US Military Spending & Foreign Policy
The United States defense budget amounts to almost $1,000,000,000,000 dollars (yes, one trillion) if you include $163 billion directly allocated for the "War on Terrorism" and well over $200 billion in related programs. Even the base budget is over half a trillion dollars. This makes up near a third of the total US budget and almost half of actual revenue collected through taxes and other sources.
This is not only an unsustainable, but unwarranted amount of spending causing undo hardship to the citizens of the United States by redirecting resources from economic activity into non-productive use.
I have always supported a strong national defense policy, but the key element of this policy is defense. This means the ability to repel external or internal actions detrimental to the United States and its protectorate territories.
It does not mean using force to change the political environment in sovereign nations.
It does not mean maintaining standing military personnel and bases in other countries.
It does not mean protecting assets of American individuals or companies overseas.
It does not mean having 1 million active duty personnel and almost that many reservists (one for every 200 citizens) preparing or engaged in war type activities.
It does mean having well trained men and women to efficiently carry out defense of the country if needed.
It does mean investing in technological solutions to provide that defense more efficiently (and not necessarily selling it to every country that we feel politically friendly toward today).
Therefore I advocate for the following measures:
- Closing or minimizing over a period of five years (to minimize local economy disruption) US overseas bases in countries like Germany and Japan.
- Utilizing outside, independent organizations to recommend massive efficiency changes to military operations. Why does it take 5,680 persons to operate an aircraft carrier fielding 60 or so planes of which 3,200 are used just for ship operations?
- Untangling the US from aggressive conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in a fast and orderly manner making clear that US policy has changed and our crusade has ended.
- Realize that Homeland Security has more to do with restricting citizen rights than it does defeating terrorist activities therefore redirecting efforts toward victim crimes that have been committed other than crimes that might be committed.
- As the largest trading power in the world we can use economic sanctions to influence other countries' behavior. I don't mean their internal behavior and I don't mean withholding non-military goods and services. If they wish to sell their products in the US they must maintain non-aggressive behavior not only of their government, but of their residents. We will be most happy to sell them all our goods and services at market prices.
This is not isolationist behavior, this is good neighbor behavior. Now if a sovereign government does declare war and inflict hostility on the United States or does not contain the activities of it's residents from the same I believe our actions should be precise, deliberate, and consistently applied.
Am I a pacifist? No. Am I a war monger-er? No. Do I have all the right answers? No.
Am I saying we should completely readdress the traditional function and structure of our military and create a conversation which serves the common US citizen? Yes.
I believe we can substantially reduce the burden of military activity on citizens by not being reactive to an attitude of fear and instead rationally creating an environment of confidence with the goal of reducing military and related expenditures by 50% while maintaining the defense of the nation and it's people.