Posted by: Tony Carson | 7 November, 2007

US militarization of diplomacy

What is the cost to the US of their militarization of diplomacy — no, other than hatred around the world.

Frieda Berrigan answers the question in How Much is Enough?

For fiscal year 2008, we are looking at a “base military budget” of $520 billion and another $127.5 billion in war spending, which means that total military spending will hit $647.5 billion. The Bush administration has presided over one of the largest military buildups in the history of the United States. $647 billion is a lot of money. After adjusting for inflation, it represents the highest level of military spending since World War II.

Why are we spending so much? In large part, it is because of the many Cold War systems that have managed to stay in the budget and in the Pentagon’s “toolbox” despite having no relevance, no rival, or no hope of ever delivering what they promise. One of the best examples of all three of these categories is ballistic missile defense — a problematic, unjustifiable and immensely expensive military programs. Since concept development in 1983, the United States has spent close to $100 billion dollars on various version of the program. In tests, the system has failed in five out of 11 tests since 2004. This rate was so abysmal that the Missile Defense Agency stopped releasing the results of system and component tests.

The U.S. military budget has never been bigger and our propensity toward militarized solutions from immigration and totalitarianism to terrorism and nuclear proliferation has never been stronger. To speak of cutting the military budget, reallocating resources to support a broader range of security tools, converting away from military-dependent production is a tough task right now. But it is necessary. The military-fits-all solution is failing to deliver on a single promise. We are not safer. “They” are not freer. And we are more hated abroad than ever before!

It is also visible in our crumbling infrastructure. The Report Card for America’s Infrastructure from the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assessed the physical state of aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, the national power grid, hazardous waste, navigable waterways, public parks and recreation sites, the rail lines, the roads, schools, security, solid waste, transit, and wastewater throughout the United States and gave the American infrastructure a grade point average of D (poor). The ASCE estimated that it would take $1.6 trillion in investment over five years to repair and restore this infrastructure.



  1. I assume that there’s a consequence worse than hatred that you have in mind.

    If we worried about doing things simply because they might lead others to hate us for them, we’d be selling out our own understanding of right and wrong.

    We teach our kids to do what’s right, not what’s popular. Right?

    But if what you’re really concerned with is that hatred leads to physical attacks, then it would be expedient not to make other people hate us. Wouldn’t make it right, however.


  2. A global citizen sees right and wrong in a much larger context than the selfish, self-serving interests of a small percentage of the world’s population. Somehow, if this planet is to survive, we have to start doing what is right for the majority not for a piddling minority who, themselves, have been seduced to numbness by corporate interests.

    Talk may be cheap, but war is punishingly expensive — from the bucks to the carnage. Militarizing diplomacy is just shooting the messanger — before he delivers the message. Right?

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