I don’t agree with some of the details of what Doug Bandow says in his piece in Forbes about the need for budget cuts to reduce deficits, but this section on military spending is spot on:
The bulk of the Defense Department’s $721 billion budget this year, $159 billion of which is expected to go for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, has nothing to do with defense. At least, with the defense of America. Most of the outlays on the U.S. armed services are for other countries rather than America, and for promoting social engineering abroad rather than serving Americans at home.
More than two decades after the Cold War dramatically ended, the U.S. maintains a Cold War military. America has a couple score allies, dozens of security commitments, hundreds of overseas bases, and hundreds of thousands of troops overseas. Yet international hegemonic communism has disappeared, the Soviet Union has collapsed, Maoist China has been transformed, and pro-communist Third World dictatorships have been discarded in history’s dustbin.
The European Union has a larger economy and population than America does. Japan spent decades with the world’s second largest economy. South Korea has 40 times the GDP and twice the population of North Korea.
I’ve said it several times on this blog, but its time the world either starts to pay us for our military defending most of it, or we need to stop doing everyone’s defense spending for them.
Defense spending has skyrocketed in recent years. If we but cut it back down to where it was during the Clinton years, not counting the costs of ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan (which we should continue to pull back from) we could do so without hindering our own security at all. If the world wants us to keep our military where it is, it can pay us to do it. It made some sense to do this for them during other points in history, but its just plain stupid now. We need to the money back home, and put towards deficit reduction.