The disparity between what the US spends on its military and what it spends on diplomacy, roughly $600 billion vs $37 billion, will shape the future. How could it not?
Sure guns costs more than butter. But in both cases there is an irresistible temptation to use what’s in the pantry.
And that’s the essential problem. As the US becomes increasingly owned by others; as it withers as a superpower; as it confronts Russia and China over perceived aggressions; as it lashes out at its own failings — as it most certainly will — US leaders will instinctively reach for what is nearest at hand to deal with its angst, and that won’t be butter, it will be guns … as it has been since WWII.
Stick John McCain in the Oval Office and this probability becomes an inevitability.
Two weeks ago the US military budget, already greater than all the military budgets in the world combined, passed through Congress with nary a murmur … and that at a time when there was a veritable shit-storm over a bail-out of roughly the same amount.
That the Military Industrial Complex holds the country hostage has been conventional wisdom ever since Eisenhower coined the term in the ’50’s. And it has never been more true than today.
A weakened US desperately needs friends: friends who won’t pull the financial rug out from under it (China); who will collaborate and cooperate in dealing with real conflicts (EU); who will cooperate in energy generation and distribution (Russia); who will participate constructively in trade (Americas, Asia); who will cooperate globally in the fight against terrorism (Middle East et al)
You don’t tend to attract friends when you’re pointing a rifle at them, or threatening to.
The US is an emasculated Superpower. It now has to start to play well with others. And to show that willingness it must cut its military down to size.
It’s time for the US to re-join the community of nations.