11 Jan

The looming cuts to America’s defense leave the world, and the United States, less safe

                                       

Krauthammer on the Hagel nomination:

Message-sending. Obama won reelection. He no longer has to trim, to appear more moderate than his true instincts. He has the “flexibility” to be authentically Obama.

Hence the Hagel choice: Under the guise of centrist bipartisanship, it allows the president to leave the constrained first-term Obama behind and follow his natural Hagel-like foreign policy inclinations.

…Hagel himself doesn’t matter. He won’t make foreign policy. Obama will run it out of the White House even more tightly than he did in the first term. Hagel’s importance is the message his nomination sends about where Obama wants to go. The lessons are being duly drawn. Iran’s official media have already cheered the choice of what they call this “anti-Israel” nominee. And they fully understand what his nomination signals regarding administration resolve about stopping them from going nuclear.

The rest of the world can see coming the Pentagon downsizing — and the inevitable, commensurate decline of U.S. power. Pacific Rim countries will have to rethink reliance on the counterbalance of the U.S. Navy and consider acquiescence to Chinese regional hegemony. Arab countries will understand that the current rapid decline of post-Kissinger U.S. dominance in the region is not cyclical but intended to become permanent.

And the liberals love it. Matthew Yglesias at Slate writes that no matter what, our country is safe:

As conservatives generally point out whenever the context isn’t military spending, it’s very damaging to human welfare to have the government tax productive labor in order to spend money on something useless. So given that population aging is certain to lead to growing pressures on the federal budget, it’s important to make up as much of the financing gap as possible by cutting spending elsewhere rather than with new taxes. And per the great Peterson Foundation chart above, the U.S. military budget is really large. Obviously, you don’t want to cut the military all the way to the bone lest you invite an invasion from Mexico or Canada. But we’re not even close to being overwhelmed by Canadian arms. And it’s striking that if you look at non-U.S. defense spending, a majority of it appears to be by U.S. treaty allies—NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, etc.—so we really do seem very safe.

He doesn’t like any proposed cuts to Medicare but defense….chop it, dice it, and slice it.

I’m sure there is a lot of bloated programs we could cut in defense, as there is in everything government does. Government is the least efficient entity in the country so sure, lets have a look across the board and slice it. But once you send signals to the world that we have become weaker for major combat all it does is invite trouble. Look at the news today that the hostilities between China and Japan are not only escalating militarily but financially.

What if China did attack Japan? Do we just allow it to happen because all we have left is some SEAL teams to do some behind the scenes stuff? No one believes there would every be a war between the two…but we never believed al-Qaeda would bring down the twin towers either. We never believed Germany would invade most of Europe. We never believed Japan would bomb our country. Without a strong military, without heavy ground and air capabilities we will become a joke to those who are most definitely evil. Hell, we don’t even make tanks anymore. Unbelievable.

Megan McArdle:

But I would like to see someone specify how far we could cut. Should we be spending the same amount as China? Twice as much? Would that be a stable equilibrium, or would we be encouraging the emergence of global competitors who would then force us to spend more again?

When I think about this, I think of Google. It’s safe to say that Google spends more than anyone else on the development of web services, including improving stuff that they aleady spend more on than anyone else, and do better than anyone else, like . . . web search. You could argue that they should stop, because it’s a waste of money: they’ve already got the top ranked search engine, and webmail program. Why continue to spend money making those things better when they’ve already got such a dominant position?

…I don’t think that many strategic advisors would recommend Google cut back its spending to the level of its next biggest competitor. The reason is obvious: Google’s continued spending keeps competitors out of the market. If they cut back that far, there’s a real risk that someone more nimble will come along and start cutting into your market. Every user that Google loses to a competitor makes their services just slightly less outstanding.

On a similar note, you can argue that the reason that other countries spend comparatively little on their militaries is that there is no point. America spends so much money that there is no hope of anyone else building competitive capacity (at least, not since the Soviet Union collapsed). So no one even tries. Even countries like Russia and China seem focused on building capacity as regional powers, not viable competitors to the US. This is good for us, obviously, but arguably it’s also good for billions of other people who aren’t embroiled in wars (or occupied by a foriegn power), because there’s so little potential gain to the countries that might start them*.

The rest of the world can see the cuts and inevitable decline of America’s power. This will most certainly give confidence to those who wish to start a war with whomever over whatever. Rest assured, they are out there. And we will not have the capability to do anything about it.

Maybe we can shoot a few drone missiles at them and that will scare em….

Sigh….

Exit quote:

Obama likes to say that his approach is pragmatic. And it is. But pragmatism is reactive, not proactive. Obama addresses problems as they come up, simultaneously and separately. He articulates few priorities and no overall vision of where he is taking the United States or the world. He wants to end America’s involvement in wars and expects other countries to step up as America steps back. But if China steps up and Europe doesn’t, what then?

Obama disconnects and downsizes threats. In Iraq he declared “mission accomplished” and left, even though Iran, which is right next door and presumably the biggest threat in the region, has now moved into Iraq to solidify support for the Shiite regime and to supply arms to jihadists in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. In Afghanistan, Obama incrementally downsized America’s goal from defeating Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to weakening the Taliban, to negotiating with the Taliban to rejoin the government—which is how 9/11 started, right?

He targeted and killed specific terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden—immunizing his otherwise feckless foreign policy—but in the process created a bigger problem, a destabilized Pakistan. In Iran, he seeks to stop the development of nuclear weapons but is negotiating secretly with Tehran to stop simply the public announcement of nuclear weapons. He is ready to accommodate an Iranian nuclear capability as long as Iran doesn’t declare it has nuclear weapons.

…The major differences in foreign policy between Obama and the loyal opposition boil down to one word—leadership. Leadership offers vision, connects means and ends, and rises above politics. Obama has demonstrated no capacity to do any of those things, either in Congress or in the world community. The optimistic view is that he will do so now because he no longer faces reelection. But that seems unlikely. If you have won two elections as a state senator, one as a U.S. senator, and two as president, and you still have no significant accomplishments to show for it, it’s doubtful that your leadership skills will suddenly emerge in what is presumably your last four years in office.

Maybe I am wrong, and I hope so. And even if I am not, our country will certainly survive. But the world is at risk. I doubt that other countries will step up to stop Russia and China from exploiting the advantages they hold outside of negotiations while they talk endlessly inside negotiations. Russia is expanding its influence in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, Iran, and, as the United States leaves, central Asia. China is doing the same in North Korea, the Taiwan Strait, Pakistan, and along the first island chain in the Pacific. Someone has to be there to limit their options.

Meanwhile, American allies are restless, especially Israel and Japan. They know that if America retreats, it will be a game changer in their respective regions. Yet Obama appears to be doing just that. He is playing it fast and loose on the diplomatic scene as the U.S. economy idles and military resources are withdrawn from around the world. The little light that pundits saw between Obama’s foreign policy and that of his opposition in the recent election is about to become a glaring gap, as America drifts and instability around the world increases.

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, China, Economy, Middle East, Military, Military Budget, North Korea, Obamanomics, Politics, Russia, War On Terror. Bookmark the permalink. Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am
| 327 views

12 Responses to The looming cuts to America’s defense leave the world, and the United States, less safe

  1. Aleric says: 1

    The Pretender in Chief wants to take us to Bill Clintons level of dealing with situations in other countries, sit back and watch and fire a cruise missle or two and now he has Drones. If Clinton had Drones when the Chechnian and Serb War was going on he would never have risked American plans flying over and doing nothing while thousands were butchered in mass graves. He would have sat back and fired a missle or two then declared victory and touted how he never risked American lives over foreign soil.

    ReplyReply
  2. Smorgasbord says: 2

    The more obama does, the more he is telling us he doesn’t want a free USA. How many liberals are feeling the water in the pot getting hotter and hotter? Not enough.

    ReplyReply
  3. CURT
    THANK YOU FOR THAT GREAT POST,
    yes you are correct all the way, you see it,
    too bad so many are blind enough by their own self,
    they don’t see nothing coming and fast,
    best to you.

    ReplyReply
  4. justme95 says: 4

    The real threat to our safety is the US arming the terrorists of the world.
    In Fast and Furious we armed the Mexican drug cartel.
    We armed the rebels in Egypt and now the Muslim Brotherhood runs the country.
    We armed the rebels in Libya.
    Reports are that we’re arming Al Qaeda in Syria to fight Assad.
    And, of course, the arms we gave to the Libyan rebels found their way to Mali where the French are now involved in quashing those rebels.
    Cutting the Pentgon’s budget is nothing compared to the above. I think people are worrying about the wrong thing. The Romans had their soldiers spread all over the known world of that time and it didn’t help them much when their empire collapsed and it won’t help America in the end, either. I no longer understand the mindset of the interventionists when we have so much trouble here at home that needs taking care of. It’s one thing playing the imperialist game when the country’s economically and morally strong, but the America government and many of its people are neither right now.

    ReplyReply
  5. justme95
    hi,
    yes,I see you have the mindset of RON PAUL,
    it’s good thinking, as for some good ideas, and many smart MILITARY VOTE FOR HIM
    OR WOULD HAVE, HE WOULD HAVE PROBABLY ALREADY ORDER THE MINING OF GOLD AND SILVER, THAT IS MORE THAN WHAT IS NOW,
    he would have give a rest to THE MILITARY
    without cutting nothing,
    that is more than what is now, he would have concentrate on the debt seriously,
    that alone was freaking up the UNIONS AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES LOOSING THEIR JOB ON ENTITELMENT WORK, LEAVING THE COMPANIES A BREATH OF FRESH AIR,
    AND YOU MENTION HE WOULD HAVE GET RID OF THE TSA MONSTER UNION AGAIN.
    THAT EVEN MORE THAN NOW, AND MINUS THE OBAMA CARE TO NOTHING AND PUT SOMETHING BETTER IN,
    AND ALSO MITT ROMNEY WOULD HAVE DONE GOOD, WITH PAUL RYAN, THEIR PLAN WAS SUPER FOR JOBS MOST NEEDED, HE HAD THE CLOUT AND MEANS TO HAVE COMPANIES BACK FOR IT.
    LOOK AT NOW, NOTHING EXCEPT THEY WANT TO TAKE FROM THE GOOD PEOPLE AGAIN MORE
    WHAT A WASTE OF PRECIOUS TIME FOR AMERICA,
    I THINK BOTH RON PAUL AND ROMNEY WOULD HAVE SCARE THE HELL OUT OF IRAN
    AND EGYPT AND LIBYA AND ALQUAEDA, TELLING THEM TO STIFU OR ELSE,
    EACH WOULD HAVE TRIPLE THE STRENGHT OF MILITARY AND TOLD THE UN TO STFU ALSO AND MOVE OUT,
    WOW ALL THIS TIME ALREADY LOST

    ReplyReply
  6. Poppa_T says: 6

    This is another area where I must differ with my conservative/republican friends. It seems to me that Republicans are just as knuckle headed about cuts to the defense budget as the Democrats are when it comes to cutting entitlement programs. WE ARE BROKE! The Republicans must accept cuts to the defense budget and Democrats must accept cuts to entitlement spending!

    Don’t get me wrong we should always be producing Tanks and other weapons and researching new weapons systems but there are areas that can be cut. In November of 2012 Sen. Tom Coburn’s office issued a report titled “The Department of Everything” that shows many area where Defense spending can be cut without adversely affecting our military strength. In 2010 we gifted Egypt with 20 F-16′s, who here really favors giving the Muslim Brotherhood that kind of fire power?

    The entire budget MUST be cut, the tax system MUST be overhauled, and we MUST stop trying to police the World or this Nation is doomed to follow Rome down the road of collapse.

    ReplyReply
  7. Poppa_T
    YES THE MILITARY BUDGET MUST BE KEPT AND ENLARGE INSTEAD OF CUT OF,
    BUT THE FOREIGN EXPANSES TO THOSE MUSLIM COUNTRIES MUST BE CUT TO THE BONE,
    THE MILITARY BUDGET HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OBAMA SPENDING WITH HIS FRIENDS,
    INSTEAD OF SPENDING WITH THE MILITARY AND MAKE IT STRONG ENOUGH THAT NO ONE WILL ATTACK EVER, MEANING THE NUCLEAR ARSENAL TO ENHANCE TO MEET THE NEED OF THE GROWING BEAST BEFORE OUR EYES, TO BE SCALE DOWN, SHE HAS MANY HORNS TO BE CUT OUT,

    ReplyReply
  8. Aqua says: 8

    @Poppa_T:

    The entire budget MUST be cut, the tax system MUST be overhauled, and we MUST stop trying to police the World or this Nation is doomed to follow Rome down the road of collapse.

    Yep. It always kills me how spending cuts on other programs are just reductions in the amount of spending increases. But when it comes to Defense, it is a “real” cut.

    The Department of Defense spent $207 million on a duplicative second engine design for the F-35 fighter

    I just want to make sure everyone totally understands this. The F-35 was designed with one engine. The DoD decided they wanted two engines. Same kind of engine, just two of them. The costs needed to modify the structural design are another thing, but this is just to design the same engine……again.
    This is from 2003:

    Though Defense has long been notorious for waste, recent government reports suggest the Pentagon’s money management woes have reached astronomical proportions. A study by the Defense Department’s inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn’t properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent. A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S.

    Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units.

    And before the Iraq war, when military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet “for pennies on the dollar,” a GAO official said.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Military-waste-under-fire-1-trillion-missing-2616120.php#ixzz2HyXNyAGg

    This from 2012:

    Both DOD documents and GAO’s work have shown that, at any given time, there is roughly a billion dollars in spare parts on order that the Department simply does not need, but the Pentagon inventory system doesn’t allow for the order to be changed. This is in addition to the tens of billions of dollars in unneeded spare parts already in the military warehouses.

    USA Today recently reported that the DOD racked up $720 million in late fees for shipping container leases by not returning the containers on time. This $720 million in late fees was on top of the cost of the actual leases.

    The GAO has also detailed billions of dollars in cost-overruns for major weapon systems. The GAO noted that several factors, including major inefficiencies in the defense acquisition system, have led to $402 billion in total major weapon system cost overruns. This total is up from $42 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 and $295 billion in Fiscal Year 2007.

    Read more: http://nation.time.com/2011/10/06/hey-panetta-whats-up-with-the-waste/#ixzz2HyYGKNg0

    The DoD needs an enema. They need to overhaul the contracting process completely. And congress is largely responsible for all the waste. They are constantly giving money to constituencies in the name of defense. Unfortunately, it’s always the men and women in uniform that get the shaft during budget cuts. No one at the Pentagon wants to cut back on the payoffs to the good ole boy network. And that is what needs to end.

    ReplyReply
  9. MARK LEVINE YOU’RE THE BEST,
    HORAY FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU,

    ReplyReply
  10. Poppa_T says: 10

    @ilovebeeswarzone:
    My dear Ms. Bees, like I said this is one of those issues where we will disagree. I am all for defense, but what we call the Dept. of Defense is not about defense…it is about money. The military-industrial complex does not keep us safe and foreign aid to potentially antagonistic nations is not the only part of the defense budget that needs to be cut. Please take a look at Sen. Coburn’s report. Here is just one example…the military brewmaster…don’t we have enough civilian breweries, does the Army really need it’s own?
    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/blogs/99bottles/2011/05/us_army_looking_for_a_brewmast.html

    ReplyReply
  11. Poppa_T
    now you have chosen the tidbit of the expanses,
    I know another one also to justify your words, that’s what I heard from our military,
    there are many cars in afghanistan used and left there on a space but the military some would like to use them and are not allowed to, they are thousands of cars in used good shape to stand there not to be touch, a waste yes, and from the top command not the actives soldiers,
    but like a GENERAL SAID YESTERDAY THE CUT IS CUTTING IN THE POWER OF THE TROOPS AND NEXT PART IS TAKING IT COMPLETELY OUT, THAT’S HOW RADICAL IT IS,
    SO IN ALL THINKING IT WAS BETTER TO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING ON THE MILITARY SIDE
    WHICH DEMAND TO MUCH TO PAY AT THE END AND CUT ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, CUT ON GOVERNMENT UNIONS EMPLOYED WITH TOP NOTCH PAY YOU DON’T GET IN THE WORKING PLACE
    CUT ON THE ELECTED PAY AND EXPANSES BEING OVER ABUSED BECAUSE IT’S FREE FOR THEM ,
    CUT THE MOST ON THOSE WHITE HOUSE SPENDING IRRATICLY,
    THEN THE PEOPLE WILL SEE GOODWILL OF GOVERNMENT BEING SERIOUS OF CUTTING
    THEN THE PEOPLE WILL BE WILLING FREELY TO HELP,
    NOT YET HAPPENING
    BYE

    ReplyReply
  12. Smorgasbord says: 12

    @Poppa_T: #6

    …we MUST stop trying to police the World or this Nation is doomed to follow Rome down the road of collapse.

    Most people who study ancient Rome say it fell from within. It had conquered all the area around them, and they got hooked on self pleasure. This is one of the tricks used to overthrow countries: Get people hooked on pleasing themselves, and promise them more pleasures.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Switch to our mobile site