Barack Obama’s presidency has had profoundly negative consequences for our national security. From debilitating cuts in defense budgets, to gutting national missile defense efforts, to his unwillingness to acknowledge a continuing war against terrorism, to his inability to stem the nuclear proliferation threats posed by North Korea and Iran, to his echo of George McGovern’s 1972 refrain, “come home, America,” the picture is bleak.

Underlying these and many other foreign and defense policy mistakes is a common theme. Obama consistently rejects the ancient doctrine si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war. George Washington said almost exactly that in his first annual message to Congress in 1790: “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

By contrast, Obama acts as though U.S. strength is provocative, and that our military forces, especially our nuclear “umbrella,” exceed our legitimate needs, and are therefore worthy of reduction. He bases this conclusion not on strategic analysis, but on ideology, the knee-jerk belief that America’s size and global influence somehow induce the misbehavior of others.