By Rear Admiral Ernie Elliot (ret.)
Chicago Tribune 

Your Feb. 22 editorial “Two threats, no waiting” warned of the nuclear threat posed by both Iran and North Korea but failed to address how recently proposed trillion-dollar defense cuts could weaken our missile defenses, cancel next-generation fighter jets and ICBMs, and slash funding for surveillance and reconnaissance drones.

Dropping our defenses at this critical moment would effectively green-light nuclear ballistic missile development in Iran, North Korea and many other regimes.

Foreign policy in the next decade could be held hostage by the constant nuclear threats by otherwise marginal despots.

Such is the risk of slashing our military capabilities, as proposed by an unprecedented $487 billion defense cut in the president’s recent budget proposal, combined with an additional $600 billion cut that could automatically take effect early next year, unless Congress acts to stop it.

We can and must prudently reduce spending in all areas of the government, including the Department of Defense.

But we must also preserve our ability to deter anyone who threatens the interests of the United States or its allies.

We cannot successfully deter or negotiate with an enemy from a position of weakness.