Comment: Media ignores growing national security threats

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By Frank Vernuccio, New York Analysis of Policy & Government newsletter

The United States may be heading into one of the most dangerous periods in its history.

The Obama Administration’s disinvestment in American national security came at precisely the same time that Russia, China, and North Korea dramatically increased their militaries. Insufficient attention has been given to the alliance between those powers and Iran, Syria, and, if actions do count more than mere words, North Korea.

Russian installation in Managua, Nicaragua. / Getty Images

The threat within America’s own hemisphere from the growing military relationship between Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and several other Caribbean and Latin American with Russia and China, as well as the association between terrorist organizations and criminal elements in Mexico, receives minimal attention.

As this article went to press, questions were raised about a new Russian facility in Nicaragua that may be Moscow’s most significant Western Hemisphere surveillance base. That revelation may be comparatively recent, but Moscow’s sending tanks and troops, and landing its Tupolev nuclear bombers in that Central American nation, have been known for years.

There are two issues worthy of intense examination in this matter. The first is the massive danger the U.S. faces. The second is how that issue has been so thoroughly ignored by so many major media outlets.

One of the crucial mistakes rendered by the Obama Administration was to reject the long-standing doctrine that the U.S. should have the capability to respond to two crises simultaneously. The error of that decision is obvious as the ravages of ISIS, Iran, and Syria continue to plague the Middle East, and North Korea threatens to turn Asia into a tinderbox.

There was no shortage of facts.

Putin committed an additional $700 billion to his military spending, violated nuclear arms accords, invaded Ukraine, and returned to Cold War bases in the west. He opened relations with the Taliban, from whence the 9/11 attack was hatched. He initiated a massive new investment in strategic nuclear weaponry, and altered his nation’s philosophy on when it was appropriate to use battlefield atomic arms, essentially establishing a doctrine that they were just another weapons choice. The Kremlin’s nuclear acceleration came at a time when the U.S. arsenal was shrinking and sliding into obsolescence.

China’s actions were equally worrisome. Its rate of spending was higher even than that of either the USA or the USSR at the height of the Cold War. It has become a military power equal in sophistication to the U.S. By 2020, its navy will be larger than America’s, a truly stunning development. It has engaged in aggressive action against neighboring nations, including the invasion of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, a move condemned by the World Court but virtually ignored by the Obama Administration.

Both Beijing and Moscow have shamelessly engaged in cyberattacks on American military, civilian, and corporate targets.

There is widespread agreement that funding cuts under the Budget Control Act, plus a series of continuing resolutions, coupled with the pace of required deployments have damaged the U.S. military. I believe that the damage has gone far deeper than most of us realize, requiring more time and more money to repair than is generally expected … we all have to be clear and candid with the American people.

Despite the sensational nature of these threats, the media has been relatively silent. It failed to probe these questions:

  • Why, when the military strength of Russia, China, North Korea, and ISIS increased substantially, and the belligerence of those powers expanded, did the Obama Administration move to cut America’s military?
  • Why did the Obama Administration fail to address Russia’s massive arms buildup?
  • Why did the Obama Administration fail to address Russia’s violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?
  • Why, when Russia was dramatically building up its armed forces, did the Obama Administration withdraw key Army components from NATO countries?
  • Why did the Obama Administration surrender America’s lead in nuclear weapons to Moscow?
  • Why was the Obama Administration’s response against the invasion of the Ukraine so trivial?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore Russia’s militarization of the Arctic?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore the Chinese invasion of the Philippine’s Exclusive Economic Zone?
  • Why did the Obama Administration open up diplomatic relations with Cuba one month after Havana agreed to allow Russian Navy ships to return to the island nation?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore the growing Russian, Chinese, and Iranian influence in Latin America?
  • Why did former National Security Adviser Susan Rice mislead the public about Russia’s failure to remove chemical weapons from the Syrian arsenal, as it was obligated to do?
  • Why has there been so little coverage of Moscow’s resumption of Cold War nuclear bomber and submarine patrols along the coastlines of the United States?

At any other time, these news stories would be continuous headline news. Now, as America, thoroughly under-prepared, faces an unprecedented threat level across the globe, the press continues to underplay them.