[Romney] wants to sharply boost the defense budget — even though the United States has withdrawn troops from Iraq and is winding down its mission in Afghanistan.
His plan, says Cato Institute analyst Christopher Preble, would mean nearly $2.6 trillion in additional defense outlays over the next decade — making it 45 percent higher (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than it was under President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War. A defense buildup of that magnitude is politically unrealistic and financially unaffordable.
So writes columnist Stephen Chapman in today’s Chicago Tribune.
Meanwhile, many conservatives – especially those who identify with so-called neo-conservatives – have been savaging Obama over proposed defense spending cuts when, as is so often the case in Washington, the “cuts” are really slowdowns in projected spending increases and not actually cuts.
Earlier this year none other than prominent Texas conservative and former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey bucked other conservative critics of Obama’s supposed defense cuts to tell the truth.
A top news story of the day is that President Barack Obama is supposedly cutting almost half a trillion dollars from the defense budget. But this is simply not true,” Armey wrote.
“President Obama is not cutting a single dime out of the military budget. He is actually substantially increasing military spending over the next several years. Washington has once again cleverly disguised a spending increase as a ‘cut.’
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The nation was filled with talk of a “peace dividend” that would result because the US and other governments would no longer need to siphon money and physical resources from us to run the huge militaries that kept the Soviets at bay. Instead, military spending has grown.
The whole reason for the existence of NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was to erect a military bulwark against the Soviets. Instead of shrinking or dissolving NATO in the absence of its reason for existence, NATO’s budget and territory have mushroomed. The US is the main cog in the NATO machinery.
Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives have supported these continued expansions of the US and NATO militaries.
I wonder how many of them remember the Soviet Union collapsed because of the weight of its military spending and adventurism? And of those who remember, do any of them worry it could happen to us?