Defense Spending is Counterintuitive

It really struck me today when I read that President Obama’s defense budget for next year is $22B larger than this year.  Aren’t we drawing down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Doesn’t that mean lots of extra troops and dollars to be put into other stuff, and the war on terror?  Why would we need more?

How about a new foreign policy based on the concept of restraint, recognizing the idea of “blow-back”, which more and more people are starting to talk about.

  1. Stop messing with other peoples stuff
  2. Then people will hate us less
  3. Which will lead them to stop messing with our stuff
  4. Which will lead us to stop feeling the need to mess with their stuff
  5. Repeat

Ron Paul has it right. The more we spend on defense, the more enemies we have, and the less safe we are.  Now its really probably some inflexion point on a curve somewhere where you increase safety up to a certain level then see the inverse, but it feels like we passed that point on the curve somewhere around the end of the cold war.

What do you think?

Guest Blogger Jeff

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4 responses to “Defense Spending is Counterintuitive

  1. Its only counterintuitive if you still consider it “defense” spending. Clearly we have moved into a more offensive stance with our military. We may be drawing down in Iraq, but we still have an embassy complex that is larger than Vatican City there that we have to support. We aren’t leaving Afghanistan, they are our foothold in the ever important Central Asia region. We have a war in Libya. We are supporting rebels in Syria, Pakistan, Chechnya. Iran, and China. There is a book by Zbigniew Brzezinski called “The Grand Chessboard” that pretty much seems to lay out what we have done and what we will be doing. Defense spending is going up because Reagan took those solar panels off the White House. It was at that point that we as a country decided against alternative energy and have instead opted to flex our muscle to obtain as much oil and resources as possible (although we failed miserably with rare earth metals). So defense spending is counterintuitive to the American People, but not the American Government. Sadly everyday we see more and more evidence that the will of the people is not a factor in the decisions of our government.

  2. What is the increase in terms of a percentage? Could be due to inflation, whether with equipment, or with pay, or with services, say housing and treating troops and their families (unless that is a different item).

    Personally I think we should be streamlining our infrastructure in Europe as well as in the United States (i.e., are there many bases left open due to political reasons). We should probably take another look at different programs, like the Osprey.

    Not sure we can wind down Afghanistan too quickly. We should probably just completely depart Iraq though and ditch the idea of that large, expensive embassy in Baghdad (maybe leave a token presence at the Canadian one).

  3. # Stop messing with other peoples stuff

    No problem here, I’m sick of defending every other country on the planet from The Bad Guys ™. Pull all the bases and let people defend themselves. That will work for the Saudis for about 15 minutes, then Iran will come in, take all the oil, and I’m walking 16 miles to work. Yeah, US military in Saudi Arabia is the reason they gave for messing with our stuff this time but they would have found some other excuse to want to wipe us off the planet sooner or later because the Quran told them to.

    # Then people will hate us less
    Not going to happen (at least the people who hate us for being who we are and who BTW, also happen to have a lot of oil and a few nuclear weapons lying around). They hate us for who we are and what we stand for and because we’re not like them.

    # Which will lead them to stop messing with our stuff
    See previous comment

    # Which will lead us to stop feeling the need to mess with their stuff
    You fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side, no one fishes in the middle works for Indians but not for people who want to kill us just for being who we are. When they try to do that we need to kill them back. We’re just doing it the wrong way. We should have depleted the ENTIRE supply of MOABs in Afghanistan and when there was nothing left but sand, said, THIS is what happens when you mess with us for being who we are. If’ we’d done that then we may not be in this situation.

    Not that I have a strong opinion on the matter.

  4. Michael Dunne

    Maureen,

    Interesting points. I believe we could essentially defend Saudi Arabia with our navy vis-a-vis Iran. Big problem would be unrest with Shiites in the eastern part of the country (or in Bahrain). Also, mining of the gulf would be a big problem, combined with mobile, land to sea missiles. The gulf is like a giant Long Island sound; can see Iran from Dubai when taking off at the airport. I point that out because ensuring the production and supply of oil is probably the only strategic reason for us bothering with the region.

    Agree that extremists would have found other reasons. The core belief is purity of their practice of Islam, and a need to get back to one’s roots, and that means striking back at alleged foreign oppressors (the “hidden hand” kind of conspiracy theories are big in that part of the world, sometimes justified, say when the US helped the Shah of Iran back in the 50s).

    I think Osama found his calling playing Mahdi and would have killed regardless of contrived grievances, to further his own agenda of seeking power.

    As for Afghanistan, it is a big country, and the Taleban are essentially being supported by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies (go figure). So carpet bombing the place probably could prove unproductive if the bad guys just go flee over the long borders.

    So we are in a tricky spot – Weak allies and a persistent, well supported enemy in a very isolated part of the world that aside from helping Osama kill several thousand Americans, holds no immediate strategic value for us (maybe in the future with all the rare earth minerals, but not now).

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