US To Boost Defense Spending – To What End?

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US To Boost Defense Spending - To What End?

BALA MURGHAB, Afghanistan–U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Kevin Healy exits an Italian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter during an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)mission, Nov. 30. (ISAF Photo by TSgt Laura K. Smith)

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was the pledge to “rebuild the US military”, and it is one of the few of his initiatives that appears to enjoy broad bipartisan support. The US Senate’s version of the defense appropriations bill provides for what amounts to a dramatic 10% increase in defense spending, or more than even the Trump Administration requested. The bill passed with a strong bipartisan majority and with hardly any debate. There is no reason to expect the House of Representatives will not follow suit. This naturally raises the question: what is behind the sudden interest in boosting US defense spending, after a decade and a half of continuous war?

Wear and tear of the military

The official reason for the boost, and one that has some merit, is the sorry state of the US military. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus the various and sundry other operations against Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, not to mention the confrontations with Russia, China, and North Korea, have left the US military stretched thin and demoralized. Much of the Army and Marine equipment pool has incurred significant wear and tear from operating in the hot and dusty Middle East conditions. The air force has been reduced to a collection of on-call bomb trucks supporting land operations. Even the navy, easily the least-engaged of the three services, has had to station carrier battle groups to contribute their airwings to the ground support mission, and thus justify the existence of the costly carrier fleet. The result is a force with significant morale and training problems which manifest themselves in crashing planes and colliding warships.

Military-industrial complex rules!

It is doubtful, however, that Congress is so eagerly “supporting the troops” for the reasons outlined above. As the recent US elections have demonstrated, the US economy’s softness is leading to unpredictable and uncontrollable election outcomes. Moreover, ideological opposition makes public spending extremely difficult to provide, with defense spending being the one solitary exception. The members of Congress are therefore supporting the defense appropriations bill with the expectation it will create jobs in their districts and states. Defense contractors themselves go out of their way to “educate” the legislators of the benefits associated with supporting this bill.

Donald Trump’s own motives likely aren’t all that different. While he campaigned on, for example, a “trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure,” the chances of such a program being passed by Congress are between slim and none. So offering a de-facto trillion-dollar increase in defense spending is the next best thing, as it may well translate into enough jobs in key states to ensure a margin of victory in the 2020 election.

Resuscitating Reagan

But there is also a deeper sense to this effort, as the US establishment seems to try to re-enact the 1980s. And for a good reason. It was quite literally the last decade of America’s greatness, the last decade in which the country elected a president by a landslide–Ronald Reagan in 1984–and the last decade in which it scored a genuine, unalloyed geopolitical triumph in the form of the collapse of USSR and the emergence of the US as the sole hegemonic power. Therefore it is no surprise that US decisionmakers want to use it as a blueprint for repeating the earlier success.

Indeed, if one looks at the origins of America’s 1980s triumph, it is easy to see similarities between the current policies and US policies of 1970s and 1980s. The prescription for success looks something like this: first, end unpopular costly quagmire wars, retrench, carry out domestic reforms liberalizing the economy, run up national debt through massive deficit spending, pump hundreds of billions of dollars of new spending into a revitalized all-volunteer force benefiting from a technological leap forward, and watch the geopolitical benefits practically reap themselves!

But it’s unlikely this feat can be repeated. There is no next generation of US weapons comparable to the Abrams and Bradley armored vehicles, F-15 and F-16 fighters, or AEGIS destroyers that would provide the US with the sort of qualitative advantage it enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems highly unlikely the US will be able to extricate itself from the debilitating wars in the Middle East. Trump is no Nixon, he lacks the foreign policy credibility sufficient to persuade the US establishment to accept at least a temporary loss of influence in the Middle East. Most importantly, while Reagan benefited from a stagflationary economy that benefited from liberalization and deregulation, and a low level of national debt, Trump has neither. US economy is suffering from neoliberalism and globalization taken to their logical extremes, not over-regulation or over-taxation. The US national debt is reaching its historic maximums. And, last but not least, China today is an economic powerhouse while Russia’s economy is on a far more sound footing than the Soviet economy was in the 1970s and 1980s.

The danger here is that, aware that the time is not on their side, the US elites may engage in more international adventurism to a far greater extent than Reagan did in Grenada and Lebanon. Unfortunately, there are few indications the US elites have accommodated themselves to the new, post-hegemonic, international balance of power, and the boost in military spending is a reflection of their efforts to recapture past glories. But it is unlikely they can reverse the process of US hegemonic decline. Indeed, this effort actually represents a still-heavier burden on the already weak US economy.

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  • jerry hamilton

    Defence spending is a joke, Tell it like it is… Invasion spending.

  • Richard Noel Hedditch

    Eisenhower, although a war criminal in his own right, did warn about this. And US Federal debt has since passed the 20 trillion dollar mark, and US Federal debt is never alleviated under Conservative Republican imbeciles. It always spirals. And nearly all of it is waste at the hands of the US military industrial complex, through outright unaudited theft and top heavy expensive military contracting..Even with sales to client dictatorships not a cent goes back to taxpayers – it all goes to CEOs in a non-stop suck-up to the military brass.

    • jerry hamilton

      War criminal? He was a mass murderer like Churchill.
      Google eisenhower’s rhine meadows

      • Vidura

        Stalin and Hitler were the real criminals and got what they deserved.

        • Moussa Saab

          Obama and Netanyahu are the real war criminals and get what they deserve.

          • gustavo

            Let us see, Reagan, Bush father, Bush son, Obama, Netanyahu, Tony Blair, …. criminals who are living very well.

          • Vidura

            I was talking about ww2

        • jerry hamilton

          Ahhh. A real fan of jewish media.
          Learning is optional. Ignorance is sick.

          • Vidura

            No mate it’s called reading history.

          • jerry hamilton

            You should read some more about Hitler.
            Do you even know why he invaded Poland?

  • Jesus

    US defense budget increases after years sequestered budgets are not going to increase US war fighting capabilities. They need to spend hundreds of billions on modernizing the existing nuclear triad, and their affinity to built expensive exotic weapons that are marginal in capabilities continues unabated. The defense industrial complex is concentrated within a handful of companies that are unimaginative, lazy, producing ” high tech” weapons that are marginal and very expensive to maintain. The brain power shows a parallel decline with degradation of the moral fiber of the society, therefore inovative and brilliant concepts are a thing of the past. The idea of spending more money without without proper reforms and intelligent procurement goals will not improve US effectiveness in fighting a war. Today US cannot afford to fight a full fledged war with any peer enemies.

    Russia and China with considerably smaller budgets and with a balanced defense industrial complex can produce equally or better weapons than US counterparts for less money.

    • RichardD

      They can’t account for a lot of the money that has already been spent. Increasing that will just increase the amount of unaccounted for money that disappears every year.

    • YellowFruit52

      Very well said.

  • Peter Moy

    Conclusion: The business of America is WAR. Contrast this to China where the business of China is BUSINESS. The evil, despicable, diabolical rats in the military/industrial, security and intelligence sectors despise peace and domestic development. Hell is too generous of a place for these bastards!

  • FlorianGeyer

    It is also necessary today in any army to have foot soldiers who are reasonably educated in this age of increased individual firepower and complex weapon systems.
    In the days of the musket ‘ ignorant ‘ soldiery was not a problem as they just stood in lines and followed orders to move anywhere.
    The US military at the ‘grunt’ level also has many recent immigrants from Mexico who are essentially of the peasant class.

    The standard of general and technical education in most Western nations, Russian and Chinese nations is better than in the USA.

    Ignorant soldiers make brutish soldiers, they do not often make soldiers who suit a 21st century battlefield and never make soldiers who are able to ‘win the peace’.

    Just a look at the way ISIS bandits behave in areas they overran displays that .

  • RichardD

    The problem with Jewmerica is 6 million Jews and a legislature full of anti American Israel firster swamp slaves whose loyalties are to their Jew masters not the American people. And who flee America First like vampires flee light.

    With the exception of Palestine, the US is the most Jew infested country on the planet. The US and our planet would be a much better place without Jews. Their evil pedophile rape cult should be outlawed and Israel extinguished by enforcing the 100+ UN resolutions that they’re in chronic violation of and replaced with Palestine. To create a Jew free future for our planet and humanity.

    • FlorianGeyer

      The fact that this cult, particularly the Khazars from Europe , have been disliked and distrusted for two millennia. Before the Khazars converted to Judaism about 800 years ago they were an itinerant race of bandits. :)

      • RichardD

        I’m not sure what to think about the Khazar theory. But the English study may be correct:

        “A study of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA by a team led by Martin B. Richards of the University of Huddersfield found no maternal lineages attributable to the Caucasus. Richards summarized the findings on the female line as such:

        “[N]one [of the mtDNA] came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas. All of our presently available studies including my own, should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire.””

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khazar_hypothesis_of_Ashkenazi_ancestry#Genetics_and_the_Khazar_theory

        It looks like the Palestinians started eradicating this cult from their land long before Christ. And have fought tenaciously against it for thousands of years. Much of humanity doesn’t allow it, and Europeans have a long history of trying to get rid of it.

  • YuiYui

    Population a few paychecks away from poverty, military spending bloated to bizzare levels and to little results, monopolies and cartels jacking up prices in many fields… OH I KNOW HOW TO FIX THAT LET’S INCREASE THE MILITARY SPENDING SOME MORE.

    Why do the US taxpayers bear with this? Why aren’t the streets full of protestors prostesting this, why does America only seem to care about tranny bathrooms and whether Benjamin Franklin was or wasn’t racist?

  • RichardD

    The progress made on Jew eradication by middle east governments needs to be built upon by a UNCRC investigation of Judaism mass statutory rape of 1,000 Jew cult children a week. That can be included in general assembly and security council resolutions as part of the process of extinguishing Israel, outlawing Judaism, and creating a Jew free future for our planet:

    “The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of independent experts that monitors and reports on implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by governments that ratify the Convention.[1] The Committee also monitors implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OP-AC)[2] and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

    The CRC is one of the ten UN human rights treaty-based bodies.[3] The Committee was created by the Convention on 27 February 1991.[4] The Committee is made up of 18 members from different countries and legal systems who are of ‘high moral standing’ and experts in the field of human rights.”

    In New York City:

    “The ancient practice — known as metzitzah b’peh — requires a mohel, the person performing the circumcision, to suck blood from the incision on an infant’s penis.

    It has long been linked to neonatal herpes and has consistently raised red flags in the medical community. …

    According to the Health Department, 24 cases of herpes have been linked to circumcision since 2000. Two of the infants died and two others suffered brain damage.”
    http://nypost.com/2017/03/08/new-case-of-neonatal-herpes-caused-by-jewish-circumcision/

    In Israel:

    “the Rabbinate noted satisfactory results: An average of less than one complication per 2,000 circumcisions out of 65,000 performed every year. In addition, 57% of the complications were caused by certified mohelim, who perform about 70% of circumcisions.”
    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4474068,00.html

  • Belomi

    Even with the alleged wear and tear, US Military is far stronger and better trained than the Russian and Chinese military. So your article is biased and one sided. RT, Sputnik, South Front, Tass, etc are all Russian state media. GOD BLESS AMERICA
    Let’s see what happens in Syria in the coming weeks. There are Russian, American, Syrian and Iranian soldiers in Syria. Let’s wait and see how it unfolds

    • RichardD

      Many would disagree. The Syrian government coalition is gaining ground at a rate of 10 to 1 over the Kurds recently while the Jew world order international crime syndicate is experiencing a net loss in Syria even with the stalled Kurd advance.

  • RichardD

    Jews are Russia’s and humanity’s number one enemy on this planet. Americans voted for better relations with Russia. Jews denied it. Jews should be eradicated from our planet for us to have a better future free of Jew crime and evil.

  • jhon malakiat

    america economy is sustained by war. because real economy like retail and trading controlled by china.

    during war, america can do monetiization dollar or printing paper money. as long as around the world using dollar, america no worry about dollar inflation when they print dollar money.

    but this has its limits. when the world economy is no longer able to accommodate the dollar, that’s when America will collapse. i hope i can still alive seeing america totally collapse.

  • Lumen

    to what end? to assads end. :)

  • dutchnational

    Imo the US defense burden is quite substantial and does not have to be increased. However, that is the affair of the US, not mine or anyone else.

    What is mine affair is European defense spendings, to be more particular, dutch spending.

    It is foreseen that european, incl dutch, defense spending will rise rapidly the next decade. The added spending will be focussed on increasing effectivity of present systems, incl spare parts, on investments in new weapon systems, upgrading present ones and increasing the numbers, both of materiel and the number of military.

    Dutch defense spendings will rise the next decade to likely double present spending and most EU countries will do likewise.

  • Gary Wells

    It’s an incredible amount of money that US spends for ‘defense’ to little benefit. It’s stupid on the face of it, but it certainly puts a lot of green in the coffers of certain corporations, and by extension, banks including the Federal Reserve. By the time the walls comes crashing down for this corporate empire, few will mourn.

  • Igor Dano

    Us defence spending is ineffective, compared to Ru and Cn, hence a good thingi.
    They waste money for nothing.

  • chris chuba

    Trying to keep emotion out of this, I think the arms race can be reduced to this …

    Russia’s strategy: asymmetric spending to avoid the previous Cold War trap, a vastly reduced military footprint focusing on securing their immediate vicinity with nuclear weapons as a last ditch fail safe for the lunatic scenario. So instead of trying to match the U.S. dollar for dollar and power projection, they can compensate for lack of resources by spending a small fraction of what the U.S. does and still build their economy.

    U.S. strategy: 1980’s redux.

    Russia has shed it’s financial obligation on supporting the Republics as well as proxies like Cuba but the U.S. has the advantage that they can stir up trouble in former areas of Russian influence and dominance to drain Russian resources. This is the U.S.’s only real chance of winning because IMO our soul is being destroyed and inefficiency is expanding.