In the face of floundering Western economies governments must finally address obsessive military spending
Nations will always require a military capability to defend their sovereignty, but when nations are enslaved to militarism the enemy is within and this addictive behavior is ruinous.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual global military expenditures total 1.2 trillion dollars. Most of this is spent by the US and its allies. In a list of the top fifteen countries in military expenditures only two are not US allies; Russia and China. The military expenditures of these two countries combined are a mere 153 billion leaving the remaining amount – of over a trillion dollars spent by the US and its allies.
In its dying days the USSR was spending 35% of its annual budget on armaments and this was one of the main reasons for its implosion in the late 1980’s. Today the US is still fighting the Cold War as it spends almost half its national budget on military spending. It spends more money on “defense” than almost all other nations combined.
The US is by far the leading militarist state and it is also the world’s leading arms dealer as it dispenses arms globally through its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. So we can not sit back complacently and say it is an American problem, it is ours too, and it’s global. We contribute to it when we uncritically accept armaments like the F 35 which is arguably an inappropriate choice and a needlessly expensive one.
The fuselage of the showroom models of this aircraft are emblazoned with flags of other NATO countries as they too are on the hook to buy this aircraft. It is the product of a cartel. When we hear the word “cartel,” along with “non-competitive biding,” we should immediately exercise some skepticism as to whether the aircraft is the appropriate choice or one foisted off on unwary politicians by the manufacturer.
We are told all NATO countries must have the same aircraft for “interoperability.” But this probably has more to do with maintaining the exorbitant profit margins of the manufacturer than the specific requirements of the cartel’s member countries. The story of the F35 has more to do with mass marketing than with the particular needs of various countries.
Given that the world enjoys a time of relative peace with the exception of an overblown war on terrorism and the absence of any other imperial power challenging the US and its allies this out of control spending becomes an obscenity especially so when Western economies are floundering.
Western governments led on by the US assume the heavy handed militarism of US foreign policy is what is required to maintain world peace. In fact it has the opposite effect. Instead of maintaining peace and global security we are suffering continuous warfare. The so-called war on terrorism is really a war against peoples resisting American colonization. Countries like Iran and North Korea do not have extra-territorial ambitions they merely want to be left alone. They want a nuclear capability as a deterrent and must surely realize the folly of using nuclear weapons as anything other than deterrent. Despotic as these regimes may bethey are not going to be made over by blunted militarism and gunboat diplomacy.
Presently, we are totally incapable of considering the obvious alternative that if the US would stand down from its addictive militarism, its constant threats and provocations against other countries and practice a more humane and altruistic foreign policy we might just have a more peaceful and secure world. Its heady desire to remake the world in its own image is beyond its grasp and doomed to failure.
Of the 152 countries listed by SIPRI Afghanistan is listed as 98th at 272 million dollars and most of this is no doubt as a result of Western aid.
So why are the world’s most richly endowed militaries losing a regional war to a country that spends almost nothing?
How is it the US has spent almost a trillion dollars (not to mention the costs to its allies) on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and leaves only broken countries in its wake?
We are constantly told by military pundits that we are in the age of “irregular” warfare where the rules have changed and conventional arms and strategies are not applicable. The F-35, for example, is not going to win the war in Afghanistan. It is merely another very expensive oversold war toy.
In our enslavement to militarism it seems our political classes cannot comprehend that this huge military redundancy is a wanton waste of revenues better spent elsewhere-global warming for a start. Excessive military spending does not create real wealth or prosperity. It serves only to sustain a monopolistic corporate welfarism and results in continuous and utterly debilitating warfare that is a huge drain on the public purse while hollowing the home front.
Politicians, the media, and academics slide over the critical issue of an out a control militarism with ludicrously specious arguments and we allow them to do so. The self-imposed tyranny of militarism is the taboo issue nobody has the courage to address. They are going to have to be shamed into addressing its exorbitant excesses. The retreat from governance must end and progressive values prevail.
Maybe it will take a transnational tax revolt to bring them to their senses.
Historians are going to mark this era as one of delusional behavior and denialism on the part of governments and leaders; especially so as we denigrate the hard won lessons and sacrifices of the 20th century. Where leadership and accountability are allowed to lapse servitude grows exponentially.
Its time boys, time to grow up. Put away the war toys and start saving our precious world in very real terms.