This exactly coincides with my own opinion about the main motive behind Obama’s desire to drastically slash the military:
Limiting the power his successors can wield is, for Obama, not just an unalloyed good idea but an imperative. Call it the “stop America before my successors sin again” imperative.
Obama has always played the long game. That’s part of what Obamacare is all about, and it’s not over yet; there are more twistings and turnings in that story, including the single payer goal.
True, also, of these changes in our military capability. Obama is not content to draw down our capacity to wage war while he’s president. His goal is to extend his reach into the future and make it very difficult for whoever follows him—if that person be so inclined—to reverse the trend. He also wishes to signal his stance unequivocally to the world at large: the withdrawal of the US as the main military enforcer of order in the world.
I’ve written before (don’t have time to find the link at the moment) that Obama’s foreign policy has already caused other countries to see the US as less steadfast, and this holds true even if the next president is a conservative foreign policy hawk. American foreign policy has always been relatively stable and reliable. No matter who was president, there has been a general tendency to stand by allies and go against enemies, although the degree to which these things have been done varied.
Obama has already changed that game. The world knows that if there could be one president who reverses those rules there can be more, and America no longer can be relied upon.
So this proposed reduction in arms is part of that big picture. A future president who would want to reverse this would need the support of Congress, and time. That was part of England’s difficulty during the Chamberlain years—the Prime Minister was, among other things, playing for time because England was unready to fight the Nazi menace, even had it been willing.
Sometimes I wonder how much Obama knows about history. But mostly I think he knows the history he needs to know all too well.
[NOTE: This proposal would not fly if it didn't tap into a generalized unwillingness on the part of the American public to understand that waging war is not necessarily bloodthirsty warmongering. Most people hate war---I include myself in that group---and many people seem to think it now unnecessary. This feeling has been building since the Vietnam War, and if it continues it will make it nearly impossible for us to defend ourselves or others. Its parallel in private life has to do with the desire to ban guns, as though that would solve the problem of guns in the hands of criminals rather than just give those criminals more and more power.
By the way, a personal note: some of my Communist and pro-Communist relatives were in the forefront of the nuclear disarmament (unilateral, of course!) movement while I was growing up. So I am well aware of the historic influence of the left on these movements, from personal experience.]