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The CIA World Factbook has finally updated its defense spending as a % of GDP stats. The CIA used to update it’s table regularly but then it just stopped for many years. In 2012, for example, the CIA informed us that it estimated that US defense spending in 2005 comprised 4.06% of GDP. Sharp work, guys.

The US as of fiscal year 2016 is down to 3.3% of GDP, less than half the 6.8% rate in the mid-1980s.

Russia was up to 5.4% in 2016, almost equal with Israel’s 5.6%. Saudi Arabia spends 9.9%.

Pakistan spends 3.6%, India 2.5%.

South Korea is only 2.3%. North Korea isn’t listed.

That’s pretty striking.

Others: Iran 2.7%, Estonia 2.2%, China 1.9%, Poland 2.0%, Turkey 1.7%, Ukraine 3.5%, Latvia 1.5%, Finland 1.3%. Georgia, which set off a war with Russia in 2008, is down to 2.2%.

Ethiopia, which used to fight wars with Eritrea, is at 0.7%. Eritrea isn’t listed.

I’d say there look like there are some potential places where local governments are thinking seriously about war with their neighbors, but not too many.

Here are some selected countries:

RANK COUNTRY (% OF GDP) DATE OF INFORMATION
1 OMAN 13.73 2016
2 SOUTH SUDAN 10.93 2015
3 SAUDI ARABIA 9.85 2016
4 CONGO, REPUBLIC OF THE 7.17 2016
5 ALGERIA 6.55 2016
6 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 5.66 2014
7 ISRAEL 5.64 2016
8 RUSSIA 5.40 2016
9 KUWAIT 4.83 2015
14 ARMENIA 4.09 2016
16 YEMEN 3.97 2014
17 AZERBAIJAN 3.64 2016
18 IRAQ 3.63 2016
19 PAKISTAN 3.56 2016
21 UKRAINE 3.50 2017
24 SINGAPORE 3.35 2016
25 UNITED STATES 3.29 2016
32 IRAN 2.69 2015
35 GREECE 2.56 2016
37 INDIA 2.47 2016
38 VIETNAM 2.44 2016
41 KOREA, SOUTH 2.30 2016
42 FRANCE 2.26 2016
43 GEORGIA 2.23 2016
46 UNITED KINGDOM 2.20 2016
47 ESTONIA 2.17 2016
48 AUSTRALIA 2.00 2016
49 POLAND 1.99 2016
50 CHINA 1.90 2016
61 TURKEY 1.73 2016
63 EGYPT 1.67 2016
71 EUROPEAN UNION 1.52 2016
75 LITHUANIA 1.49 2016
77 LATVIA 1.47 2016
85 SERBIA 1.34 2017 EST.
87 FINLAND 1.33 2017 EST.
90 PHILIPPINES 1.28 2016
91 CROATIA 1.27 2017
96 BELARUS 1.20 2016
97 TAJIKISTAN 1.19 2017
98 GERMANY 1.19 2016 EST.
110 SWEDEN 1.04 2016
115 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 0.99 2016
119 JAPAN 0.93 2016
120 MONGOLIA 0.92 2016
124 AFGHANISTAN 0.89 2016
125 INDONESIA 0.88 2016
129 KAZAKHSTAN 0.82 2016
131 KOSOVO 0.79 2016
134 ETHIOPIA 0.67 2016
141 MEXICO 0.58 2016
145 MOLDOVA 0.44 2016
153 ICELAND 0.10 2016
 
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  1. Wouldn’t it be sad if big spenders like Oman still lost their wars?

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  2. Sweden has been talking about increasing military spending and reintroducing the draft. Hopeless cucks want us to join NATO, surely a great idea at this point. Motivation: Muh Russia, in case you wonder why.

    I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of ’16 year olds’ that appeared a couple of years back in this respect. They are of the right age, after all. Pro: Many may already have practical military experience, so less training required, right?

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    • LOL: bomag
    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    "I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of ’16 year olds’ that appeared a couple of years back in this respect."
     
    Pretty much like the DI in Full Metal Jacket handled Pvt. Pyle in the latrine.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqvCA4c80GQ
    , @James Bowery
    Here's a meme:

    Putin's agents in the Swedish government are responsible for Sweden's immigration insanity. The object is to so demoralize the young men of Sweden that all Putin has to do to win a military victory is promise moderate immigration policy and then invade. The Swedish military grunts will lose "on accident".
    , @songbird
    Many probably couldn't make the cut. Denmark wouldn't release its IQ statistics for different ethnic groups, for people trying to join the armed services. I don't know how many stats Sweden collects, but they can't be good. If they were good, they'd surely release them.
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  3. I’d put the U.S. on the top of the list as the country most likely to start WWIII because we’re the only one who really can do force projection. The Russians and Chinese can’t at this time since it’s very costly to do.

    That said our AF and Navy are in bad shape. The AF is chronically short of pilots and can’t give them the seat time they need to maintain proficiency and lack skilled maintainers for their aircraft. The Navy is also hurting in terms of fielding carrier based fighters and also lack skilled maintainers.

    The Army is in need of a hundred billion retrofit in terms of equipment to replace all the vehicles we ran into the ground in the ME. Oh yeah that downsizing the Army did cost them their most seasoned warfighters. The retrofit was never done and needs to be done. It will take years to re equip the Army.

    Yeah we spend a lot of money on defense but lately most has gone to two very expensive and useless weapons systems for the AF. The F-22 and F-35. The latter is a trillion dollar program.

    Had both been scrapped things would be different.

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    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Neoconned
    We've actually spiked military spending under Obama.

    And yet we reduced the amount of actual soldiers, sailors etc

    So where did all the excess money go? Defense contractor corporate welfare, where else?
    , @KenH
    The military is simply running out of red blooded white males who've made the U.S. military the most formidable in the world. This is how the American empire ends.
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  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    These formulation of these two paragraphs struck me for some reason:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/opinion/populist-germany-afd-europe.html

    On Jan. 27, for example, when the Bundestag commemorated the day of the liberation of Auschwitz, the 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch spoke to the representatives. The AfD duly applauded. But when she praised the accommodation of refugees as an “incredibly generous, brave and humane gesture,” the ranks of the AfD remained silent.

    That may seem a small, depreciating gesture — Germany’s political culture would have demanded at least modest applause. But it has a larger context. The breach comes from a party that counts Björn Höcke in its ranks, a man who called for a “180-degree turn” in Germany’s memorial culture. The AfD’s Bundestag delegation is led by Alexander Gauland, who has praised the “achievements” of Nazi Germany’s soldiers during World War II. This gesture of disrespect is part of the fundamental opposition to the idea that German history still serves as a guiding principle for German policymaking. And its supporters know that.

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    • Replies: @J.Ross
    It's the "virulent" principle -- if anyone "in your ranks" (no matter in what position) is, to any degree, any sort of a Nazi, then the whole organization might as well be the Totenkopf-SS.
    That's actully downright Talmudic when you consider that the same people who believe that also believe they can declare anyone to be a Nazi on any grounds. Lazy goyishe kopp that I have says, hey, why do it the more complicated way?
    , @Autochthon
    Soliders and sailors don't dictate policy or initiate wars. Politicians do. (And – excluding insignificant whackos in backwater shit-holes, like Fidel Castro or Idi Amin – its been a long time since the two were the same; Napoleon comes to mind....)

    "The achievements* of Nazi Germany’s soldiers during World War II" were nonpareil; not since the days of Napoleon did a single nation come so close to conquering the entirety of Europe, and the innovations (never mind sheer courage and tenacity) which made this possible – modern combined arms; the Blitzkrieg; an astoundingly successful submarine fleet defeated only via the other fellow's clever cryptography, not his naval superiourity; rocketry, etc. – are to be admired and studied by any serious student of military science.

    That these men served during the National Socialist regime in a war of aggression is irrelevant and immaterial to their achievements. One had might as well deride America's forces as "Democratic socialist" soldiers because they served during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, or dismiss and insult Americans who fought in Viet Nam, Korea, and Iraq (similarly invading foreign lands who neither threatened, attacked, nor otherwise provoked America). Does the Red Army, who, more than any other, won the war in the European theatre, deserve no praise on account of Stalin's being every bit as much a murderous totalitarian as Hitler? Of course not.

    Mr. Gauland is absolutely right to praise the achievements of the German soldiers and sailors who fought in the Second World War, and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts none of his detractors is a combat veteran. Not one.

    *The smart-assed internal quotation-marks around the work achievements I duly noted and removed; this now rampant practice of quotations not to indicate the verbatim words of another, but to highlight the writer's own disdain for some word, be it an actual quotation or not, is puerile and tiresome.
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  5. Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/972128749448818688

    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/972490681699786752
    , @Dave Pinsen
    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/973644569689706498
    , @BB753
    Chinese people aren't much into negrophilia. Good for them.
    , @res
    I look forward to the articles complaining about African American audiences not being enthusiastic enough about Chinese cinema. Obviously not holding my breath.
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  6. I wonder if the high percentage figures for Oman, South Sudan and Republic of the Congo reflect not just a state of chronic internal war in these countries, but also tells us that these are tribal societies in which the defense budget is a giant welfare scheme that provides salaried jobs to large numbers of kinsmen and traditional warriors in such societies.

    Or maybe both those are just the same thing.

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    • Replies: @EdwardM
    Oman is a very peaceful place -- no chronic war, internal or otherwise, there. But your other hypothesis could be true. In the small, rich GCC countries (Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain) the police and armed forces are actually comprised of lots of non-citizens -- e.g., Pakis and Sudanese who have been in the country a long time and in some cases were born there, but are not citizens. (Are there any other countries, er, other than the U.S., with a large number of non-citizens in the armed forces?)

    I wonder if Oman is the same? It's not nearly as rich as those other countries, and Omanis are the only ones in this group that actually work in lower-level jobs (e.g., hotel desk clerk, taxi driver) in significant numbers, so maybe they would be willing to serve as grunts in the armed forces unlike Qataris, Kuwaitis, etc.
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  7. @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/973582507273850880

    https://twitter.com/qz/status/973418486415360000

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    Hang on ... for some reason, I can't make out his facial features ... in fact his armor inexplicably hides the entire body. And no other actors around either. Oh, what rotten luck that they chose this shot as the movie poster.
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  8. @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/973582507273850880

    https://twitter.com/qz/status/973418486415360000

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  9. @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/973582507273850880

    https://twitter.com/qz/status/973418486415360000

    Chinese people aren’t much into negrophilia. Good for them.

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    • Replies: @Lin
    "Chinese people aren’t much into negrophilia. Good for them..."
    You're a bit misinformed:
    Chinese prefer females with fair skin, many centuries before coming in contact with Europeans.
    But males with fair skin is a bad mime, akin to being sissy if not fagotry. The most prominent martial hero Guan-yu is said to have a red or dark complexion.
    We Chinese have our Black Panther: The first hero in Chinese martial art fiction actually was a black man(sadly also once a slave), dated back to the Tang dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunlun_Nu
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  10. Do the U.S. figures just include our defense budget, or the additional money we spend wars in Afghanistan, etc.?

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we’ve had pundits inflating Russia’s troll farm election ads into a “virtual war” on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia’s side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we’ve had pundits inflating Russia’s troll farm election ads into a “virtual war” on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia’s side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.
     
    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people. Even decades ago they had developed poisons which are undetectable or mimic natural death (radioactive thallium micro pellets, hydrocyanic spray, etc.). They are easy to store and use and cause certain death. Clearly the intent in this poisoning, which didn’t even cause death, was to link the nerve agent with Russia. Neocon warmongers and operatives are not too creative and use the same trick to move public opinion toward war. Iraq, Libya, Syria,...

    We’re in a very dangerous place right now. All of the left and media at unhinged Russophobic levels and many neocon hawks still want war with Russia and its ally Iran. Here’s some sobering analysis yesterday from a former West Point instructor and renowned military analyst who was a top official at the Defense Intelligence Agency. And who has a so-good-it’s-almost-spooky track record of being correct. Col. Patrick Lang:


    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/looks-like-mattis-is-the-grown-up-in-the-room.html

    Looks like Mattis is the grown up in the room

    This is a very young Mike Pompeo when he was a first year cadet at West Point in 1983. He concentrated his study there in Mechanical Engineering and graduated first in his class. By the time he graduated the war in VN was over. He served just enough time to repay his service debt to the army, then resigned his commission to go to law school. So, he never served in combat. War is an abstraction to him. In other words, this is probably a game for Pompeo, a power game played on a global map board.
    DJT in announcing Pompeo's nomination to the WH lawn press corps stressed that he and Pompeo had "great chemistry" and that they share the same view of the world. In other words, Pompeo never disagrees with Trump. Pompeo is well known for his hard line anti-Iranian views and his unshakable sympathy for Israel. DJT professes the same views.
    At the UN Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp. Both are near Damascus. These two places are mainly defended by jihadis, the largest group of which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, the Al-Qa'ida branch in Syria. You remember Al Qa'ida. They were the people who attacked us on 9/11. Her threat is for retaliation for use of chemical weapons (chlorine)or just plain old "inhuman suffering" inflicted on the "Syrian People." This does not seem an idle threat given the number of times she has repeated it. Someone is telling her to say this. She works for State and it probably is not Tillerson telling her to do this so my guess would be David Satterfield, the Assistant secretary of State for the Near East. He is someone who now runs with the wolves. That is how he got the job.
    At the same time Russia has made it clear that they will fight to protect their ally and interests in Syria. They have been quite plain spoken about that and they included both US aircraft and ships in the threat. I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
    I think that Pompeo's nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. IMO Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August, 1914 moment. pl

     

    , @dfordoom

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago.
     
    It's starting to feel a lot like 1914, with the growing assumption (in the U.S. at least) that war is inevitable so let's go for it.

    And it's unfortunately obvious that many powerful and influential people in the U.S. really aren't bothered at all about the risk of a nuclear war. Again it's a lot like 1914 - war being treated like a wonderful chance for fun, adventure and of course profit.
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  11. Oman is interesting. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said is the hereditary leader of Oman since 1970, the longest-serving ruler in the ME. There’s a rumor that he’s gay, but nevertheless a very effective leader and relatively pro-West. Nobody talks about him much, thankfully.

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    • Replies: @another fred
    I gave a short talk at Sultan Qaboos University one time and accidentally (unknowingly) offended a Prince by contradicting him in the Q and A.

    Oddly, I was never invited back.

    , @Steve Sailer
    The Sultan of Oman is a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.
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  12. @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/972128749448818688

    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/972490681699786752

    Hang on … for some reason, I can’t make out his facial features … in fact his armor inexplicably hides the entire body. And no other actors around either. Oh, what rotten luck that they chose this shot as the movie poster.

    Read More
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  13. I don’t buy this methodology (defense spending as % of GDP as a proxy for whether a nation is preparing for war or not.)

    First, it doesn’t account for black budgets.

    Second, the numbers in the chart above don’t correspond very well to whether a nation is actually at war. So why would they correspond to whether it’s getting ready for war? I mean, the numbers for the Congo, Algeria, Israel and Kuwait (not at war) are higher than those for Yemen, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan (in the middle of a war.) The US, with troops involved in something like six ongoing wars and controlling the global sea routes with its Navy, has lower spending than Russia, which is involved in three wars.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    "The US, with troops involved in something like six ongoing wars and controlling the global sea routes with its Navy, has lower spending than Russia, which is involved in three wars."

    It's spending as a percentage of GDP - the US GDP is way higher than Russia's, so they spend much more in cash terms. Congo has a very small GDP.

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff. Congo, Algeria and Kuwait aren't developing aircraft, drones, missiles, chem/bio, nukes, cyber.
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  14. The defense budgets of nos. 3, 7, 9, 18, and 41 are actually part of no. 25.

    Does no. 2, South Sudan, even have a GDP?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    South Sudan pumps oil. Oil output plus an estimate of the dollar value of subsistence agriculture for the population ought to give you a pretty reasonable GDP estimate.

    In general, a lot of countries have oil or gas resources these days. It's not like in the 1970s when only a few handfuls of countries had significant energy resources.

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  15. @Pericles
    Sweden has been talking about increasing military spending and reintroducing the draft. Hopeless cucks want us to join NATO, surely a great idea at this point. Motivation: Muh Russia, in case you wonder why.

    I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of '16 year olds' that appeared a couple of years back in this respect. They are of the right age, after all. Pro: Many may already have practical military experience, so less training required, right?

    “I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of ’16 year olds’ that appeared a couple of years back in this respect.”

    Pretty much like the DI in Full Metal Jacket handled Pvt. Pyle in the latrine.

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  16. @E. Rekshun
    The defense budgets of nos. 3, 7, 9, 18, and 41 are actually part of no. 25.

    Does no. 2, South Sudan, even have a GDP?

    South Sudan pumps oil. Oil output plus an estimate of the dollar value of subsistence agriculture for the population ought to give you a pretty reasonable GDP estimate.

    In general, a lot of countries have oil or gas resources these days. It’s not like in the 1970s when only a few handfuls of countries had significant energy resources.

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    • Agree: E. Rekshun
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  17. Using GDP to normalize the figures is clever, but it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia, and depending whose list you use, Russia trails India and KSA, but they’re the biggest “threat.”

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    • Replies: @Silva
    *Obviously* Russia is more threatening; if India were actually united, it might matter more, but if you gave China's income to the Saudis, they'd still be worthless.
    , @snorlax
    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren't pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia
     
    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with "201"), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.
    , @NickG
    US military expenditure famously exceeds that of the next 20 countries combined.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Russia trails India and KSA, but they’re the biggest “threat.”
     
    India, and KSA, aren't murdering people in England (at least none that we know of). OTOH none of the 9/11 perps were from Russia or India.

    We could get Russia to persuade Iran to nuke KSA while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits - and by a wide margin.

    We could persuade Israel to nuke Iran while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits - and by a wide margin.

    Most things are neither simple nor easy when it comes to geopolitics. (and yes, there is a similar argument for Israel - but the result is the same)

    Being the global cop on the beat is a dirty job, and the somebody will be us or the Chinese. I wouldn't mind it, but the idiots in charge are indirectly controlled by leftists.

    Now, if we could get all the leftist together in some country other than the USA, I'd vote to nuke that country - unintended consequences be damned!

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  18. @The Alarmist
    Using GDP to normalize the figures is clever, but it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia, and depending whose list you use, Russia trails India and KSA, but they're the biggest "threat."

    *Obviously* Russia is more threatening; if India were actually united, it might matter more, but if you gave China’s income to the Saudis, they’d still be worthless.

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  19. @BaruchKogan
    I don't buy this methodology (defense spending as % of GDP as a proxy for whether a nation is preparing for war or not.)

    First, it doesn't account for black budgets.

    Second, the numbers in the chart above don't correspond very well to whether a nation is actually at war. So why would they correspond to whether it's getting ready for war? I mean, the numbers for the Congo, Algeria, Israel and Kuwait (not at war) are higher than those for Yemen, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan (in the middle of a war.) The US, with troops involved in something like six ongoing wars and controlling the global sea routes with its Navy, has lower spending than Russia, which is involved in three wars.

    “The US, with troops involved in something like six ongoing wars and controlling the global sea routes with its Navy, has lower spending than Russia, which is involved in three wars.”

    It’s spending as a percentage of GDP – the US GDP is way higher than Russia’s, so they spend much more in cash terms. Congo has a very small GDP.

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff. Congo, Algeria and Kuwait aren’t developing aircraft, drones, missiles, chem/bio, nukes, cyber.

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    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff.
     
    The real reason is that it is surrounded by sworn enemies numbering in the hundreds of millions, and is 9 miles wide at its narrowest point. The reality is that man has been hunting man for recreation, money and everlasting fame for thousands of years. How many wealthy people from antiquity has anyone heard of? How many kings even? If not for his conquest of Troy, would Agamemnon's name be known outside of the minds of area historians?
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  20. Interesting they have our spending over two percent. The various lobbies like to portray British defence spending as being slashed. Of course it should be, given our geography it should be closer to the European average. What is noticeable is how low the Baltic States are, obviously not execting that Russian invasion any day soon.

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  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Do the U.S. figures just include our defense budget, or the additional money we spend wars in Afghanistan, etc.?

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we've had pundits inflating Russia's troll farm election ads into a "virtual war" on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia's side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we’ve had pundits inflating Russia’s troll farm election ads into a “virtual war” on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia’s side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.

    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people. Even decades ago they had developed poisons which are undetectable or mimic natural death (radioactive thallium micro pellets, hydrocyanic spray, etc.). They are easy to store and use and cause certain death. Clearly the intent in this poisoning, which didn’t even cause death, was to link the nerve agent with Russia. Neocon warmongers and operatives are not too creative and use the same trick to move public opinion toward war. Iraq, Libya, Syria,…

    We’re in a very dangerous place right now. All of the left and media at unhinged Russophobic levels and many neocon hawks still want war with Russia and its ally Iran. Here’s some sobering analysis yesterday from a former West Point instructor and renowned military analyst who was a top official at the Defense Intelligence Agency. And who has a so-good-it’s-almost-spooky track record of being correct. Col. Patrick Lang:

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/looks-like-mattis-is-the-grown-up-in-the-room.html

    Looks like Mattis is the grown up in the room

    This is a very young Mike Pompeo when he was a first year cadet at West Point in 1983. He concentrated his study there in Mechanical Engineering and graduated first in his class. By the time he graduated the war in VN was over. He served just enough time to repay his service debt to the army, then resigned his commission to go to law school. So, he never served in combat. War is an abstraction to him. In other words, this is probably a game for Pompeo, a power game played on a global map board.
    DJT in announcing Pompeo’s nomination to the WH lawn press corps stressed that he and Pompeo had “great chemistry” and that they share the same view of the world. In other words, Pompeo never disagrees with Trump. Pompeo is well known for his hard line anti-Iranian views and his unshakable sympathy for Israel. DJT professes the same views.
    At the UN Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp. Both are near Damascus. These two places are mainly defended by jihadis, the largest group of which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, the Al-Qa’ida branch in Syria. You remember Al Qa’ida. They were the people who attacked us on 9/11. Her threat is for retaliation for use of chemical weapons (chlorine)or just plain old “inhuman suffering” inflicted on the “Syrian People.” This does not seem an idle threat given the number of times she has repeated it. Someone is telling her to say this. She works for State and it probably is not Tillerson telling her to do this so my guess would be David Satterfield, the Assistant secretary of State for the Near East. He is someone who now runs with the wolves. That is how he got the job.
    At the same time Russia has made it clear that they will fight to protect their ally and interests in Syria. They have been quite plain spoken about that and they included both US aircraft and ships in the threat. I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
    I think that Pompeo’s nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. IMO Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August, 1914 moment. pl

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    • Replies: @Bill

    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people.
     
    Yes. that's the conundrum to reason through. Does it mean it was a false flag (as you are implying), or does it mean Putin is flipping off and warning the Euroweenies? Or maybe the more enthusiastic sort of Russian is getting tired of Putin's statesmanlike behavior and wants to provoke action.
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  22. @The Alarmist
    Using GDP to normalize the figures is clever, but it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia, and depending whose list you use, Russia trails India and KSA, but they're the biggest "threat."

    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren’t pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia

    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with “201″), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    3x was, IIRC, approximately the standard US-Soviet military spending ratio.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I thought the US and Russian Arsenal’s were re-aimed at the oceans years ago.
    , @snorlax
    I'm not sure that I'd give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that's spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don't seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for "human rights," "international law" or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.

    America's biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we're orders of magnitude less corrupt than China, where (presumably) much of the money earmarked for the military (and in general, even in private business) simply disappears, and the bulk of the officers bought their positions or obtained them through gross nepotism, and by extension know nothing about their jobs which they may not even show up to.

    But we partially offset those advantages with our military's famous efficiency (the money doesn't disappear, it just goes to impeccably-audited purchase orders for $30 chewing gum) and our many, many affirmative action, grrl power, political hack (e.g. that award-winning USAFA guy) or simply incompetent (it always takes a "real" war against a peer opponent to weed them out) officers.
    , @myself
    It doesn't seem threatening to me, just my opinion.

    You have us spending 3.3% of our GDP, whereas China spends 1.9% of their GDP. In layman's terms, we are considerably more militarized and war-focused, as a country, than is China.

    I'm coming from the perspective that all nations have the right to have militaries within their budget. China is within their budget, as are we, and so is Russia with their 5.4% of GDP.

    Doesn't mean anyone's about to start something. I say, if America has the right of defense, so does everyone else. Hell, China could up their percent of GDP spending to our level, 3.3%, and I still don't think it would be beyond the norm, or an actual threat.

    Now, invasions, dropping bombs, paramilitary activity, regime change, state-sponsored terror - THOSE are objectively very threatening. China don't play that way, far as I can tell.
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  23. @snorlax
    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren't pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia
     
    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with "201"), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.

    3x was, IIRC, approximately the standard US-Soviet military spending ratio.

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    • Replies: @myself
    Well, yes in Exchange Rate terms, sure.

    But let's talk REAL spending and resource allocation to the military. Henceforth, the figures I'm going to throw out are based on "real output", regardless of market exchange rates (which can fluctuate irrationally).

    In real terms - as in actual resources, man-hours value, technological real value and so forth that was devoted by both superpowers to military spending.

    The United States, in very rough terms, was spending (in the late '80s) about ~7% of our GDP (PPP or REAL) on defense. We're talking full-on Cold War Reagan Era spending. 7+% a year.

    In order to keep up, and with the Soviet economy only HALF the size of ours, the Soviet Union essentially tanked long-term growth prospects by devoting something like 14-15% of their smaller GDP to the military.

    (I think the Soviet economy peaked at about 62% the size of the U.S. economy in or about the end of WW2, 1945, then kept pace, then gradually fell back down to 50% by the 1980s. (Side note, the average Soviet per capita GDP in this era was around half the Western European norm, but skewed by a distinct lack of consumer goods).

    If you work the numbers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were in rough parity throughout the crucial Reagan years, as in 1:1, until the USSR collapsed in 1991. So the USSR was something to take very seriously as a military power.

    I don't think it was ever as low as the USSR spending only 1/3 of the US total. OTOH, the Soviet economy also never approached, much less exceeded the size of America's. So the strain on them was commensurate.
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  24. Oman’s military mostly keeps Yemenis out of the South. They also deter Saudi Arabia, which has historical claims to quite a bit of Omani territory. There’s surely a welfare component involved although Omanis aren’t close to being as averse to working as Saudis.

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  25. The idea that governments would deliberately crank up armaments spending well in advance of planned hostilities invokes an element of rationality in these affairs which I think is being far too generously conceded. Of all the major nations in the world today, it is possibly only China and Russia that possess the degree of internal organization necessary to put such plans into effect. And even so, China still has its immense shadow banking system and refractory tycoons, and Russia its oligarchs. Most countries couldn’t even tolerate the idea of the entire nation being “in form” for this one particular end. The USA certainly could not.

    But the world is marching visibly closer to major war with each passing day. Defense spending may not tell the tale, but diplomacy certainly does. Russia, in a last bid to warn the West to cease further provocation, has just demonstrated the viability of her new hypersonic missiles. And what does the West do in response? Britain has expelled Russian diplomats, escalating a fracas precipitated over the false-flag poisoning of a double agent. The make-believe nation of Ukraine has just been awarded special status within NATO. This may be called blundering into war with all the subtlety of a drunken elephant.

    And to crown all, Rex Tillerson is out at State Department. Not that I cared for Tillerson; but his replacement, Mike Pompeo, is a globalist stooge with a resume that comes directly from Neocon central casting. This is so far the foulest and ugliest swamp creature to be so elevated by drain-the-swamp Trump, and his coming at the worst possible time precludes any further mention of eleventy-D chess. Whatever may have happened—whether Trump was lying all along, or had a change of heart, or is merely puddy in the hands of Deep State wormtongues—it is clear he is no longer our guy.

    It is also clear that the United States will be completely destroyed by war irrespective of what happens on the battlefield. We are a deeply indebted, entitlement-ridden and fractured society of geriatric Baby Boomers, Special Snowflakes, and sullen Third World hordes. All the arrangements on which our daily lives depend, from the just-in-time delivery of cheap Chinese crap to the multi-trillion dollar transfer payments to the unproductive, will collapse under the pressure of general mobilization. Not that anyone will recognize the obvious inevitability of these developments; violent, bumbling mobs will continue to demand their gibs in a world which no longer has a place for them.

    The final countdown has started. Another global war is inevitable, this one fated to destroy the last vestiges of Western legitimacy and power. Our many decades of waste and foolishness are bearing their fruit. It’s too late to stop it now.

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    • Replies: @El Dato

    The final countdown has started. Another global war is inevitable, this one fated to destroy the last vestiges of Western legitimacy and power. Our many decades of waste and foolishness are bearing their fruit. It’s too late to stop it now.
     
    I wouldn't go that far, but it doesn't look good indeed.

    There may be more to worry about than Pussy Grabbing in a short while.

    https://youtu.be/FTupV8o3mW4?t=2072

    Note that the Cretinous May has actually literally ratcheted up the problem: Even if evidence now comes out that Russia is not involved in gassing the guest of the UK, she WON'T BE ABLE TO BACK DOWN NOW: admitting to Russia's non-involvement would be political suicide. She has gone full in - something that no serious politician would ever do.
    , @MBlanc46
    There can never be a general mobilization in the US. That would entail the drafting of women, which will never happen.
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  26. Suprising that the USA can run a World Police Force for only 3.29%, that’s a bargain.

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  27. How much of the percentage of USA GDP does the CIA say the CIA’s own budget is?

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  28. @The Alarmist
    Using GDP to normalize the figures is clever, but it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia, and depending whose list you use, Russia trails India and KSA, but they're the biggest "threat."

    US military expenditure famously exceeds that of the next 20 countries combined.

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  29. @Pericles
    Sweden has been talking about increasing military spending and reintroducing the draft. Hopeless cucks want us to join NATO, surely a great idea at this point. Motivation: Muh Russia, in case you wonder why.

    I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of '16 year olds' that appeared a couple of years back in this respect. They are of the right age, after all. Pro: Many may already have practical military experience, so less training required, right?

    Here’s a meme:

    Putin’s agents in the Swedish government are responsible for Sweden’s immigration insanity. The object is to so demoralize the young men of Sweden that all Putin has to do to win a military victory is promise moderate immigration policy and then invade. The Swedish military grunts will lose “on accident”.

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  30. I don’t think the spending is as much in preparation for war as it is in trying to keep a lid on things so that disorder does not lead to war.

    It won’t work.

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  31. @Ghost of Bull Moose
    Oman is interesting. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said is the hereditary leader of Oman since 1970, the longest-serving ruler in the ME. There's a rumor that he's gay, but nevertheless a very effective leader and relatively pro-West. Nobody talks about him much, thankfully.

    I gave a short talk at Sultan Qaboos University one time and accidentally (unknowingly) offended a Prince by contradicting him in the Q and A.

    Oddly, I was never invited back.

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  32. Is the World Preparing for War?

    Nation-states are organized for war. The world is always preparing for war. The CIA government workers would have no jobs nor shady consultancy contracts without war or the threat of war.

    Where did the new CIA lady get her college degree? Where was she born? When did her people first get to colonial America or the United States? What was her view on the Iraq war?

    CIA has used corporate propaganda apparatus to cover her tracks. She is now political, not covert, spill the beans.

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  33. @snorlax
    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren't pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia
     
    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with "201"), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.

    I thought the US and Russian Arsenal’s were re-aimed at the oceans years ago.

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to that in (IIRC) '96, but Yeltsin reneged as retaliation for Kosovo. (One of many foreseeable reasons that was a colossal blunder). This past month Putin revealed a secret superweapon — deep-diving, high-speed autonomous submarines with "cobalt bomb" payloads, designed to generate on detonation radioactive tsunamis that would wipe out all life along the US coasts.

    While practically they don't mean much, they're a very disturbing break from the norm heretofore observed by America and the USSR/Russia, which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose (even if just eliminating the other side's delivery systems) and nuclear doctrines paid lip service to minimizing civilian casualties.

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of "complete genocide" as opposed to "destroy all military targets."
    , @Bill
    Aimed?
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  34. @snorlax
    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren't pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia
     
    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with "201"), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.

    I’m not sure that I’d give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that’s spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don’t seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for “human rights,” “international law” or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.

    America’s biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we’re orders of magnitude less corrupt than China, where (presumably) much of the money earmarked for the military (and in general, even in private business) simply disappears, and the bulk of the officers bought their positions or obtained them through gross nepotism, and by extension know nothing about their jobs which they may not even show up to.

    But we partially offset those advantages with our military’s famous efficiency (the money doesn’t disappear, it just goes to impeccably-audited purchase orders for $30 chewing gum) and our many, many affirmative action, grrl power, political hack (e.g. that award-winning USAFA guy) or simply incompetent (it always takes a “real” war against a peer opponent to weed them out) officers.

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    • Replies: @JMcG
    Are all those corrupt Chinese going to ruin their real estate investments in California for the greater glory of China?
    Yes, yes they are.
    , @The Alarmist

    "America’s biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we’re orders of magnitude less corrupt than China ...."
     
    Wow, that one made me spit out my cola. Maybe the Chinese are more brazen, but our politicos and lobbyists have perfected corruption to the degree that, unlike China, the little people have absolutely no way of getting their way when it competes with a larger donor.
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  35. Does the US defence budget include the cost of pensions, VA hospitals, and so on? I mean, it obviously ought to, but does it?

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    • Replies: @Whoever
    Take a look at Defense Budget Overview. Scroll down to Section 5, "Keeping Faith with Service Members and Families."

    https://i.imgur.com/LmMw1cn.png
    , @Carlton Meyer
    The USA spends twice as much as officially reported, using the "standard NATO definition." The GDP percentage should be twice as much in that graph. Yes, the CIA decieves. I noted those "threatened" Baltic nations don't even spend 2%.

    The info below is clearer at this link:

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2018/americas-national-security-budget-nearing-1-trillion.html?utm_source=straus-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=straus-1803&utm_content=read-more-link

    I pasted it here, jumbled:

    Total National Security Spending FY 2019

    (All Figures are $ billions; then-Year $)

    (Sources: Table 26-1 from Analytical Perspectives, Table 27-1 Federal Budget by Agency in 2019 OMB Budget, and Addendum to the President’s FY19 Budget to Account for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018)

    Note: Due to the ongoing budget process reliable information about FY 2018 expenditures was not available.

    National Security Program FY 2019 as Requested Comments
    DoD Base Budget (Discretionary) 617.1

    The "base" budget purportedly contains all routine, peacetime expenses; however, DOD and Congress have loaded tens of billions of such "base" spending into the Overseas Contingency Operations fund for declared wartime expenses. Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist said budget materials were published before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and that base spending would be $20 billion higher. See below.

    DoD Base Budget (Mandatory) 9 DOD often does not count this "mandatory" spending in its budget presentations to the public; however, being for military retirement and other DOD-only spending, it is as much a part of the DOD budget as military pay and acquisition.

    DoD Base Budget (Total) 626.1

    Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) 69 While budget materials initially proposed $89 billion for OCO this number was revised to $69 billion to reflect the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
    DoD Subtotal 695.1
    DOE/Nuclear 23.1 For nuclear weapons activities
    "Defense-Related Activities" 8.9
    National Defense Total 726.8 This is the OMB budget function "National Defense" (also known as "050") which is sometimes confused as Pentagon-only spending.
    Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DoD 5.5 This category shows funds paid by the Treasury for military retirement programs, minus interest and contributions from the DOD military personnel budget. The data for the amounts shown here are in functions 600, 900 and 950. As DOD-unique spending they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not by either DOD or OMB.
    DoD Retiree Health Care Fund Costs -6.1 These are net costs to the Treasury for this DOD health care program. See functions 550, 900, and 950. As DOD-unique spending, they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not either by DOD or OMB.
    Veterans Affairs (Total) 193.2
    International Affairs (Total) 41.8
    Homeland Security (Total) 51
    Shares of Interest on the Debt 123.5 Total On-Budget Federal Authorities is $4.6 trillion in fiscal year 2019. Total gross interest paid (outlays) on Treasury debt is $559 billion in fiscal year 2019. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals is 22.1 percent.
    National Defense (Total) 1,135.7 billion
    View PDF here.

    Photograph of Mandy Smithberger
    By: Mandy Smithberger, Director, CDI Straus Military Reform Project

    Mandy Smithberger is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Projec
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  36. How nice that Canada spends 0.99% of its GDP on defense, less than perpetually threatened Sweden. Thus we see how Canadians have funded their 30th best in the world healthcare system of which they’re so proud. Americans are paying for it.

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    • Replies: @Bill
    Moving to Canada would, indeed, be an attractive proposition if the entirety of Asia hadn't figured it out first.
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  37. @Dave Pinsen
    I thought the US and Russian Arsenal’s were re-aimed at the oceans years ago.

    Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to that in (IIRC) ’96, but Yeltsin reneged as retaliation for Kosovo. (One of many foreseeable reasons that was a colossal blunder). This past month Putin revealed a secret superweapon — deep-diving, high-speed autonomous submarines with “cobalt bomb” payloads, designed to generate on detonation radioactive tsunamis that would wipe out all life along the US coasts.

    While practically they don’t mean much, they’re a very disturbing break from the norm heretofore observed by America and the USSR/Russia, which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose (even if just eliminating the other side’s delivery systems) and nuclear doctrines paid lip service to minimizing civilian casualties.

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of “complete genocide” as opposed to “destroy all military targets.”

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    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    "... which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose ...."
     
    Counter-value targetting was always on the table ... it's one reason why MAD worked. Enhanced Radiation Weapons were in the inventory.
    , @Randal

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of “complete genocide” as opposed to “destroy all military targets.”
     
    All rather meaningless bearing in mind even the first SIOPs (in the early 1960s) planned for the use of 3,200 warheads, totalling 7847 megatons. Most cities and even large towns would have been hit by multiple weapons.

    The euphemistic lie of supposed counterforce targeting in such a situation is not to be respected as indicating some kind of moral superiority - quite the contrary, it is to be condemned for the cynical hypocrisy it is.
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  38. @Dave Pinsen
    Do the U.S. figures just include our defense budget, or the additional money we spend wars in Afghanistan, etc.?

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we've had pundits inflating Russia's troll farm election ads into a "virtual war" on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia's side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago.

    It’s starting to feel a lot like 1914, with the growing assumption (in the U.S. at least) that war is inevitable so let’s go for it.

    And it’s unfortunately obvious that many powerful and influential people in the U.S. really aren’t bothered at all about the risk of a nuclear war. Again it’s a lot like 1914 – war being treated like a wonderful chance for fun, adventure and of course profit.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  39. A lot of these are just a function of the US military budget. If it fell, a lot of these would rise, and one or two might fall.

    I’m a big believer in others paying for their own defense. That so much of Europe was able to pass the buck, probably hasn’t benefited either of us in the longterm. I, for one, doubt Merkel would have welcomed so many “refugees” if Germany’s defense had to be double what it is now.

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  40. @snorlax
    I'm not sure that I'd give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that's spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don't seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for "human rights," "international law" or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.

    America's biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we're orders of magnitude less corrupt than China, where (presumably) much of the money earmarked for the military (and in general, even in private business) simply disappears, and the bulk of the officers bought their positions or obtained them through gross nepotism, and by extension know nothing about their jobs which they may not even show up to.

    But we partially offset those advantages with our military's famous efficiency (the money doesn't disappear, it just goes to impeccably-audited purchase orders for $30 chewing gum) and our many, many affirmative action, grrl power, political hack (e.g. that award-winning USAFA guy) or simply incompetent (it always takes a "real" war against a peer opponent to weed them out) officers.

    Are all those corrupt Chinese going to ruin their real estate investments in California for the greater glory of China?
    Yes, yes they are.

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    • Replies: @myself
    Yes, absolutely they are. They won't WANT to, but they'll do it.

    The Mainland Chinese are bat-shit insane when it comes to national patriotism. They don't channel it into wars or ideology, rather into business, work and studies. (They actually don't like war). But that absurd level of commitment is right under the surface.

    They won't talk about it directly to an outsider, but if you read between the lines . . . there ya go.
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  41. @Pericles
    Sweden has been talking about increasing military spending and reintroducing the draft. Hopeless cucks want us to join NATO, surely a great idea at this point. Motivation: Muh Russia, in case you wonder why.

    I wonder how our authorities will handle the large spike of '16 year olds' that appeared a couple of years back in this respect. They are of the right age, after all. Pro: Many may already have practical military experience, so less training required, right?

    Many probably couldn’t make the cut. Denmark wouldn’t release its IQ statistics for different ethnic groups, for people trying to join the armed services. I don’t know how many stats Sweden collects, but they can’t be good. If they were good, they’d surely release them.

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  42. @Anonymous
    https://twitter.com/ChinaBoxOffice/status/973582507273850880

    https://twitter.com/qz/status/973418486415360000

    I look forward to the articles complaining about African American audiences not being enthusiastic enough about Chinese cinema. Obviously not holding my breath.

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  43. The world is not preparing for war, but Russia sure is (and the Chinese too). I know that folks around here don’t like to admit it, but Putin really has taken Russia in the wrong direction. He obviously longs to restore the military glory of the Soviet Union. He knows that Communism is discredited and he can’t bring that back (fully, although he has restored state ownership in some key sectors) but the Soviet military was one of the few Soviet institutions that retains popular respect (and not just for pensioners). The military defeat of Nazi Germany was a high water mark for the USSR.

    The Death of Stalin movie has been banned in Russia (ironically given that Russia is the world capital of movie piracy, the ban won’t stop anyone from seeing it) largely because it treats Zhukov “disrespectfully” (I actually though it portrayed him positively). The heroes of the Great Patriotic War are beyond criticism.

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    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It's not Russia whose leading politicians have openly talked about attacking US allies and even military assets, but the other way around.
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  44. @snorlax
    Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to that in (IIRC) '96, but Yeltsin reneged as retaliation for Kosovo. (One of many foreseeable reasons that was a colossal blunder). This past month Putin revealed a secret superweapon — deep-diving, high-speed autonomous submarines with "cobalt bomb" payloads, designed to generate on detonation radioactive tsunamis that would wipe out all life along the US coasts.

    While practically they don't mean much, they're a very disturbing break from the norm heretofore observed by America and the USSR/Russia, which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose (even if just eliminating the other side's delivery systems) and nuclear doctrines paid lip service to minimizing civilian casualties.

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of "complete genocide" as opposed to "destroy all military targets."

    “… which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose ….”

    Counter-value targetting was always on the table … it’s one reason why MAD worked. Enhanced Radiation Weapons were in the inventory.

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  45. @snorlax
    I'm not sure that I'd give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that's spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don't seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for "human rights," "international law" or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.

    America's biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we're orders of magnitude less corrupt than China, where (presumably) much of the money earmarked for the military (and in general, even in private business) simply disappears, and the bulk of the officers bought their positions or obtained them through gross nepotism, and by extension know nothing about their jobs which they may not even show up to.

    But we partially offset those advantages with our military's famous efficiency (the money doesn't disappear, it just goes to impeccably-audited purchase orders for $30 chewing gum) and our many, many affirmative action, grrl power, political hack (e.g. that award-winning USAFA guy) or simply incompetent (it always takes a "real" war against a peer opponent to weed them out) officers.

    “America’s biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we’re orders of magnitude less corrupt than China ….”

    Wow, that one made me spit out my cola. Maybe the Chinese are more brazen, but our politicos and lobbyists have perfected corruption to the degree that, unlike China, the little people have absolutely no way of getting their way when it competes with a larger donor.

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    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    We are very corrupt, yes, but the Chinese are so unbelievably short-sighted -- literally unbelievable -- that until you experience a Chinese destroying his own project in order to temporarily fix some detail, you will reject stories about it as racist and impossible. Halliburton took tax money to (among many other things) gruesomely under-deliver military meals, but they did deliver actual edible food. They didn't kill babies with undisguised poison in order to save a shockingly small amount of money.
    I always hate it when the Chinese are called corrupt. Corruption is X forced into Y, especially for venal ends. The Chinese have pretty much always been the way they are and no force on Earth can unbend them. It is utopianism to talk about them sitting through a lecture or a demonstrative execution, and thereby growing out of their obligations to their family and neighbors.
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  46. @Jack D
    The world is not preparing for war, but Russia sure is (and the Chinese too). I know that folks around here don't like to admit it, but Putin really has taken Russia in the wrong direction. He obviously longs to restore the military glory of the Soviet Union. He knows that Communism is discredited and he can't bring that back (fully, although he has restored state ownership in some key sectors) but the Soviet military was one of the few Soviet institutions that retains popular respect (and not just for pensioners). The military defeat of Nazi Germany was a high water mark for the USSR.

    The Death of Stalin movie has been banned in Russia (ironically given that Russia is the world capital of movie piracy, the ban won't stop anyone from seeing it) largely because it treats Zhukov "disrespectfully" (I actually though it portrayed him positively). The heroes of the Great Patriotic War are beyond criticism.

    It’s not Russia whose leading politicians have openly talked about attacking US allies and even military assets, but the other way around.

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  47. @dearieme
    Does the US defence budget include the cost of pensions, VA hospitals, and so on? I mean, it obviously ought to, but does it?

    Take a look at Defense Budget Overview. Scroll down to Section 5, “Keeping Faith with Service Members and Families.”

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  48. @Rod1963
    I'd put the U.S. on the top of the list as the country most likely to start WWIII because we're the only one who really can do force projection. The Russians and Chinese can't at this time since it's very costly to do.

    That said our AF and Navy are in bad shape. The AF is chronically short of pilots and can't give them the seat time they need to maintain proficiency and lack skilled maintainers for their aircraft. The Navy is also hurting in terms of fielding carrier based fighters and also lack skilled maintainers.

    The Army is in need of a hundred billion retrofit in terms of equipment to replace all the vehicles we ran into the ground in the ME. Oh yeah that downsizing the Army did cost them their most seasoned warfighters. The retrofit was never done and needs to be done. It will take years to re equip the Army.

    Yeah we spend a lot of money on defense but lately most has gone to two very expensive and useless weapons systems for the AF. The F-22 and F-35. The latter is a trillion dollar program.

    Had both been scrapped things would be different.

    We’ve actually spiked military spending under Obama.

    And yet we reduced the amount of actual soldiers, sailors etc

    So where did all the excess money go? Defense contractor corporate welfare, where else?

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  49. One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people. Even decades ago they had developed poisons which are undetectable or mimic natural death (radioactive thallium micro pellets, hydrocyanic spray, etc.). They are easy to store and use and cause certain death. Clearly the intent in this poisoning, which didn’t even cause death, was to link the nerve agent with Russia. Neocon warmongers and operatives are not too creative and use the same trick to move public opinion toward war. Iraq, Libya, Syria,…

    You don’t seem to support your premise here. Killing people in a certain way to “send a message” is a practice with an ancient lineage – one need not be “retarded” to acknowledge its existence.

    I’m not sure that I’d give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that’s spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don’t seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for “human rights,” “international law” or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.

    “With one shot at glory” doesn’t really fit with the rest of the profile you’ve rendered. I doubt it means much, if anything, to the men in question. Chinese are nationalist, but they never struck me as regime-loyal. If anything, the impression I get is that the Chinese are generally skeptical of gov’t and don’t really go in for dying on the state’s behalf. I’m sure there are exceptions in the people’s army, but these things are relative.

    Wow, that one made me spit out my cola. Maybe the Chinese are more brazen, but our politicos and lobbyists have perfected corruption to the degree that, unlike China, the little people have absolutely no way of getting their way when it competes with a larger donor.

    Our corruption tends to be legalistic and top-down. Chinese corruption is more of the open and cultural sort: buying jobs, literal graft, favors for money, etc. The legalistic kind is less corrosive to morale, I’d think.

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    • Replies: @myself
    They are more country-loyal than regime-loyal. If the government is seen as being of the legit Han state (and there has always been a Han state), then they will fight enthusiastically on its behalf. If not, then morale will be affected.

    In 1931, the KMT refused to fight Japan, so became illegitimate in Han eyes. In 1937-1945, the KMT was still illegitimate.

    Contrast this with 1947-1949 (civil war to unify China) or 1950-1953 (Korean War) - in which Chinese morale was extremely high.

    Oh yeah, and the Korean War PLA included a great many former KMT soldiers, who fought for country, not ideology.
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  50. @Anonymous

    The more worrisome thing to me than the spending is that we seem closer to stumbling into a shooting war with Russia now than we have since James Blunt saved us from Wesley Clark 20 years ago. On our side, we’ve had pundits inflating Russia’s troll farm election ads into a “virtual war” on us, and our military killing a bunch of Russian mercs in Syria recently. On Russia’s side, we have their recent threats to retaliate against US forces in Syria if we attack Syrian government forces. And of course the assassination attempts in the UK reportedly using a Russian-developed nerve toxin. A BBC reporter asked Putin about it this week, and Putin brushed him off rather than denying any Russian involvement.
     
    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people. Even decades ago they had developed poisons which are undetectable or mimic natural death (radioactive thallium micro pellets, hydrocyanic spray, etc.). They are easy to store and use and cause certain death. Clearly the intent in this poisoning, which didn’t even cause death, was to link the nerve agent with Russia. Neocon warmongers and operatives are not too creative and use the same trick to move public opinion toward war. Iraq, Libya, Syria,...

    We’re in a very dangerous place right now. All of the left and media at unhinged Russophobic levels and many neocon hawks still want war with Russia and its ally Iran. Here’s some sobering analysis yesterday from a former West Point instructor and renowned military analyst who was a top official at the Defense Intelligence Agency. And who has a so-good-it’s-almost-spooky track record of being correct. Col. Patrick Lang:


    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/looks-like-mattis-is-the-grown-up-in-the-room.html

    Looks like Mattis is the grown up in the room

    This is a very young Mike Pompeo when he was a first year cadet at West Point in 1983. He concentrated his study there in Mechanical Engineering and graduated first in his class. By the time he graduated the war in VN was over. He served just enough time to repay his service debt to the army, then resigned his commission to go to law school. So, he never served in combat. War is an abstraction to him. In other words, this is probably a game for Pompeo, a power game played on a global map board.
    DJT in announcing Pompeo's nomination to the WH lawn press corps stressed that he and Pompeo had "great chemistry" and that they share the same view of the world. In other words, Pompeo never disagrees with Trump. Pompeo is well known for his hard line anti-Iranian views and his unshakable sympathy for Israel. DJT professes the same views.
    At the UN Nikki Haley has now specifically threatened Syria and Russia with attack if the Syrian government does not halt its offensive in East Gouta and the Yarmouk camp. Both are near Damascus. These two places are mainly defended by jihadis, the largest group of which is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, the Al-Qa'ida branch in Syria. You remember Al Qa'ida. They were the people who attacked us on 9/11. Her threat is for retaliation for use of chemical weapons (chlorine)or just plain old "inhuman suffering" inflicted on the "Syrian People." This does not seem an idle threat given the number of times she has repeated it. Someone is telling her to say this. She works for State and it probably is not Tillerson telling her to do this so my guess would be David Satterfield, the Assistant secretary of State for the Near East. He is someone who now runs with the wolves. That is how he got the job.
    At the same time Russia has made it clear that they will fight to protect their ally and interests in Syria. They have been quite plain spoken about that and they included both US aircraft and ships in the threat. I note that the Admiral Essen, a Russian missile shooting frigate sortied from Sebastopol today.
    I think that Pompeo's nomination and his eventual confirmation brings the world closer to a US-Russia war. If that happens it will be difficult if not impossible to keep the war from escalating toward the use of nuclear weapons. Israel wants war, a wrecking war with Iran. Israel wants the US to win that war for Israel. IMO Israel would be wrecked in such a war whatever the outcome. This is an August, 1914 moment. pl

     

    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people.

    Yes. that’s the conundrum to reason through. Does it mean it was a false flag (as you are implying), or does it mean Putin is flipping off and warning the Euroweenies? Or maybe the more enthusiastic sort of Russian is getting tired of Putin’s statesmanlike behavior and wants to provoke action.

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    • Replies: @El Dato

    does it mean Putin is flipping off and warning the Euroweenies
     
    That was the unveiling of new weapons part.

    Or maybe the more enthusiastic sort of Russian is getting tired of Putin’s statesmanlike behavior and wants to provoke action.
     
    Action to what purpose?

    No, all this looks VERY engineered. What is being said at the UN right now sounds like a laundry list of bullshit prepared in case Russia might uses a nerve agent that apparently was only produced in the Soviet Union a long time ago, as an "expert" confirmed. Ancient evil immediately tracable to Sauron himself. Yup. Yup. Totally on this. German atrocities in Belgium, anyone?
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  51. @snorlax
    Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to that in (IIRC) '96, but Yeltsin reneged as retaliation for Kosovo. (One of many foreseeable reasons that was a colossal blunder). This past month Putin revealed a secret superweapon — deep-diving, high-speed autonomous submarines with "cobalt bomb" payloads, designed to generate on detonation radioactive tsunamis that would wipe out all life along the US coasts.

    While practically they don't mean much, they're a very disturbing break from the norm heretofore observed by America and the USSR/Russia, which was that nuclear delivery systems always had some ostensible purely military purpose (even if just eliminating the other side's delivery systems) and nuclear doctrines paid lip service to minimizing civilian casualties.

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of "complete genocide" as opposed to "destroy all military targets."

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of “complete genocide” as opposed to “destroy all military targets.”

    All rather meaningless bearing in mind even the first SIOPs (in the early 1960s) planned for the use of 3,200 warheads, totalling 7847 megatons. Most cities and even large towns would have been hit by multiple weapons.

    The euphemistic lie of supposed counterforce targeting in such a situation is not to be respected as indicating some kind of moral superiority – quite the contrary, it is to be condemned for the cynical hypocrisy it is.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @El Dato
    https://youtu.be/FTupV8o3mW4?t=10077
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  52. Was the PRC’s relaxation of one-child per couple a prelude to increased patriotism (What family would willingly support policies that would endanger their only child?) and thus increased the possibility of conflicts?

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  53. @dearieme
    Does the US defence budget include the cost of pensions, VA hospitals, and so on? I mean, it obviously ought to, but does it?

    The USA spends twice as much as officially reported, using the “standard NATO definition.” The GDP percentage should be twice as much in that graph. Yes, the CIA decieves. I noted those “threatened” Baltic nations don’t even spend 2%.

    The info below is clearer at this link:

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2018/americas-national-security-budget-nearing-1-trillion.html?utm_source=straus-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=straus-1803&utm_content=read-more-link

    I pasted it here, jumbled:

    Total National Security Spending FY 2019

    (All Figures are $ billions; then-Year $)

    (Sources: Table 26-1 from Analytical Perspectives, Table 27-1 Federal Budget by Agency in 2019 OMB Budget, and Addendum to the President’s FY19 Budget to Account for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018)

    Note: Due to the ongoing budget process reliable information about FY 2018 expenditures was not available.

    National Security Program FY 2019 as Requested Comments
    DoD Base Budget (Discretionary) 617.1

    The “base” budget purportedly contains all routine, peacetime expenses; however, DOD and Congress have loaded tens of billions of such “base” spending into the Overseas Contingency Operations fund for declared wartime expenses. Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist said budget materials were published before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, and that base spending would be $20 billion higher. See below.

    DoD Base Budget (Mandatory) 9 DOD often does not count this “mandatory” spending in its budget presentations to the public; however, being for military retirement and other DOD-only spending, it is as much a part of the DOD budget as military pay and acquisition.

    DoD Base Budget (Total) 626.1

    Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) 69 While budget materials initially proposed $89 billion for OCO this number was revised to $69 billion to reflect the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
    DoD Subtotal 695.1
    DOE/Nuclear 23.1 For nuclear weapons activities
    “Defense-Related Activities” 8.9
    National Defense Total 726.8 This is the OMB budget function “National Defense” (also known as “050″) which is sometimes confused as Pentagon-only spending.
    Military Retirement Costs Not Scored to DoD 5.5 This category shows funds paid by the Treasury for military retirement programs, minus interest and contributions from the DOD military personnel budget. The data for the amounts shown here are in functions 600, 900 and 950. As DOD-unique spending they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not by either DOD or OMB.
    DoD Retiree Health Care Fund Costs -6.1 These are net costs to the Treasury for this DOD health care program. See functions 550, 900, and 950. As DOD-unique spending, they should be displayed as part of the DOD budget, but they are not either by DOD or OMB.
    Veterans Affairs (Total) 193.2
    International Affairs (Total) 41.8
    Homeland Security (Total) 51
    Shares of Interest on the Debt 123.5 Total On-Budget Federal Authorities is $4.6 trillion in fiscal year 2019. Total gross interest paid (outlays) on Treasury debt is $559 billion in fiscal year 2019. The calculable shares of defense-related spending relative to the federal totals is 22.1 percent.
    National Defense (Total) 1,135.7 billion
    View PDF here.

    Photograph of Mandy Smithberger
    By: Mandy Smithberger, Director, CDI Straus Military Reform Project

    Mandy Smithberger is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Projec

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  54. @Bill

    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people.
     
    Yes. that's the conundrum to reason through. Does it mean it was a false flag (as you are implying), or does it mean Putin is flipping off and warning the Euroweenies? Or maybe the more enthusiastic sort of Russian is getting tired of Putin's statesmanlike behavior and wants to provoke action.

    does it mean Putin is flipping off and warning the Euroweenies

    That was the unveiling of new weapons part.

    Or maybe the more enthusiastic sort of Russian is getting tired of Putin’s statesmanlike behavior and wants to provoke action.

    Action to what purpose?

    No, all this looks VERY engineered. What is being said at the UN right now sounds like a laundry list of bullshit prepared in case Russia might uses a nerve agent that apparently was only produced in the Soviet Union a long time ago, as an “expert” confirmed. Ancient evil immediately tracable to Sauron himself. Yup. Yup. Totally on this. German atrocities in Belgium, anyone?

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  55. @Randal

    This is why neither side ever (until now) developed variants, such as neutron bombs or cobalt bombs, designed to maximize civilian casualties due to radiation, or deployed delivery systems that explicitly targeted civilians, or adopted a nuclear doctrine of “complete genocide” as opposed to “destroy all military targets.”
     
    All rather meaningless bearing in mind even the first SIOPs (in the early 1960s) planned for the use of 3,200 warheads, totalling 7847 megatons. Most cities and even large towns would have been hit by multiple weapons.

    The euphemistic lie of supposed counterforce targeting in such a situation is not to be respected as indicating some kind of moral superiority - quite the contrary, it is to be condemned for the cynical hypocrisy it is.

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  56. @Intelligent Dasein
    The idea that governments would deliberately crank up armaments spending well in advance of planned hostilities invokes an element of rationality in these affairs which I think is being far too generously conceded. Of all the major nations in the world today, it is possibly only China and Russia that possess the degree of internal organization necessary to put such plans into effect. And even so, China still has its immense shadow banking system and refractory tycoons, and Russia its oligarchs. Most countries couldn't even tolerate the idea of the entire nation being "in form" for this one particular end. The USA certainly could not.

    But the world is marching visibly closer to major war with each passing day. Defense spending may not tell the tale, but diplomacy certainly does. Russia, in a last bid to warn the West to cease further provocation, has just demonstrated the viability of her new hypersonic missiles. And what does the West do in response? Britain has expelled Russian diplomats, escalating a fracas precipitated over the false-flag poisoning of a double agent. The make-believe nation of Ukraine has just been awarded special status within NATO. This may be called blundering into war with all the subtlety of a drunken elephant.

    And to crown all, Rex Tillerson is out at State Department. Not that I cared for Tillerson; but his replacement, Mike Pompeo, is a globalist stooge with a resume that comes directly from Neocon central casting. This is so far the foulest and ugliest swamp creature to be so elevated by drain-the-swamp Trump, and his coming at the worst possible time precludes any further mention of eleventy-D chess. Whatever may have happened---whether Trump was lying all along, or had a change of heart, or is merely puddy in the hands of Deep State wormtongues---it is clear he is no longer our guy.

    It is also clear that the United States will be completely destroyed by war irrespective of what happens on the battlefield. We are a deeply indebted, entitlement-ridden and fractured society of geriatric Baby Boomers, Special Snowflakes, and sullen Third World hordes. All the arrangements on which our daily lives depend, from the just-in-time delivery of cheap Chinese crap to the multi-trillion dollar transfer payments to the unproductive, will collapse under the pressure of general mobilization. Not that anyone will recognize the obvious inevitability of these developments; violent, bumbling mobs will continue to demand their gibs in a world which no longer has a place for them.

    The final countdown has started. Another global war is inevitable, this one fated to destroy the last vestiges of Western legitimacy and power. Our many decades of waste and foolishness are bearing their fruit. It's too late to stop it now.

    The final countdown has started. Another global war is inevitable, this one fated to destroy the last vestiges of Western legitimacy and power. Our many decades of waste and foolishness are bearing their fruit. It’s too late to stop it now.

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it doesn’t look good indeed.

    There may be more to worry about than Pussy Grabbing in a short while.

    Note that the Cretinous May has actually literally ratcheted up the problem: Even if evidence now comes out that Russia is not involved in gassing the guest of the UK, she WON’T BE ABLE TO BACK DOWN NOW: admitting to Russia’s non-involvement would be political suicide. She has gone full in – something that no serious politician would ever do.

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  57. @snorlax
    KSA and (AFAIK) India aren't pointing nukes at yours truly (an extremely threatening act, in the literal, substantive and comparative senses) and both have average IQs in the 70s.

    it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia
     
    I remember, not long ago at all (as in, a year starting with "201"), when China spent less than Russia, which has itself increased its military spending by several multiples over the last few years. So yeah, that does actually sound pretty threatening. And Anatoly Karlin of this site says we should use the Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted military spending figures.

    It doesn’t seem threatening to me, just my opinion.

    You have us spending 3.3% of our GDP, whereas China spends 1.9% of their GDP. In layman’s terms, we are considerably more militarized and war-focused, as a country, than is China.

    I’m coming from the perspective that all nations have the right to have militaries within their budget. China is within their budget, as are we, and so is Russia with their 5.4% of GDP.

    Doesn’t mean anyone’s about to start something. I say, if America has the right of defense, so does everyone else. Hell, China could up their percent of GDP spending to our level, 3.3%, and I still don’t think it would be beyond the norm, or an actual threat.

    Now, invasions, dropping bombs, paramilitary activity, regime change, state-sponsored terror – THOSE are objectively very threatening. China don’t play that way, far as I can tell.

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  58. @snorlax
    3x was, IIRC, approximately the standard US-Soviet military spending ratio.

    Well, yes in Exchange Rate terms, sure.

    But let’s talk REAL spending and resource allocation to the military. Henceforth, the figures I’m going to throw out are based on “real output”, regardless of market exchange rates (which can fluctuate irrationally).

    In real terms – as in actual resources, man-hours value, technological real value and so forth that was devoted by both superpowers to military spending.

    The United States, in very rough terms, was spending (in the late ’80s) about ~7% of our GDP (PPP or REAL) on defense. We’re talking full-on Cold War Reagan Era spending. 7+% a year.

    In order to keep up, and with the Soviet economy only HALF the size of ours, the Soviet Union essentially tanked long-term growth prospects by devoting something like 14-15% of their smaller GDP to the military.

    (I think the Soviet economy peaked at about 62% the size of the U.S. economy in or about the end of WW2, 1945, then kept pace, then gradually fell back down to 50% by the 1980s. (Side note, the average Soviet per capita GDP in this era was around half the Western European norm, but skewed by a distinct lack of consumer goods).

    If you work the numbers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were in rough parity throughout the crucial Reagan years, as in 1:1, until the USSR collapsed in 1991. So the USSR was something to take very seriously as a military power.

    I don’t think it was ever as low as the USSR spending only 1/3 of the US total. OTOH, the Soviet economy also never approached, much less exceeded the size of America’s. So the strain on them was commensurate.

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  59. @JMcG
    Are all those corrupt Chinese going to ruin their real estate investments in California for the greater glory of China?
    Yes, yes they are.

    Yes, absolutely they are. They won’t WANT to, but they’ll do it.

    The Mainland Chinese are bat-shit insane when it comes to national patriotism. They don’t channel it into wars or ideology, rather into business, work and studies. (They actually don’t like war). But that absurd level of commitment is right under the surface.

    They won’t talk about it directly to an outsider, but if you read between the lines . . . there ya go.

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  60. @Rod1963
    I'd put the U.S. on the top of the list as the country most likely to start WWIII because we're the only one who really can do force projection. The Russians and Chinese can't at this time since it's very costly to do.

    That said our AF and Navy are in bad shape. The AF is chronically short of pilots and can't give them the seat time they need to maintain proficiency and lack skilled maintainers for their aircraft. The Navy is also hurting in terms of fielding carrier based fighters and also lack skilled maintainers.

    The Army is in need of a hundred billion retrofit in terms of equipment to replace all the vehicles we ran into the ground in the ME. Oh yeah that downsizing the Army did cost them their most seasoned warfighters. The retrofit was never done and needs to be done. It will take years to re equip the Army.

    Yeah we spend a lot of money on defense but lately most has gone to two very expensive and useless weapons systems for the AF. The F-22 and F-35. The latter is a trillion dollar program.

    Had both been scrapped things would be different.

    The military is simply running out of red blooded white males who’ve made the U.S. military the most formidable in the world. This is how the American empire ends.

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    • Replies: @El Dato

    the U.S. military the most formidable in the world
     
    Someone is angling for a prize of stupidity here.
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  61. @Svigor

    One would have to be retarded to believe some Russian government assassin would use a military chemical nerve agent, which is difficult and dangerous to store, transport, and distribute to poison a couple people. Even decades ago they had developed poisons which are undetectable or mimic natural death (radioactive thallium micro pellets, hydrocyanic spray, etc.). They are easy to store and use and cause certain death. Clearly the intent in this poisoning, which didn’t even cause death, was to link the nerve agent with Russia. Neocon warmongers and operatives are not too creative and use the same trick to move public opinion toward war. Iraq, Libya, Syria,…
     
    You don't seem to support your premise here. Killing people in a certain way to "send a message" is a practice with an ancient lineage - one need not be "retarded" to acknowledge its existence.

    I’m not sure that I’d give us great odds in a [large-scale, non-nuclear] conflict with a China that’s spending 1/3rd what we do, considering that the Chinese are smarter than us, much more numerous, don’t seem to be much affected by cost disease, ruthlessly silence dissent, consider life cheaper than race and nation, are actually afflicted with a surplus of military-age men with one shot at glory, and care nada for “human rights,” “international law” or PC insanity as pertains to military matters.
     
    "With one shot at glory" doesn't really fit with the rest of the profile you've rendered. I doubt it means much, if anything, to the men in question. Chinese are nationalist, but they never struck me as regime-loyal. If anything, the impression I get is that the Chinese are generally skeptical of gov't and don't really go in for dying on the state's behalf. I'm sure there are exceptions in the people's army, but these things are relative.

    Wow, that one made me spit out my cola. Maybe the Chinese are more brazen, but our politicos and lobbyists have perfected corruption to the degree that, unlike China, the little people have absolutely no way of getting their way when it competes with a larger donor.
     
    Our corruption tends to be legalistic and top-down. Chinese corruption is more of the open and cultural sort: buying jobs, literal graft, favors for money, etc. The legalistic kind is less corrosive to morale, I'd think.

    They are more country-loyal than regime-loyal. If the government is seen as being of the legit Han state (and there has always been a Han state), then they will fight enthusiastically on its behalf. If not, then morale will be affected.

    In 1931, the KMT refused to fight Japan, so became illegitimate in Han eyes. In 1937-1945, the KMT was still illegitimate.

    Contrast this with 1947-1949 (civil war to unify China) or 1950-1953 (Korean War) – in which Chinese morale was extremely high.

    Oh yeah, and the Korean War PLA included a great many former KMT soldiers, who fought for country, not ideology.

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  62. @The Alarmist
    Using GDP to normalize the figures is clever, but it does not disguise the fact that the US spends 3x China and roughly 16x Russia, and depending whose list you use, Russia trails India and KSA, but they're the biggest "threat."

    Russia trails India and KSA, but they’re the biggest “threat.”

    India, and KSA, aren’t murdering people in England (at least none that we know of). OTOH none of the 9/11 perps were from Russia or India.

    We could get Russia to persuade Iran to nuke KSA while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits – and by a wide margin.

    We could persuade Israel to nuke Iran while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits – and by a wide margin.

    Most things are neither simple nor easy when it comes to geopolitics. (and yes, there is a similar argument for Israel – but the result is the same)

    Being the global cop on the beat is a dirty job, and the somebody will be us or the Chinese. I wouldn’t mind it, but the idiots in charge are indirectly controlled by leftists.

    Now, if we could get all the leftist together in some country other than the USA, I’d vote to nuke that country – unintended consequences be damned!

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    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    For all we know, it's MI-5, MI-6, or the Clinton machine killing people in the UK. Show us some credible evidence the Russians did it before loosing the neocon dogs of war. What upside is there for the Russians to use a readily identifiable substance that can be linked, strongly or weakly, to them?

    As has been said elsewhere in these pages, you could find a common criminal to off them the old fashioned way and make it look like a simple violent crime, of which there is no shortage in the UK these days.
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  63. @Ghost of Bull Moose
    Oman is interesting. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said is the hereditary leader of Oman since 1970, the longest-serving ruler in the ME. There's a rumor that he's gay, but nevertheless a very effective leader and relatively pro-West. Nobody talks about him much, thankfully.

    The Sultan of Oman is a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.

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    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Uht-oh, you know what other Saladin-admiring, divine right autocrat loved Gilbert and Sullivan ...
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  64. @YetAnotherAnon
    "The US, with troops involved in something like six ongoing wars and controlling the global sea routes with its Navy, has lower spending than Russia, which is involved in three wars."

    It's spending as a percentage of GDP - the US GDP is way higher than Russia's, so they spend much more in cash terms. Congo has a very small GDP.

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff. Congo, Algeria and Kuwait aren't developing aircraft, drones, missiles, chem/bio, nukes, cyber.

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff.

    The real reason is that it is surrounded by sworn enemies numbering in the hundreds of millions, and is 9 miles wide at its narrowest point. The reality is that man has been hunting man for recreation, money and everlasting fame for thousands of years. How many wealthy people from antiquity has anyone heard of? How many kings even? If not for his conquest of Troy, would Agamemnon’s name be known outside of the minds of area historians?

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Deliberately missing the point. We all know the situation. But Israel aren't planning human-wave attacks or trench warfare (relatively cheap in cash terms) to defend what they have , or to attack what other people have, they are conserving Israelis and putting their trust "in iron tube and reeking shard", or the 21st century equivalent.

    Iron tubes and reeking shards, 21st century style, are pretty expensive even if clever people are making them.
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  65. @BB753
    Chinese people aren't much into negrophilia. Good for them.

    “Chinese people aren’t much into negrophilia. Good for them…”
    You’re a bit misinformed:
    Chinese prefer females with fair skin, many centuries before coming in contact with Europeans.
    But males with fair skin is a bad mime, akin to being sissy if not fagotry. The most prominent martial hero Guan-yu is said to have a red or dark complexion.
    We Chinese have our Black Panther: The first hero in Chinese martial art fiction actually was a black man(sadly also once a slave), dated back to the Tang dynasty

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunlun_Nu

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    • Replies: @BB753
    Ok, I get that women prefer tall dark strangers, but that's not the same as saying they have jungle fever. Anyway, my point was Chinese and Blacks don't usually get along. No sexual point of view implied.
    BTW, I'm intrigued by this tiny Negrito martial artist of old. Good story.
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  66. @Anonymous
    OT

    These formulation of these two paragraphs struck me for some reason:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/opinion/populist-germany-afd-europe.html

    On Jan. 27, for example, when the Bundestag commemorated the day of the liberation of Auschwitz, the 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch spoke to the representatives. The AfD duly applauded. But when she praised the accommodation of refugees as an “incredibly generous, brave and humane gesture,” the ranks of the AfD remained silent.

    That may seem a small, depreciating gesture — Germany’s political culture would have demanded at least modest applause. But it has a larger context. The breach comes from a party that counts Björn Höcke in its ranks, a man who called for a “180-degree turn” in Germany’s memorial culture. The AfD’s Bundestag delegation is led by Alexander Gauland, who has praised the “achievements” of Nazi Germany’s soldiers during World War II. This gesture of disrespect is part of the fundamental opposition to the idea that German history still serves as a guiding principle for German policymaking. And its supporters know that.
     

    It’s the “virulent” principle — if anyone “in your ranks” (no matter in what position) is, to any degree, any sort of a Nazi, then the whole organization might as well be the Totenkopf-SS.
    That’s actully downright Talmudic when you consider that the same people who believe that also believe they can declare anyone to be a Nazi on any grounds. Lazy goyishe kopp that I have says, hey, why do it the more complicated way?

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  67. @Steve Sailer
    The Sultan of Oman is a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.

    Uht-oh, you know what other Saladin-admiring, divine right autocrat loved Gilbert and Sullivan …

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  68. @The Alarmist

    "America’s biggest advantage (besides spending 3x more) is that we’re orders of magnitude less corrupt than China ...."
     
    Wow, that one made me spit out my cola. Maybe the Chinese are more brazen, but our politicos and lobbyists have perfected corruption to the degree that, unlike China, the little people have absolutely no way of getting their way when it competes with a larger donor.

    We are very corrupt, yes, but the Chinese are so unbelievably short-sighted — literally unbelievable — that until you experience a Chinese destroying his own project in order to temporarily fix some detail, you will reject stories about it as racist and impossible. Halliburton took tax money to (among many other things) gruesomely under-deliver military meals, but they did deliver actual edible food. They didn’t kill babies with undisguised poison in order to save a shockingly small amount of money.
    I always hate it when the Chinese are called corrupt. Corruption is X forced into Y, especially for venal ends. The Chinese have pretty much always been the way they are and no force on Earth can unbend them. It is utopianism to talk about them sitting through a lecture or a demonstrative execution, and thereby growing out of their obligations to their family and neighbors.

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    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    Can you or I ever break into the Political-Bureaucy-Lobbyist-Thinktank-MIC-Academic gravy-train? We can try, like all those Tea-Party groups, but we will either be crushed or coopted.

    It wasn't long ago that our own merchants were poisoning our forebears, so yeah, we institutionalised and regulated common decency precisely so that Halliburton doesn't poison the troops, at least not immediately.

    I see plenty of Western managers push pet projects or kill others at great destruction to wealth ... that is hardly a chinese thing.
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  69. This data would look better on a map of the world.

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  70. @KenH
    The military is simply running out of red blooded white males who've made the U.S. military the most formidable in the world. This is how the American empire ends.

    the U.S. military the most formidable in the world

    Someone is angling for a prize of stupidity here.

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  71. @J.Ross
    We are very corrupt, yes, but the Chinese are so unbelievably short-sighted -- literally unbelievable -- that until you experience a Chinese destroying his own project in order to temporarily fix some detail, you will reject stories about it as racist and impossible. Halliburton took tax money to (among many other things) gruesomely under-deliver military meals, but they did deliver actual edible food. They didn't kill babies with undisguised poison in order to save a shockingly small amount of money.
    I always hate it when the Chinese are called corrupt. Corruption is X forced into Y, especially for venal ends. The Chinese have pretty much always been the way they are and no force on Earth can unbend them. It is utopianism to talk about them sitting through a lecture or a demonstrative execution, and thereby growing out of their obligations to their family and neighbors.

    Can you or I ever break into the Political-Bureaucy-Lobbyist-Thinktank-MIC-Academic gravy-train? We can try, like all those Tea-Party groups, but we will either be crushed or coopted.

    It wasn’t long ago that our own merchants were poisoning our forebears, so yeah, we institutionalised and regulated common decency precisely so that Halliburton doesn’t poison the troops, at least not immediately.

    I see plenty of Western managers push pet projects or kill others at great destruction to wealth … that is hardly a chinese thing.

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    • Replies: @J.Ross
    You're not understanding what I wrote. Utopianism is a waste of time. American corruption transfers money and Chinese "corruption" results in stunningly preventable deaths and the defeat of the original project. Or compare Detroit and Chicago: both ate massively corrupt, one is non-functional and one is like an advertisement for how great corruption can be.
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  72. @Dave Pinsen
    I thought the US and Russian Arsenal’s were re-aimed at the oceans years ago.

    Aimed?

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  73. @Bragadocious
    How nice that Canada spends 0.99% of its GDP on defense, less than perpetually threatened Sweden. Thus we see how Canadians have funded their 30th best in the world healthcare system of which they're so proud. Americans are paying for it.

    Moving to Canada would, indeed, be an attractive proposition if the entirety of Asia hadn’t figured it out first.

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  74. @Anonymous
    OT

    These formulation of these two paragraphs struck me for some reason:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/opinion/populist-germany-afd-europe.html

    On Jan. 27, for example, when the Bundestag commemorated the day of the liberation of Auschwitz, the 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch spoke to the representatives. The AfD duly applauded. But when she praised the accommodation of refugees as an “incredibly generous, brave and humane gesture,” the ranks of the AfD remained silent.

    That may seem a small, depreciating gesture — Germany’s political culture would have demanded at least modest applause. But it has a larger context. The breach comes from a party that counts Björn Höcke in its ranks, a man who called for a “180-degree turn” in Germany’s memorial culture. The AfD’s Bundestag delegation is led by Alexander Gauland, who has praised the “achievements” of Nazi Germany’s soldiers during World War II. This gesture of disrespect is part of the fundamental opposition to the idea that German history still serves as a guiding principle for German policymaking. And its supporters know that.
     

    Soliders and sailors don’t dictate policy or initiate wars. Politicians do. (And – excluding insignificant whackos in backwater shit-holes, like Fidel Castro or Idi Amin – its been a long time since the two were the same; Napoleon comes to mind….)

    “The achievements* of Nazi Germany’s soldiers during World War II” were nonpareil; not since the days of Napoleon did a single nation come so close to conquering the entirety of Europe, and the innovations (never mind sheer courage and tenacity) which made this possible – modern combined arms; the Blitzkrieg; an astoundingly successful submarine fleet defeated only via the other fellow’s clever cryptography, not his naval superiourity; rocketry, etc. – are to be admired and studied by any serious student of military science.

    That these men served during the National Socialist regime in a war of aggression is irrelevant and immaterial to their achievements. One had might as well deride America’s forces as “Democratic socialist” soldiers because they served during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, or dismiss and insult Americans who fought in Viet Nam, Korea, and Iraq (similarly invading foreign lands who neither threatened, attacked, nor otherwise provoked America). Does the Red Army, who, more than any other, won the war in the European theatre, deserve no praise on account of Stalin’s being every bit as much a murderous totalitarian as Hitler? Of course not.

    Mr. Gauland is absolutely right to praise the achievements of the German soldiers and sailors who fought in the Second World War, and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts none of his detractors is a combat veteran. Not one.

    *The smart-assed internal quotation-marks around the work achievements I duly noted and removed; this now rampant practice of quotations not to indicate the verbatim words of another, but to highlight the writer’s own disdain for some word, be it an actual quotation or not, is puerile and tiresome.

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  75. @Lin
    "Chinese people aren’t much into negrophilia. Good for them..."
    You're a bit misinformed:
    Chinese prefer females with fair skin, many centuries before coming in contact with Europeans.
    But males with fair skin is a bad mime, akin to being sissy if not fagotry. The most prominent martial hero Guan-yu is said to have a red or dark complexion.
    We Chinese have our Black Panther: The first hero in Chinese martial art fiction actually was a black man(sadly also once a slave), dated back to the Tang dynasty
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunlun_Nu

    Ok, I get that women prefer tall dark strangers, but that’s not the same as saying they have jungle fever. Anyway, my point was Chinese and Blacks don’t usually get along. No sexual point of view implied.
    BTW, I’m intrigued by this tiny Negrito martial artist of old. Good story.

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  76. @The Alarmist
    Can you or I ever break into the Political-Bureaucy-Lobbyist-Thinktank-MIC-Academic gravy-train? We can try, like all those Tea-Party groups, but we will either be crushed or coopted.

    It wasn't long ago that our own merchants were poisoning our forebears, so yeah, we institutionalised and regulated common decency precisely so that Halliburton doesn't poison the troops, at least not immediately.

    I see plenty of Western managers push pet projects or kill others at great destruction to wealth ... that is hardly a chinese thing.

    You’re not understanding what I wrote. Utopianism is a waste of time. American corruption transfers money and Chinese “corruption” results in stunningly preventable deaths and the defeat of the original project. Or compare Detroit and Chicago: both ate massively corrupt, one is non-functional and one is like an advertisement for how great corruption can be.

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  77. @Johann Ricke

    Israel will have relatively high spending percentage because it does a lot of hi tech stuff.
     
    The real reason is that it is surrounded by sworn enemies numbering in the hundreds of millions, and is 9 miles wide at its narrowest point. The reality is that man has been hunting man for recreation, money and everlasting fame for thousands of years. How many wealthy people from antiquity has anyone heard of? How many kings even? If not for his conquest of Troy, would Agamemnon's name be known outside of the minds of area historians?

    Deliberately missing the point. We all know the situation. But Israel aren’t planning human-wave attacks or trench warfare (relatively cheap in cash terms) to defend what they have , or to attack what other people have, they are conserving Israelis and putting their trust “in iron tube and reeking shard“, or the 21st century equivalent.

    Iron tubes and reeking shards, 21st century style, are pretty expensive even if clever people are making them.

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    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Deliberately missing the point. We all know the situation. But Israel aren’t planning human-wave attacks or trench warfare (relatively cheap in cash terms) to defend what they have , or to attack what other people have, they are conserving Israelis and putting their trust “in iron tube and reeking shard“, or the 21st century equivalent.
     
    My point was that Israel's Muslim enemies have tried their luck in the past and will try their luck again (and again) in the future. Nobody can be Muhammad, so everyone wants to be the next best thing - Saladin. Their sheer numbers, coupled with Israel's lack of space for a strategic retreat to wear out the enemy's logistical capabilities mean that Israel needs a qualitative advantage in weaponry, and that is the real meaning of its large expenditures, relative to GDP. The day its economy stops giving it the capability to maintain that edge is that day that Israel's days are finally numbered.
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  78. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Russia trails India and KSA, but they’re the biggest “threat.”
     
    India, and KSA, aren't murdering people in England (at least none that we know of). OTOH none of the 9/11 perps were from Russia or India.

    We could get Russia to persuade Iran to nuke KSA while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits - and by a wide margin.

    We could persuade Israel to nuke Iran while we stand aside. But the unintended consequences would outweigh the benefits - and by a wide margin.

    Most things are neither simple nor easy when it comes to geopolitics. (and yes, there is a similar argument for Israel - but the result is the same)

    Being the global cop on the beat is a dirty job, and the somebody will be us or the Chinese. I wouldn't mind it, but the idiots in charge are indirectly controlled by leftists.

    Now, if we could get all the leftist together in some country other than the USA, I'd vote to nuke that country - unintended consequences be damned!

    For all we know, it’s MI-5, MI-6, or the Clinton machine killing people in the UK. Show us some credible evidence the Russians did it before loosing the neocon dogs of war. What upside is there for the Russians to use a readily identifiable substance that can be linked, strongly or weakly, to them?

    As has been said elsewhere in these pages, you could find a common criminal to off them the old fashioned way and make it look like a simple violent crime, of which there is no shortage in the UK these days.

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  79. @YetAnotherAnon
    Deliberately missing the point. We all know the situation. But Israel aren't planning human-wave attacks or trench warfare (relatively cheap in cash terms) to defend what they have , or to attack what other people have, they are conserving Israelis and putting their trust "in iron tube and reeking shard", or the 21st century equivalent.

    Iron tubes and reeking shards, 21st century style, are pretty expensive even if clever people are making them.

    Deliberately missing the point. We all know the situation. But Israel aren’t planning human-wave attacks or trench warfare (relatively cheap in cash terms) to defend what they have , or to attack what other people have, they are conserving Israelis and putting their trust “in iron tube and reeking shard“, or the 21st century equivalent.

    My point was that Israel’s Muslim enemies have tried their luck in the past and will try their luck again (and again) in the future. Nobody can be Muhammad, so everyone wants to be the next best thing – Saladin. Their sheer numbers, coupled with Israel’s lack of space for a strategic retreat to wear out the enemy’s logistical capabilities mean that Israel needs a qualitative advantage in weaponry, and that is the real meaning of its large expenditures, relative to GDP. The day its economy stops giving it the capability to maintain that edge is that day that Israel’s days are finally numbered.

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  80. @Intelligent Dasein
    The idea that governments would deliberately crank up armaments spending well in advance of planned hostilities invokes an element of rationality in these affairs which I think is being far too generously conceded. Of all the major nations in the world today, it is possibly only China and Russia that possess the degree of internal organization necessary to put such plans into effect. And even so, China still has its immense shadow banking system and refractory tycoons, and Russia its oligarchs. Most countries couldn't even tolerate the idea of the entire nation being "in form" for this one particular end. The USA certainly could not.

    But the world is marching visibly closer to major war with each passing day. Defense spending may not tell the tale, but diplomacy certainly does. Russia, in a last bid to warn the West to cease further provocation, has just demonstrated the viability of her new hypersonic missiles. And what does the West do in response? Britain has expelled Russian diplomats, escalating a fracas precipitated over the false-flag poisoning of a double agent. The make-believe nation of Ukraine has just been awarded special status within NATO. This may be called blundering into war with all the subtlety of a drunken elephant.

    And to crown all, Rex Tillerson is out at State Department. Not that I cared for Tillerson; but his replacement, Mike Pompeo, is a globalist stooge with a resume that comes directly from Neocon central casting. This is so far the foulest and ugliest swamp creature to be so elevated by drain-the-swamp Trump, and his coming at the worst possible time precludes any further mention of eleventy-D chess. Whatever may have happened---whether Trump was lying all along, or had a change of heart, or is merely puddy in the hands of Deep State wormtongues---it is clear he is no longer our guy.

    It is also clear that the United States will be completely destroyed by war irrespective of what happens on the battlefield. We are a deeply indebted, entitlement-ridden and fractured society of geriatric Baby Boomers, Special Snowflakes, and sullen Third World hordes. All the arrangements on which our daily lives depend, from the just-in-time delivery of cheap Chinese crap to the multi-trillion dollar transfer payments to the unproductive, will collapse under the pressure of general mobilization. Not that anyone will recognize the obvious inevitability of these developments; violent, bumbling mobs will continue to demand their gibs in a world which no longer has a place for them.

    The final countdown has started. Another global war is inevitable, this one fated to destroy the last vestiges of Western legitimacy and power. Our many decades of waste and foolishness are bearing their fruit. It's too late to stop it now.

    There can never be a general mobilization in the US. That would entail the drafting of women, which will never happen.

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  81. @PiltdownMan
    I wonder if the high percentage figures for Oman, South Sudan and Republic of the Congo reflect not just a state of chronic internal war in these countries, but also tells us that these are tribal societies in which the defense budget is a giant welfare scheme that provides salaried jobs to large numbers of kinsmen and traditional warriors in such societies.

    Or maybe both those are just the same thing.

    Oman is a very peaceful place — no chronic war, internal or otherwise, there. But your other hypothesis could be true. In the small, rich GCC countries (Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain) the police and armed forces are actually comprised of lots of non-citizens — e.g., Pakis and Sudanese who have been in the country a long time and in some cases were born there, but are not citizens. (Are there any other countries, er, other than the U.S., with a large number of non-citizens in the armed forces?)

    I wonder if Oman is the same? It’s not nearly as rich as those other countries, and Omanis are the only ones in this group that actually work in lower-level jobs (e.g., hotel desk clerk, taxi driver) in significant numbers, so maybe they would be willing to serve as grunts in the armed forces unlike Qataris, Kuwaitis, etc.

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