Economics of US militarism

The Soviet Union was a super power in terms of military and spying, but economically is was burdened with debt and the economy collapsed. Now the USA is no Soviet Union, but lessons can be learned. This post argues the economy of the US is being destoryed by American militarism.

Lets first take a look where the US is spending your money with the deployment of US military troops that subsidies foreign economies. The US is in more than 150 countries around the world.

The following deployments of US military do not include defense contractors and private firms which cost the US tax payer a fortune, but are hidden costs. Nor do they include the Spy agencies like the CIA which have secret deployments and high, almost unlimited budgets.

These are rich countries that have been getting free rides for years and strong lobbies keep your dollars floating these rich countries, that frankly only love our money not us. US ground soldiers stationed to protect rich countries.

  • Germany 54,198
  • Italy 10,771
  • UK 9,346
  • Japan 40,178
  • South Korea, 28,500
  • Bahrain – 1,894
  • Spain – 1,483
  • Belgium – 1,234

Middle Eastern Countries on the other side of the world with US legions.

  • Kuwait 10,548
  • Turkey – 1,511
  • Iraq – 49,000
  • Afghanistan – 103,700
  • Bahrain – 1,894

Of course there are more. We are in 150+ counties in the world.

I have heard we going to build up our military presence in countries like Australia, Poland. There is GOP talk of war with Iran.

There are many more countries that make up the 150 + countries the US is in. Each person stationed cost you money, a lot of money. Is this the foreign policy George Washington envisioned?

US militarism
The US no longer fight wars of defense, but wars of aggression. Is this not the same behavior the American colonies rebelled against?

George Washington warned against entangling alliances, foreign wars and his economic policy was more libertarian than Republican or Democrat.

During Soviet times, my wife who is from Eastern Europe said:

The last thing they cut was the military, national police and spy agencies. They would cut all social programs and medical benefits, help for the disabled, education, before they would cut the military.

This is exactly what the United States is like. Despite promises to the contrary, the military and CIA and other defense agencies have only grown and largely unaudited. There is even talk now of war with Iran if needed.

In the Union (Soviet), the generals would be riding in nice cars with a staff, everything was under the shroud of secrecy and for the protection of the citizens, because of threats internal and external, but we all knew the real story. Government was the problem. The idea that they were protecting us was simply not correct. Newspapers in our mainstream media like Pravda (the truth) did not highlight the fact that the military was bringing the economy down. While we were firing million dollar missiles in Afghanistan, the Average citizen was worried about day-to-day economic survival.  It was the military that precipitated the collapse of the Union.

Alas, in the end we were grateful, as the weight of that industrial military complex brought the fall of the tyranny and the Union as the economy could not longer sustain a military empire around the world. The Union is now a footnote in history.

  • Will America collapse? Many people think the USA will last forever. It will not. The only question is will it be a 250 year, footnote in history or looked back on as a shinning example of morality, an experiment that will last for a millennium.
  • Many people think the Roman Empire fell because of barbarian invasions, but the reality was when the Republic centralized to an Empire, management became too complex, internal conflicts, bickering, civil unrest, then economic problems, weakened the Empire so it could not defend itself. Economics always determines strength.

I know people do not see it this way, as the military is held in such high regard in the USA. However, it is what is weighing down economic growth. It is the ultimate crowding out effect. That is it displaces resources and bright young minds to be diverted to non productive activities and siphoned off economic capital that would have been used for the next start-up or medical breakthrough.

Without a strong economy we will lose our edge and that is the real security threat. Aggressive US foreign policy, causes hostility in the world and  inspires new legions of terrorists who use more radical weapons to replace the terrorists we shoot.  I mean the Swiss or Icelandic nations or even Costa Rica or Sweden or Japan in the modern world or the New Zealander or Canadians do not cause strong emotion and resentment like the USA. What is the difference?

Congressman Ron Paul  from Texas explains in his book Liberty Defined:

The United States is an empire by any definition, and quite possible the most aggressive , extended and expansionist in the history of the world. Do we really find it shocking that some people in the world don’t like us?

When 9/11 struck, the Commander and Chief of the US and President George Bush explained to the American people and the world that

these crazy people must have hated us because of our freedoms.

I personally find that explanation a little hard to swallow as the world is more complex than that.

Why I do not believe the US is looking after its citizens best interest

The party line in the USA is we spend trillions and drive up the debt to protect American citizens. Yet if this is true, explain to me why when I was abroad and attacked as an American, the State Department, in my impression, was more concerned about smoothing things over than finding the truth, until I really pressed the issue. Maybe the idea of protecting American citizens has nothing to do with the Federal government, but rather more about perpetuating their own bureaucracy?

Eighty billion dollars are spent on spy agencies to ‘protect the American people’. Possible secret financing by the Federal Reserve, with loads and guarantees to our friend to assist empire building, is unconfirmed but would not be surprising.

Money spent by the CIA and other security agencies receives virtually no oversight by the U.S. Congress. When problems results as a consequence, the military is frequently called upon to bring about order and congresses is coerced into supporting the efforts for supposed national security.  – Ron Paul – Liberty Defined

Why do we maintain an empire at horrible expense to the American people? Here are some ideas which are floating around Washington.

  1. Fear keeps the perpetual the need for government protection – People believe danger is lurking around the corner unless we fight every coroner of the world. It was true in Vietnam in the 60s and it is true in Iran today. When I am in Moscow, I can spot Americans a mile away, they often are looking over their shoulder, thinking they are in a strange wild country and anything could happen. Who are they some oil magnate? Generally the streets are safer in many parts of the world than any US city. Fear not reality is what motivates extreme behavior. Fear is what keeps the people in line and voting for more global wars.
  2. Spread our goodness to the world – Some Americans believe we are spreading democracy and goodness around the world. I personally find that strange since a more efficient way would be giving money to help sick and hungry children. What about the idea of spreading democracy? Hmm, are we are a democracy or a republic? I went to the State Department website and saw a statement that said something like, ‘these are the documents original documents, for the world to see, that support the idea of our great democracy’. I looked at the documents and the were the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the US Constitution etc. None of these documents contain the word democracy. These documents are all about protecting the rights of citizens, from oppressive governments. So before we try to beat the drums of war with spreading democracy to foreign nations, our leaders need to understand US history. Also maybe not all nations in the world share our history and culture and we should not try to force it on others with military occupation. What if foreign solders with a different ideology from you, were stationed in your town, who would you feel?
  3. Secure supplies of oil – I recall that when Rush Limbaugh the conservative political commentator announced the Kuwait/Iraq war was about the free flow of oil for American citizens to protect the American lifestyle. I was shocked he was trying to be honest. This modern-day mercantilism requires the protection of our trade routes and natural resource is a policy that makes no senses. In the long run the price of mercantilism and empire building is just too high. Every empire that tried it from Spain to Japan declined. We could just pay for the resources we need like Iceland does. The natural resource model for expansion makes no sense. The WWII Japanese were trying to build the East Asian co-prosperity sphere. When they felt the reproduces for their expansion was being limited they tried to expand their control with the military to secure control over the resources.
  • Whatever the reason the result is we have a worldwide presence of American troops. This cost you, your economic life as well as bread resentment towards Americans around the world. I have traveled in the Middle East. People do not resent you personally, they are usually welcoming, they do not like US foreign policy.

The German philosopher George Hegel wrote:

The world is a war of ideas.

The war in US foreign policy is this. The Republicans want more of the same 20th century foreign policy, more guns less butter. The Democrats say they are different, but continue business as usual.

Whoever wins the election 2012, social programs will be cut before the unaudited secret spy agencies like the CIA or the Military are looked at. This is a recipes for disaster. Short sighted general do not understand economics wins wars. Obama I will not vote for because, he is a continuation of Bush foreign Policy. If the US wants to keep spending money in this way and funding it with debt, the USA is heading for bigger trouble.

Many on the right who endorse the preventative war mentally of overseas aggression are sincere in their belief that this effort is required to defeat the enemies of liberty. They refuse to see any connection between a policy of perpetual war and the loss of civil liberties at home. They believe their own rhetoric. This deception only facilitates big government, deficits, and the dimishment of individual liberty they say they are fighting to preserve. -Ron Paul

Is a vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich a vote for yet another unfunded war of choice, this time with a nation, Iran, three times as large and populous as Iraq? Mitt says that if elected he will move carriers into the Persian Gulf and “prepare for war.” Newt is even more hawkish. America should continue “taking out” Iran’s nuclear scientists — i.e., assassinating them — but military action will probably be needed.  – Pat Buchanan

One more quote to consider in this next election.

He (King George) has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in persons of a distant people who never offended him. – Thomas Jefferson

On one hand, the USA is a superpower, and rich, not like the Soviet Union. Yet on the other hand when I am in Wal-Mart in anytown USA it does not look like we are a rich superpower, except for those connected to the bureaucracy of Washington, the military contractors or the people the government is helping bail out. Of course that is not universally true and I am be dramatic but it is to make a point.

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