It is hard to argue against the claim that the United States is the police of the world. We are usually the first country to send troops, planes, ships and other elements of military force into a hostile territory and the last ones out. That has never been a doubt of mine but ever since the Cold War ended, I have not paid much attention to the US military spending in comparison to other countries. That ended today when I was reading an article in The Economist which contained a graph showing just how much more the US spends to support its military compared to the rest of the world.
According to the article, the US spends more money on the Military than the next 17 countries combined and the chart shown above was taken from that article (showing the US compared to the next 14 largest spenders). All I can say is Wow! China, which is #2 behind us, spends just 17% as much as the US and, as the article points out, China’s most recent military accomplishment was refurbishing a retired Soviet aircraft carrier which is China’s first carrier. I am extremely proud of my country’s military and support them now more than ever and this chart gives me pride that are providing the brave men and women who defend our country and freedom around the world with the best tools to do their job and bring them back home safe.
But something else jumped out from this chart. Many times I have heard Liberals extol the virtues of European socialism and how countries like Germany have been very successful with GDP growth rates while providing free healthcare, pensions, unemployment, welfare, etc. They ask why the US can’t dip their toes in various aspects of Socialism just like Germany did. Well this chart shows just why we can’t. Germany and other European countries spend anywhere from 25% to 50% of what the US does when taking military spending as a percent of the country’s GDP. They can do this because they have the luxury of having American bases on their soil, providing protection and therefore they can spend their money in other areas. Being the World’s Police doesn’t provide America with the same opportunity.
Now that the budget super committee failed to reach a compromise, automatic cuts to the military will kick in and we’ll be forced to reduce this spending. I am one of the biggest proponents of a strong military but even before these automatic cuts were proposed, I took the view that we can reduce our military spending and can do this in a way that will not put the security of our country in jeopardy.
We have 662 military sites around the world and with our enemies now taking a different form; do we really need dozens of bases in countries like Germany? Isn’t it time for other countries to start sharing the load and force them to spend their own money to defend their countries? There are a couple of links that show where our military bases are located and you can look at the Wikipedia link or the DoD report from last year.
The US can dial back from its role of the World’s Police while not forsaking its primary purpose of keeping a military presence that defends Americans and our interests across the World. Americans should be proud of its military and what it does on a daily basis to defend freedom around the world and we should also remind Liberals that we don’t want to move closer to European style socialism and should instead reduce our spending in those areas while we eliminate obsolete military sites around the world.
Congress should be reminded that while military spending can be reduced, the bigger spending reductions need to come from so called entitlement spending. As I showed in a previous post, over 90% of all tax revenues go to pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare and Unemployment Insurance. This is no way to run a country and before we agree to sensible cuts in Defense we must agree to major reforms in these programs.