Fight the Right War!

With Russian intervention in the Ukraine in the news, it’s easy to focus only on military affairs.

The U.S. military sees a need for a massive global presence. Its budgets depend on finding enemies. If not Afghanistan, then China or the old standby, Russia.

“Within the national security community in DC, it’s really all China, China, China,” notes the Center for Strategic and International Studies defence budget expert Todd Harrison.

Lawmakers added $25 billion to President Biden’s budget to counter what it sees as this China threat: it added $2 billion to the Pacific Deterrence Initiative for example. It added $4.7-billion to counter China’s sea-power and more than $3.5 billion for extra military base construction. Congress also added $5.7 billion beyond Biden’s ask for expand the military’s R&D pot to $117.7 billion.

Yet note the difference: China is actually spending on general R&D, and the U.S. is spending on defence. China is going down a freeway, while the U.S. is going down a single-lane road. Which approach is going to be the most fruitful for their respective economies and societies?

The U.S. is spending more on its military (over $8-trillion in the coming decade) than it is on the Infrastructure Plan, the COVID stimulus package and the Reconciliation Bill put together ($4.5-trillion)!

The odds are good that if the U.S. invested in education, technology, and supply-chain security it would protect Americans much more from 21st century conflict than a new suit of armour.

This view is not mine alone, but it is said that $100-billion could easily be taken from ‘defence’, and invested instead in the development of space resources, education, research, strategic supply chains, and next-stage manufacturing. A trillion could be saved in the next decade, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Instead, this money is going to defence contractors. They spend about $100-million lobbying Congress each year, not counting the tens of millions spent in military ‘think-tanks’. Some half-million people work for defence contractors. And defence spending, as it is capital-intensive, pays for fewer jobs than other economic projects. Like, for example, cutting the kids free from educational debt and sponsoring their skills development.

Overall, the U.S. military is currently operating 800 base installations in 80 countries. And this money is not going just to Americans. At the height of the Iraq war, half of all US personnel were mercenaries! Just how many died? While it is hard to tell, we know that under Obama, more private military contractors died in both Iraq and Afghanistan than all the US troops deployed in those countries.

And while half of all American spending goes to its military, half the U.S. population lives just $400 away from bankruptcy.

It is hard to get Americans to step out of their skin and to see this, as the U.S. was born as an Imperial power. It started off by dispossessing Native Americans, then seized a third of Mexico in 1840, grabbed the bulk of Spain’s overseas empire thereafter, sailed blithely into Japan and fired on the people until the country ‘opened up’, caused the death of 775,000 Filipinos at the turn of the century, and sent troops abroad to fight 211 times in 67 countries since WWII alone. Needless to say, only those colonies with white settlers could hope for statehood.

In fact, America has been at war for 93% of its history — 222 Out of 239 Years — since 1776.

This has to be a record; I can’t think of any other country with this level of aggression.

The U.S. has less reason to fear military aggression from Russia in the Ukraine, or from China in Asia, than these countries have to fear the U.S.

Instead, the U.S. should pay attention to the area it is really losing: the trade war.

Think of how the U.S. can win. When it fought in Vietnam, the military lost the war, 58,000 American lives, and threw away trillions of dollars. With peace, the U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest single trading partner, with a goods and services trade of some $100-billion/year.

The U.S. military has now lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. For this next round, it is time to call on America’s winners — its business-people. Trade wins over turmoil every time!

So forget the military budget; forget the ‘threats’ that the military sees in China, the Ukraine, and Upper Rubber Boot. Turn off the tap to the military, which excels at losing!

And turn to America’s winners — the entrepreneurs who are among the best in the world! And when they win, the world wins!

Including America.

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Barry Gander

Barry Gander

3.6K Followers

A Canadian from Connecticut, so two strikes against me! I love history and science, & I am a top political, technology, history and economic writer on MEDIUM.