US Boosts Defense Spending – To What End?

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Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was the pledge to “rebuild the US military”, and it is one of the few of his initiatives that appears to enjoy broad bipartisan support. The US Senate’s version of the defense appropriations bill provides for what amounts to a dramatic 10% increase in defense spending, or more than even the Trump Administration requested. The bill passed with a strong bipartisan majority and with hardly any debate. There is no reason to expect the House of Representatives will not follow suit. This naturally raises the question: what is behind the sudden interest in boosting US defense spending, after a decade and a half of continuous war?

The official reason for the boost, and one that has some merit, is the sorry state of the US military. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus the various and sundry other operations against Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, not to mention the confrontations with Russia, China, and North Korea, have left the US military stretched thin and demoralized. Much of the Army and Marine equipment pool has incurred significant wear and tear from operating in the hot and dusty Middle East conditions. The air force has been reduced to a collection of on-call bomb trucks supporting land operations. Even the navy, easily the least-engaged of the three services, has had to station carrier battle groups to contribute their airwings to the ground support mission, and thus justify the existence of the costly carrier fleet. The result is a force with significant morale and training problems which manifest themselves in crashing planes and colliding warships.

It is doubtful, however, that Congress is so eagerly “supporting the troops” for the reasons outlined above. As the recent US elections have demonstrated, the US economy’s softness is leading to unpredictable and uncontrollable election outcomes. Moreover, ideological opposition makes public spending extremely difficult to provide, with defense spending being the one solitary exception. The members of Congress are therefore supporting the defense appropriations bill with the expectation it will create jobs in their districts and states. Defense contractors themselves go out of their way to “educate” the legislators of the benefits associated with supporting this bill.

Donald Trump’s own motives likely aren’t all that different. While he campaigned on, for example, a “trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure,” the chances of such a program being passed by Congress are between slim and none. So offering a de-facto trillion-dollar increase in defense spending is the next best thing, as it may well translate into enough jobs in key states to ensure a margin of victory in the 2020 election.

But there is also a deeper sense to this effort, as the US establishment seems to try to re-enact the 1980s. And for a good reason. It was quite literally the last decade of America’s greatness, the last decade in which the country elected a president by a landslide–Ronald Reagan in 1984–and the last decade in which it scored a genuine, unalloyed geopolitical triumph in the form of the collapse of USSR and the emergence of the US as the sole hegemonic power. Therefore it is no surprise that US decisionmakers want to use it as a blueprint for repeating the earlier success.

Indeed, if one looks at the origins of America’s 1980s triumph, it is easy to see similarities between the current policies and US policies of 1970s and 1980s. The prescription for success looks something like this: first, end unpopular costly quagmire wars, retrench, carry out domestic reforms liberalizing the economy, run up national debt through massive deficit spending, pump hundreds of billions of dollars of new spending into a revitalized all-volunteer force benefiting from a technological leap forward, and watch the geopolitical benefits practically reap themselves!

But it’s unlikely this feat can be repeated. There is no next generation of US weapons comparable to the Abrams and Bradley armored vehicles, F-15 and F-16 fighters, or AEGIS destroyers that would provide the US with the sort of qualitative advantage it enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems highly unlikely the US will be able to extricate itself from the debilitating wars in the Middle East. Trump is no Nixon, he lacks the foreign policy credibility sufficient to persuade the US establishment to accept at least a temporary loss of influence in the Middle East. Most importantly, while Reagan benefited from a stagflationary economy that benefited from liberalization and deregulation, and a low level of national debt, Trump has neither. US economy is suffering from neoliberalism and globalization taken to their logical extremes, not over-regulation or over-taxation. The US national debt is reaching its historic maximums. And, last but not least, China today is an economic powerhouse while Russia’s economy is on a far more sound footing than the Soviet economy was in the 1970s and 1980s.

The danger here is that, aware that the time is not on their side, the US elites may engage in more international adventurism to a far greater extent than Reagan did in Grenada and Lebanon. Unfortunately, there are few indications the US elites have accommodated themselves to the new, post-hegemonic, international balance of power, and the boost in military spending is a reflection of their efforts to recapture past glories. But it is unlikely they can reverse the process of US hegemonic decline. Indeed, this effort actually represents a still-heavier burden on the already weak US economy.

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  • RTA (Bob or Al)

    Very god and accurate video. Thanks.

  • Alan Foo Ho Kok

    Just print , so no problem

    • as

      It’s only works if people use USD.

  • Borkil Borkilovitch

    I’m not sure we can call the US economy “weak”, it was weakened the last decade due to the financial crisis and a relatively low success in their military projects (F-22/35 programs), but their economy restarted under Obama administration, and they still have the dollar as a major trade currency which give them a whole lot of power, But indeed their global power is declining, China and in a lower scale Russia both modernize their army equipment in a very large scale and very quickly. But Russian economy suffer because of western sanctions, and China’s economy is slowing down as well, and to be objective, but both of these countries suffers a lot more of the corruption, I think they should take care of this problem seriously to be really effective against the US / NATO.

    • as

      Mostly true although we can’t really measure the level of corruption in all of those super power for comparison and US/NATO/EU isn’t exactly on the better side.
      You also forgot to compare the stability of their internal politics which make the US and major power in EU volatile and vulnerable.

    • EL ZORRO

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH What a joke, the U.S owed China 4 trillions dollars the U.S have 20 trillions $ of budge deficit and over 120 trillions $ in unfunded liabilities, Russia has NOT FOREIGN DEB, and DON’T USE THE DOLLAR on their transactions, the dollar is on his last leg, more and more countries are DUMPING THE DOLLAR, now they don’t need DOLLARS to buy OIL IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET…THE FIAT PETRO DOLLAR IS DEAD, and with it, their WAR MAKING MACHINE.

  • Nic_223

    This article misunderstands the role and purpose of defense spending in the US economy. It is in fact a large R&D subsidy for US high tech industry. Unlike the popular theory that technological innovation is driven by some guy in his garage it is actually driven by large scale collectivised investment. Most technologies that have driven US high tech industry were first developed in the defense sector. Think of smart phones. Most components from the internet,GPS to LCD screens to micro processors to battery technology were all first developed in defense programs There are countless spin offs from this technology in various industries aero space,car manufacturing,bio-tech . The public carries the risk and the cost , and the private sector then takes the profits from technologies that become mature and profitable.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      russian brain is not able to understand such thing. spin off for them is to drink liter vodka and the brain is spinned off .DDD

      • Gerry Hiles

        So that is why the US has to use Russian rocket engines? So that is why no one could get to the ISS without Russian rockets? So that is why the US has nothing comparable with the S-400 and S-500 systems? So that is why Russian aviation runs rings around the F-35? So that is why Russia can electronically disable Aegis warships? So that is why Russia can disable Tomahawk missiles, but send cruise missiles 2,000 kms from the Caspian Sea to precision strike ISIS targets in Syria? So that is why Russia is defeating the US in Syria and the ME generally.
        .
        Get back in your basement and play some video game, watch the MSM and whatever else you do that’s mindless.

    • EL ZORRO

      Exactly and the military made money by passing their technologies to members of the RULING CLUB to keep the MILITARY R&D goin on, there are not garage “inventors”.

      • Gerry Hiles

        So? What has this to do with hegemonic decline?

    • Gerry Hiles

      What you say is largely true, but I can’t see what point you are making in the context of this video.

  • Rob

    In American and UK parliaments, daily fight with finance ministers on budget and expenses is a common matter. In both countries the economic collapse level can be found by the information that how much both governments charge tuition fees from students, or how much are the visa and passport fees, income taxes, insurances, custom duties, vat, medical charges, property buying and rents values etc.

    Students don’t like to do study but like entertainment. When in a country government start charging students so it means that country economy is now crippled. This is a prominent clear indication of economic collapse.

    Now federal governments in both countries will put force on other states in the unity to transfer further funds, if other states in the unity are unable to afford further pressure from the federal governments then they will protest for independence.

  • samo war
  • Freespirit

    “US Boosts Defense Spending – To What End?” …….The HEGEMONY of this Planet, Depopulation of those who wont co-operate and the “Military Industrial Complex” to maintain SLAVERY of those who remain alive.

    Time to bone-up on the RULE Book, the “Talmud” and the PLAN book -“Protocols of Zion”

  • Keith Smith

    would a collapse of the EU increase US power? TTIP is just around the corner to be implemented with any nation wishing to leave

  • Jesus

    It is synonymous of comparing the Roman Empire during the reign of Caligula or Diocletian ( a couple of centuries later) to the reign of Caesar, the triumvirate, or the republic.
    In the 80’s the US economy was a balanced and meaningful economy with all economic indicators pointing to a solid trend.
    It generated significant tax revenue that allowed US to build a 600 ship navy with significant procurements for the air force and army as well. With such armed forces US fought two wars in Iraq displaying its armed prowess; not much has been done since then, It is the foundation of current US forces today; stagnat defense budgets during the Obama administration minimized the war readiness of all armed branches, weapon programs were cancelled after hundreds of billions were spent on R&D and initial development work…..it all benefitted the defense industrial complex.

    Current budget increases is not going to significantly increase the US war readiness against a peer enemy, most likely the added expenditures will be used to acquire spare parts, improve maintenance, modernize and upgrade of the existing equipment, while new deliveries of mediocre weapons systems will continue at determined levels.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Defense spending to what?

    The increased spending is to be used for “creative destruction” of the shown non-integrating countries, to smash them into US military administration and control over their ressources.

    Countries outside USA, the integrating countries, are to be exposed to threats and blackmail to get US controlled ressources imported.

    This strategy will be difficult to oppose by even Russia and China and dont count on anybody else.
    Dark times ahead folks.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/416b17ab8bbd8dedad507ab2ca951fa1ad7657e15c153ec110f4fababb934380.jpg

  • 55lanfag

    I’m pretty sure in the very near future we’ll start seeing some vets from this current tour in Syria giving their version of what really went on there. You can bet a lot of the good people still in the army are outraged with what they’re being ordered to do. They definitely can see beyond their CO’s explanation as to what’s going on.

  • Karl

    To what end? More cash in your congressman’s pockets.

  • Solomon Krupacek

    fool amricans. they dont understand, as less money for army, as better is the army. look at moscoow! the reduced the military budget. also jesus tilks here, ruusia does not need money for defense :DDDDDD

    so, in reality, the elevation of yankee military budget is only russian cabal.

  • Rob

    American and UK economy toss.
    There was one time when these governments were run smoothly. Economy was strong. They funded education sector. There were no academic fee to charge from UK and American students.

    But now economy has been collapsed in America and UK. Now they charge heavy fees from Students and students cannot afford education. Who gonna pay $10,000 per annum in America or £9,000 in UK. Its ridiculous. 30% private colleges in America and UK shut down because of poor number of students’ enrolment. Both governments now put further pressure on institutions to increase fees because there is no fund for employees.

    This bad economy will also put pressure on primary schools education in America and UK.
    If you destroy other nations in the world then your nation will also be destroyed. In Scotland tuition fees for their own students are £1800 per annum but for rest of UK £9000. Scotland knows that UK economy have been collapsed. Therefore, Scotland wants independence.

    In both countries basic life needs are slowly disappearing. Prices going up and economy going down. More and more people becoming homeless because both governments selling public residential properties cheap in auctions to meet their daily expenses and then more greedy property tycoons buying these properties.

    Some army soldiers that have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq are now homeless and sleeping rough in the streets and some in the homeless charity hostels.
    —————————–
    Many people in America and UK Pass their time on charity stuff that is food banks, day centers, soup kitchens and used cloths with full of germs.
    Therefore, in both countries the mortality rate has been increased to shocking high. Unemployment, injustice, Depression, anxiety, heart attacks and suicide cases are common factors in increase of mortality rate in both countries.

  • kurdi aram

    NordKoreans will destroy small devil namely Israel in the coming months.

  • Davki

    “Defense Spending” is a linguistic monstrosity. At least call it “military spending”, more accurately, it should be “war spending”.

  • Croydon Kemp

    The next Old?NEW generation floats in the air and flies to the stars. Check your facts.

  • EL ZORRO

    “US BOOSTS DEFENSE SPENDING – TO WHAT END?”…The UNITED STATES has been at war for 222 years out of 239 years. That’s 93% of the time!, Since the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, It grow up TOO POWERFUL AND ARROGANT and wreak ruin upon the earth NATIONS and the human race.

  • Gerry Hiles

    What a good assessment, I can’t think of anything to add except OIL. The US was “great” from about 1900 to 1960 because of abundant, domestic cheap easy oil. But that had peaked by 1970 and that is why (mainly) the petrodollar agreement was signed with Saudi Arabia … that and coming off the gold standard, which allowed the U$D to be the global reserve currency with unlimited “printing”, though not actual money, instead treasury notes with borrowing from the private Federal Reserve (Rothschild) Bank. Hence massive trillions of debt. So no way can the US be “great again”, for all of the reasons stated in this video + lack of easy oil and the ending petrodollar/global reserve currency … Russia and China are seeing to that with alternatives to SWIFT, for instance. BUT will the Empire of Chaos go for the Samson Option?