F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
October 29, 2000
Winning the Cold War -- Against China

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

There's nothing wrong with an arms race, as long as we win it!

"We have been reducing the size of our force and cutting back on the defense budget for 16 straight years," reports Congressman Floyd Spence, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "We're to the point now that we've reduced the force 35 to 45 percent. We've got three people doing the work of five in the military," the South Carolina Republican complains. "We're wearing out people and equipment with all these deployments around the world. We've deteriorated our force to the extent that we would have a difficult time fighting off the security threats to our country," Spence warns. "Plus," he adds, "we still don't have a national missile defense and there are nations with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads pointing at us."

In an interview published in the October issue of The American Legion magazine, Congressman Spence argues that "we can't afford not to" build a national missile defense. "Even an accidental launch could have terrible consequences," he warns. "Just a few years ago," Spence recalls, "Norway launched a weather rocket and Russia's military sensors mistook the launch for a ballistic-missile attack from one of our submarines. They were within minutes of launching an attack on us in retaliation for something we didn't do," he emphasizes. "We're that close to a real nuclear holocaust."

Spence recommends ending "this trend of armsreduction. Not long ago," he remarks, "in a meeting here in Washington, Russian officials shook their fingers in our face and told us they still have a nuclear arsenal that is being improved all the time. They threatened us. We didn't win the Cold War by giving in to threats like that," Spence declares. "We shouldn't worry about an arms race," he advises. "That's really what won the Cold War -- Reagan's buildup brought down the Soviet Union."

Congressman Spence speculates that, "if we do have another large-scale war in the future, it's going to be with China. That's what the Chinese government is saying," he observes. "They are preparing to fight us and to use the military secrets they have stolen from us. I don't know how we can change the government in China," Spence concedes, "other than just doing as Reagan did and outspending them in an arms race."

Spence is counting on our next Commander-in-Chief to "help us deploy a national missile defense. President Clinton," he complains, "has hampered us every step of the way on this issue. He's vetoed our bills and thrown roadblocks into our way every time we've made some movement on national missile defense. The new President is going to have to turn that around by helping us rather than hindering us in that respect. We also have to build up the rest of the military -- all the way across the board -- to meet the threats that are facing us today." Spence points out that "we're supposed to be able to fight two major theater wars. We've cut back so much," he concludes, "that I doubt we could fight one war like the Persian Gulf War."

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