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COLUMN: A strong U.S. military is necessary for American diplomacy

By Andy Pierucci
On March 5, 2014

Recent events in the world have reinforced the need for a strong American military. The Obama Administration will bring its defense budget proposal to Congress this week. The proposal would cut the military drastically and the Army would shrink to its lowest troop levels since before WWII. The Air Force’s A-10 Warthog, a ground support airplane, would be discontinued, as would a number of other vital aircraft. Now is not the time to shrink our military.

The U.S. must maintain a strong military to protect our interests and maintain stability. Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is the world’s superpower. Some countries cry out in anger when we intervene in conflicts, but many more cry out when we fail to stop injustices. I’m not arguing for a worldwide crusade, but I do believe the U.S has an obligation to the world to help when and where it can.

Many of us have been watching the situation in Ukraine unfold with growing horror. The hope for democracy has turned to despair as 16,000 Russian troops have marched into the Crimean peninsula. Economic and diplomatic threats can only do so much. Russia’s economy is already in the tank, so sanctions are not a great deterrence. The world must not stand idly by watching as Russia bullies Ukraine into submission. The Ukrainian people have a right to determine their own future free from outside interference.

The situation in Ukraine is not the only concern in world events. A Russian spy ship armed with anti-missile defenses and other armaments arrived unannounced in a Cuban harbor just 90 miles from the Florida coast last Wednesday. In the Middle East, Iran continues to work towards building a nuclear weapons system. Terrorists continue to wreak havoc in Iraq, Pakistan and a number of other countries. The civil war in Syria rages on unabated. A terrorist attack in China has left more than 30 dead and 140 wounded, and North Korea test fired two ballistic missiles just last week.

The world is not safer than it was 10, 20 or even 30 years ago.

A strong military acts as a deterrence and can assist in diplomatic and economic negotiations. President Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The U.S. should do just this.

We can be an example of economic and social opportunity to the world. We can assist countries that are struggling and make sure international laws are enforced. We haven’t always been perfect — the 2003 invasion of Iraq comes to mind — but more often than not, we do what we believe to be right.

I think Winston Churchill said it best: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”

Andy is a senior majoring in political science. He is currently the vice president of USU Pi Sigma Alpha, a member of the GRC, the Secretary of the Utah Federation of College Republicans and president of USU College Republicans.

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