Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

A Mindless ‘Strategy’ of More Militarism for Its Own Sake

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2023

If strategy is matching means to ends, Bolton has completely failed to do that.


John Bolton answers the question of guns vs. butter exactly as you would expect him to:

First, Washington and its allies must immediately increase defense budgets to Reagan-era levels relative to gross domestic product [bold mine-DL] and sustain such spending for the foreseeable future. Federal budgets need substantial reductions to eliminate deficits and shrink the national debt, so higher military spending necessitates even greater reductions domestically. So be it.

Bolton offers up this terrible idea as one of the “critical elements” of a strategy for opposing China and Russia. The whole of Bolton’s “strategy” amounts to calling for more militarism and expanded security commitments without any definition of the goals that the U.S. is supposed to be pursuing. If strategy is matching means to ends, Bolton has completely failed to do that. That’s not surprising, since Bolton is an ideologue and policy arsonist rather than a strategist, but it is telling that his idea of a “strategy” just boils down to demanding more weapons and then threatening others with them. It is a mindless “strategy” of more militarism for its own sake.

U.S. military spending is already at record high levels in real terms. The current topline number is an outrageous and indefensible $858 billion. Hardliners still have the gall to claim that this is inadequate. Even though the U.S. spends as much as the next nine states combined, we are told that even this insane amount of spending is too little. Six of those nine states are allies or clients, and India is a partner of sorts. The U.S. spends almost three times as much as Russia and China combined.

Going to Reagan-era levels of military spending as a percentage of GDP (between 6.1 and 6.8%) means nearly doubling U.S. military spending to something like $1.5 trillion per year. There is no legitimate reason to expand the military budget that much. The U.S. already spends far too much on the military given how extraordinarily secure it is. We don’t need to spend as much as we do, and spending more isn’t going to buy us additional security in any case. Further ramping up military spending is just stoking arms races for the sake of stoking them. It will not make anyone more secure, and it could very easily make the U.S. and its allies less secure than they currently are if it makes a major war more likely.

There is also no chance that most allied governments are going to engage in similar splurging.

See the rest here

Be seeing you


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