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Memo to the Next Administration: Defense Spending Must be for Actual Defense
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In a disturbing indication of how difficult it would be to bring military spending in line with actual threats overseas, House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) told President Obama last week that his war funding request of $11.6 billion for the rest of the year was far too low. That figure for the last two months of 2016 is larger than Spain’s budget for the entire year! And this is just a “war-fighting” supplemental, not actual “defense” spending! More US troops are being sent to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and the supplemental request is a way to pay for them without falling afoul of the “sequestration” limits.

The question is whether this increase in US military activity and spending overseas actually keeps us safer, or whether it simply keeps the deep state and the military-industrial complex alive and well-funded.

Unfortunately many Americans confuse defense spending with military spending. The two terms are used almost interchangeably. But there is a huge difference. I have always said that I wouldn’t cut anything from the defense budget. We need a robust defense of the United States and it would be foolish to believe that we have no enemies or potential enemies.

The military budget is something very different from the defense budget. The military budget is the money spent each year not to defend the United States, but to enrich the military-industrial complex, benefit special interests, regime-change countries overseas, maintain a global US military empire, and provide defense to favored allies. The military budget for the United States is larger than the combined military spending budget of the next seven or so countries down the line.

To get the military budget in line with our real defense needs would require a focus on our actual interests and a dramatic decrease in spending. The spending follows the policy, and the policy right now reflects the neocon and media propaganda that we must run the rest of the world or there will be total chaos. This is sometimes called “American exceptionalism,” but it is far from a “pro-American” approach.

Do we really need to continue spending hundreds of billions of dollars manipulating elections overseas? Destabilizing governments that do not do as Washington tells them? Rewarding those who follow Washington’s orders with massive aid and weapons sales? Do we need to continue the endless war in Afghanistan even as we discover that Saudi Arabia had far more to do with 9/11 than the Taliban we have been fighting for a decade and a half? Do we really need 800 US military bases in more than 70 countries overseas? Do we need to continue to serve as the military protection force for our wealthy NATO partners even though they are more than capable of defending themselves? Do we need our CIA to continue to provoke revolutions like in Ukraine or armed insurgencies like in Syria?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then I am afraid we should prepare for economic collapse in very short order. Then, with our economy in ruins, we will face the wrath of those countries overseas which have been in the crosshairs of our interventionist foreign policy. If the answer is no, then we must work to convince our countrymen to reject the idea of Empire and embrace the United States as a constitutional republic that no longer goes abroad seeking monsters to slay. The choice is ours.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump 
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  1. Yeah, “defense” is obviously a euphemism. Call it ‘maintaining the empire’, or something.

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    • Replies: @Fredrik
    Which is why Trump won't dismantle NATO after all.

    I'd be happy if the US (and the rest of the West) left the Middle East alone and just guarded the border. I don't care if it means Russia or Qatar rules there instead.
    , @USAMNESIA
    Department of Offense

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded…War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes…and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few…No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”—James Madison
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  2. CK says:

    Then why don’t you put yourself forward to Pres. Trump as a Secretary of Defense or Secretary of the Treasury that could be trusted?
    I have voted for you three times, I would like to see you obtain a position where you could wield the power as well as pontificate about it.

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  3. Svigor says:

    Memo to libertardians. You have zero influence over Trump, and rightly so. Go pound sand.

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    • Replies: @jtgw
    Do you want the neocons to stay in charge of foreign policy?
  4. Fredrik says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Yeah, "defense" is obviously a euphemism. Call it 'maintaining the empire', or something.

    Which is why Trump won’t dismantle NATO after all.

    I’d be happy if the US (and the rest of the West) left the Middle East alone and just guarded the border. I don’t care if it means Russia or Qatar rules there instead.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    I saw that as exaggeration on his part. The best case scenario is that we stay in NATO but insist on a purely defensive function for the alliance, i.e. no more "humanitarian interventions" a la Libya or Kosovo, and that we stop trying to expand NATO or form alliances with countries outside NATO, like Ukraine. The worst case scenario is that the neocons and Deep State insiders persuade Trump to become a hawk on Russia, in which case we'll have made no progress.
  5. jtgw says:
    @Svigor
    Memo to libertardians. You have zero influence over Trump, and rightly so. Go pound sand.

    Do you want the neocons to stay in charge of foreign policy?

    Read More
  6. jtgw says:
    @Fredrik
    Which is why Trump won't dismantle NATO after all.

    I'd be happy if the US (and the rest of the West) left the Middle East alone and just guarded the border. I don't care if it means Russia or Qatar rules there instead.

    I saw that as exaggeration on his part. The best case scenario is that we stay in NATO but insist on a purely defensive function for the alliance, i.e. no more “humanitarian interventions” a la Libya or Kosovo, and that we stop trying to expand NATO or form alliances with countries outside NATO, like Ukraine. The worst case scenario is that the neocons and Deep State insiders persuade Trump to become a hawk on Russia, in which case we’ll have made no progress.

    Read More
  7. Realist says:

    Trump came flying out of the chute fighting to be….a one term president.

    It appears the only promise he plans to keep is throwing lots of money at our already bloated military budget.

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  8. USAMNESIA says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Yeah, "defense" is obviously a euphemism. Call it 'maintaining the empire', or something.

    Department of Offense

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded…War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes…and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few…No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”—James Madison

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ben Frank
    Agree!

    "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it." - MLK
  9. Ben Frank says:
    @USAMNESIA
    Department of Offense

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded…War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes…and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few…No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”—James Madison

    Agree!

    “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” – MLK

    Read More
  10. Rehmat says:

    Dr. Paul – Have you forgotten what the Organized Jewry did to you way back when you made a similar recommendation over wasting taxpayers’ money on Israel’s defense?

    In February 2011 – America’s leading Muslim-basher, Israel-Firster David Horowitz, had accused Rep. Ron Paul of being “a crackpot” and “vicious anti-Semite“. Horowitz claimed that Ron Paul is an ‘anti-Semite’ because of Paul’s proposal to end USAID to the Zionist entity (watch a video below). Ron Paul had said that the US is under huge debt and cannot afford to send money to other countries. Israel is a rich parasite which has sucked more than $3 trillion from American taxpayers since 1970s.

    The other Israel Hasbara professional propagandists are saying that Ron Paul may not be an ‘anti-Semite’ – but all anti-Semites support Rep. Ron Paul. Why? Because they believe the Jews incite wars in which Christians and Muslims die or some influential people have ties to AIPAC, or are Jewish, or even have dual citizenship (US and Israel).

    https://rehmat1.com/2011/11/25/rep-ron-paul-is-a-vicious-anti-semite/

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