Franklin Delano Roosevelt should have described Nov. 16, 1933, as a day that will live in infamy. As syndicated columnist Diana West notes in her splendid new book, "American Betrayal," that date marked the beginning of a sustained and odious practice of our government lying to us about the Russians. It appears that the Obama administration is determined to perpetrate a reprise of this practice. Call it "American Betrayal 2.0."
According to Ms. West, the betrayal syndrome began when FDR normalized relations with the Soviet Union on the basis of a written promise from the Kremlin not to subvert the United States. Of course, the Soviets lied. For years thereafter, so did our own government — with horrific effects — by insisting the Soviets were reliable friends and even wartime allies.
Does this sound familiar? Today, Team Obama is engaging in its own, serial and disastrous betrayals — from promising Americans that they can keep their health care to a deal that will allow Iran to keep its nuclear-weapons program. Two others regarding the Russians warrant special attention.
First, The New York Times reported on the 80th anniversary of the infamous normalization deal (without, of course, noting the irony) that the U.S. Department of State was beavering away at a new arrangement that would allow a half-dozen Russian facilities to be installed across the United States. Ostensibly, these sites would be used to help the Kremlin build out and operate its so-called Glonass satellite system, a counterpart to and competitor with America's Global Positioning System (GPS).
There are several things wrong with this picture. First, it is not clear why we would want to help the Russians compete with the GPS. Second, the practical effect of the Red Army having its own global positioning system is that it may make ours a more certain target in the event of any future hostilities between us, or perhaps even between the United States and Russian clients.
Then, there is the problem that Glonass signals may interfere with those controlling our GPS satellites, especially if the Russian ground stations are in proximity to the American ones. Another serious concern has to be precisely which electronic equipment the Russians will put into these facilities. Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, recently wrote to three agency heads out of concern that, among other things, some of the gear might not actually be needed for Glonass, but be useful for espionage, electronic warfare or other activities inimical to our security.
According to The New York Times' report: "For the State Department, permitting Russia to build the stations would help mend the Obama administration's relationship with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin, now at a nadir because of Moscow's granting asylum to Mr. Snowden and its backing of President Bashar Assad of Syria."
It is a travesty, but in keeping with past betrayals of America, that our State Department — presumably, with White House approval — thinks that we need to make further concessions in response to bad behavior by the Kremlin. The outrageousness of such an idea is compounded by the fact that the folks in Foggy Bottom neglected to secure its approval from either the Defense Department or the intelligence community. Both are reportedly up in arms about it — as indeed they should be. Will they prevail, though?
At the same time, the Obama administration has another betrayal in the works. This one involves not only the nation as a whole, but several of its Democratic allies in the U.S. Senate.
It seems that Team Obama is intent on dismantling at least one squadron of 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles as its preferred approach to meeting the reductions in nuclear forces required by the seriously defective New START Treaty with Russia. A timeline provided to Congress indicates that in order for that to happen by the "treaty compliance date" of Feb. 5, 2018, the Air Force needs to begin the lengthy decommissioning process by launching an environmental-impact assessment next month.
This should be a shock to Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana. They were assured by President Obama that the ICBM forces such as those located in Montana and commanded by the Global Strike Command in Louisiana would not be affected by New START. It was on the basis of such assurances that all three senators voted for that accord.
These legislators and their Senate colleagues from the other ICBM-basing states — Republican John Hoeven and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Republicans Michael B. Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming — should take the lead in amending the National Defense Authorization Act scheduled to be considered on the Senate floor this week to ensure that, as the president promised, the land-based leg of our nuclear triad is not further weakened. That is especially advisable at a time when the Russians are aggressively beefing up their nuclear threat to this country and its allies.
America needs a reset, all right. It should feature not further concessions to the Russians, however, but an end to the betrayals of our people to the benefit of the Kremlin that have been perpetrated now for 80 years. No more.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.