October 4, 2013

FIGHT THE NEXT WAR, NOT PAST ONES:

America Is Spending Too Much on Defense (John Mueller, 10/03/13, Slate)

First, it is time to consider the fact that a cataclysmic conflict like World War II is unlikely to recur. As such, the continued spending for an ever-receding likelihood needs to be seriously assessed. Relevant to this consideration is the rise of China. Although China's oft-stated desire to incorporate (or re-incorporate) Taiwan into its territory should be watched; armed conflict would be extremely costly to both countries. Most notably, Chinese leaders, already rattled by internal difficulties, seem to realize this. Likewise, it might make sense to maintain a containment and deterrent capacity against particular states such as Iran and North Korea in formal or informal coalition with other concerned countries. However, neither country is militarily impressive, and the military requirements for the task are limited. Then, concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons is justified, but experience suggests that when countries obtain the weapons, they "use" them only to stoke their national ego and to deter real or imagined threats.

The United States will likely remain involved in preserving the security of its allies. But Europe seems to face no notable military threats, the Taiwan/China issue remains a fairly remote concern, and Israel's primary problems derive from the actions of sub-state groups. So it is appropriate to consider at what level the USA should continue to pay for these "threats."

Dealing with current threats mainly calls for policing and intelligence work with occasional focused strikes by special units as necessary.

Posted by at October 4, 2013 6:54 PM
  

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