Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Chinese menace and the national debt

Many of the arguments against cutting defense spending revolve around a hypothetical war with China. The argument goes something like this. China is eager to establish itself as a military powerhouse in the Pacific. If the U.S. blinks on defense spending, the Chinese will slowly catch up to us and take away our numerical and technological superiority. That will leave us poorly positioned to defend Taiwan, Japan, Korea or Australia. Without the deterrent of an overwhelming U.S naval power in the Pacific either China will become ascendant and aggressive or Japan will have to rebuild its navy and no one wants that. In short, we have to maintain our level of military spending to prevent a disastrous war with China.

Guess what.

We are already at war with China and we are losing. Badly.

I don’t think the Chinese have much interest in getting into a shooting war with America. Why do that when they are defeating America little by little each day? They have turned around and adapted the U.S. strategy under Reagan during the Cold War but we are too dense and too apathetic to even realize it. We cannot keep spending at our current levels but no one is willing to make the cuts we need and that absolutely includes serious cuts to defense spending. As it stands we are slowly losing our economic dominance and China is intentionally building its economic juggernaut while we push ourselves further into debt, threatening our long term economic stability and position as the leader of the free world.

We simply cannot afford to spend upwards of a trillion dollars each and every year on defense, especially since what we are buying is not “defense” but “offense” in many cases. The news has long been full of stories out of Iraq and Afghanistan but we are seeing new stories as President Obama inexplicably extends our military even further into Libya and airstrikes on Yemen. How long until we get involved militarily in Syria where conditions are at least as bad as they were in Libya?

The US military of the future needs to be a lot of things: nimbler, more adaptable, more technologically driven, more focused. It also needs to be smaller and cheaper. We need to have serious conversations about how to make that happen in the context of drastic spending cuts now, not twenty years from now when it is too late.
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