TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
America’s success in securing her boarders, triumphing over her adversaries, protecting her trade routes and fixing her role as leader in the 20th Century rested, without a doubt, on a well-funded military. That is a fact. Since World War II America assumed responsibility to maintain a stable global order in her strategic self-interest.
In a dangerous, roiling world awash with anti-American sentiment, our national defense is critical not only to the security of our homeland, but to a stable global order.
Today, our strategic interests are at risk. This serious situation occurs at a time when our economy and the world’s economy is exceedingly fragile verging on collapse. The world is increasingly unstable.
Last year congress chose to raise our national debt ceiling in order to borrow more and more money to spend improvidently. To gain Democrat support for the increased debt ceiling and to keep the government running the Republicans agreed to drastic cuts in military spending. These particular cuts in defense spending are known as “sequestration.”
Sequestration looks like this. In 2011 the Obama administration proposed a $487 billion cut from the military over 10 years. Of even greater concern is the congressional Budget Control Act that takes effect on January 2, 2013. This will require $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years. Those cuts will be split evenly between military and domestic programs, the military alone absorbing a full one half of all cuts. Between Obama’s $487 billion cut and the Budget Control Act cut of $500 billion, the effect will be to cut all military spending by almost $1 trillion over 10 years at the rate of $100 billion a year.
The Marine Corps would almost immediately lose 10 percent of its force. The Army’s manpower would be reduced to about its post-World War II level. The Navy would shrink to the smallest since World War I. Furthermore, the Department of Defense would lose thousands of civilian employees resulting in the smallest workforce in its history.
Critics of defense spending, including some of my libertarian friends, assert that even more can be cut from national defense. They observe that we spend more on defense than do the next 20 nations combined. A smaller military would restrict unwise adventures overseas making some interventions operationally impossible. They contend a large military force only encourages adventurism violating the premise of a republic with a small, limited government.
That said, the world is unpredictable and growing more so. Wars break out between old allies as well as old enemies. Germany was friendly toward America in 1932 and hostile in 1941. Russia was an ally in 1945 but used North Korea as a surrogate to kill Americans five years later. The Soviet Union went from Cold War enemy in 1989 to a passive Russian state under Boris Yeltsin to an antagonist under Vladimir Putin all in the space of 25 years. Anti-American authoritarian trends continue to grow in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.
The nuclear threat from North Korea, Iran, China, Russia and an unstable Pakistan continues to grow. Our nuclear arsenal deters adventurism. For this reason South Korea, Japan and Taiwan see no need to develop their own stockpiles.
In the face of American cutbacks in military preparedness, why shouldn’t nations around the world see this as a reflection of a society whose priorities no longer include meeting aggression with overwhelming military force? For their own security they will conclude military options are in their best self-interest.
Because of America’s strong military, our rivals such as Russia and China are discouraged from taking over their neighbors. America’s military strength ensures the safety of the seas and protects global commerce for all. This encourages the world’s bad actors to resort to bombast rather than bombs.
On a lesser scale, genocide in Africa, Syria and the Balkans; an Arab Spring turned sour; piracy in the Red Sea; and a rejuvenated al-Qaeda and Taliban pose further threats to stability. Every dollar cut from our military defense reduces America’s flexibility to deal with these real threats and crises.
Formation of our current and future national defense policies beg an answer to a very pertinent question. Is it in our national interest to deter aggression and maintain a stable global order?
If the answer is “yes” then a 4 to 5 percent investment of our Gross Domestic Product, as we have seen for the last 70 years, is acceptable.
If the answer is “no,” then America can no longer meet its responsibilities as a leader in the free world. The world will change, and not for the better. America and the many nations that work together with us will certainly be less safe. Radical cuts in defense spending means America must sit on the sidelines and observe as the world grows more dangerous.
For voters on November 6 and policy makers that follow, a well-funded national defense becomes a critical judgment call.