. This system is critically important to building an effective near-term defense against the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat, as I have often discussed.
Possible Current “Lame Duck” Mischief.
Fortunately, no treaties are waiting in line for ratification, except the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which hasn’t a chance of receiving the 67 Senate votes needed to consider it for ratification—at least in the near term.
But the President might begin other unhelpful initiatives in the lame duck session—with the alleged post-election flexibility he promised Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in 2012. He might exercise his prior threats to use his “pen” to issue executive orders and to sign executive agreements that may bind future presidents in ways that preclude their use of the most effective technology to provide the best possible and least expensive defenses.
In particular, I am concerned about steps he may take to enter into international agreements that could limit our future operations in space—as have been sought by Russia, China and others since even before my days of negotiating with the Soviets in the 1980s.
Then they argued we should agree not to “militarize space,” an obvious ruse since space was irreversibly militarized by the German V-2 rockets that passed through space on their way to their targets during World War II. They sought to ban weapons in space and for completely unverifiable agreements “to prevent an arms race in space.” We resisted these Soviet arguments, which were attempts to gut the SDI program.
Click here for the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) summary of the history and current status of related efforts—mostly focused on developing an “International Code of Conduct of Space Activities” and a Conference on Disarmament “Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT).”
There is room for much mischief here, which could be masqueraded in a flurry of executive actions on other important initiatives that distract attention from such international initiatives that restrain not only our current BMD programs, but also our future efforts to defend America and our overseas troops, friends and allies.
For example, “executive actions” that limit our future BMD capabilities could be ignored while other administration ill-fated policies play out. Consider just a couple that may surface during the upcoming lame duck session of congress while Lame Duck Senate Majority Leader Reid can do the President’s bidding by blocking Republican initiatives to counter:
- Amnesty for Illegal Emigrants—even though most Americans—Democrats and Republicans—oppose such a move, which led the President to delay his previous plans until after last Tuesday’s election. But in Wednesday’s press conference, President Obama signaled this unilateral executive measure remained a possibility.
- An executive agreement legitimizing Iran’s build-up of nuclear materials to build a nuclear weapons—Presumably, we’ll know more about this possibility by the end of this month according to previous agreement to conclude the current negotiations by November 24th. But there already are serious suspicions of an unsettling initiative that would involve Iran in countering ISIS in Syria and Iraq that somehow may be linked to Iran’s processing of nuclear materials for nuclear weapons.
These possibilities could be stirred with other developments into quite a “horse-trading” stew, especially until December 11th, when funding for the Executive Branch runs out with a potential threat of a government shutdown
In addition, complications could result from the President’s much ballyhooed “reset of U.S.-Russian relations” that has been an obvious failure—as Vladimir Putin regularly thumbs his nose at the President’s misguided initiatives while filling the foreign policy vacuum created by a lack of U.S. leadership—particularly in the Middle East.
Most recently, Russia has decided not to support the next Nuclear Security Summit—and China, India and Pakistan have chosen to follow Russia’s lead. Nuclear states all. This is another of President Obama’s initiatives, associated with his valid interest in curbing nuclear proliferation but regrettably also his unwise advocacy for eliminating nuclear weapons.
A debate about a government shutdown could shroud these and other nefarious activities that may serve the President’s long-standing agenda—which his Wednesday press conference indicated no intention to modify. We’ll see how his meeting goes today with Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Designate Mitch McConnell, who published their priorities in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. (Click here.) Don’t hold your breath while looking for serious progress.
At least the Boehner-McDonnell list included that they would address “head-on” a savage global terrorist threat that seeks to wage war on every American.
Hopefully, they intend to include the existential EMP threat.
In any case, the bottom line is that “we the people” must stay alert throughout the entire remainder of President Obama’s lame duck presidency, beginning now—and beyond.
We need to hold both sides of the aisle accountable for their respective stewardship. Stay tuned.
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
We will echo the outcome of this week’s election—and emphasize our efforts to inform the state and local authorities—and publics—about the existential EMP threat and what we can do to counter it.
We will continue expanding our work with the National Guard to help them gain knowledge and workable plans to help harden the electric power grid and counter the EMP threat. This work will go hand in hand with efforts of State legislators who are seeking to expand on the excellent work of those in Maine and Virginia, who have passed legislation requiring serious studies of the EMP threat and the needed countermeasures to protect the electric power grid.
We are working with South Carolina National Guard to plan tabletop exercises to help them understand how best to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to understand and respond to this serious threat. We also are supporting related activities in neighboring and other states.
We are informing SC state legislators and senators about the threat and what can be done to deal with it—and expect the coming legislative session to take up proposed legislation modelled after that passed without a negative vote in Virginia. (Click here.)
We also expect to work with Cong. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) whose district includes my SC farm—and other members of the Congressional EMP Caucus to again seek passage of the Shield Act and the Infrastructure Protection Act.
We will be working with members of the EMP Coalition and others who are seeking to take our message across the country—especially with Bob Newman, a former Adjutant General of Virginia, to help us link our SC plans more broadly and especially into Virginia and the National Capital region.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.
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