Missile Offense

Tom has a post on missile defense, but it’s worth emphasizing that ballistic missile defense is an offensive weapon. It serves beyond just feeding the Military-Industrial-Complex and Poland: namely, stressing Russia and thus preventing Moscow from using that political capital elsewhere.

The unwanted gift of missile defense in Europe (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog)
So we have a non-defense (too weak for Russia) triggering a destabilizing counter (Kaliningrad) by Moscow, whereas east European states, who face no logical threat from Iran (why threaten a Europe that already does such business with Iran?), see it as a gateway drug to modernization of their militaries by the Pentagon.

While the initial policy proposals of Pentagon’s New Map have since been scrapped, I’m not comfortable with the proposals that have been adopted. Detente, for instance, is an answer to a question moot for a generation.

Bush Bails out the UAW

uaw-gm-copy

I don’t doubt that the UAW bailout is good party politics; it forces then-President Obama (a Democrat) to decide between continuing yet another unpopular Bush policy or throwing yet more loyal supporters under the bus. It’s just bad for America.

Auto Makers to Get $17.4 Billion – WSJ.com
The White House announced a $17.4 billion rescue package for the troubled Detroit auto makers that allows them to avoid bankruptcy and leaves many of the big decisions for the incoming Obama administration.

In a statement, President George W. Bush said the administration decided against forcing a bankruptcy to compel cost-cutting, in order to avoid the risk that consumers would desert one or more of the companies and touch off an industry collapse, deepening the current economic downturn.

The economy is hurt, as unions and large companies learn if things get really bad, they can depend on the government (as long as they spend a fortune on lobbyists and unions: Enron, Arthur Anderson, Lehman Brothers, et al. were not so wise). Auto innovation is hurt, as dinosaurs continue to take funding and investment that could go to innovative start-ups instead. Our infrastructure is hurt, as we continue to pour money into the past. The American taxpayer is hurt, as some of this money will be turned around to lobby us for even more.