Since it’s Halloween, everyone’s focused on spooky things. Here’s a spooky thought: the U.S. national security strategy is “insolvent:”
Too few resources are chasing too many ongoing operations, forward presence commitments, and potential conflicts. U.S. military leaders have been unanimous in warning that they do not have enough troops, equipment, or funding to execute the national defense strategy. … There aren’t enough available dollars to sustain the current U.S. military strategy, which aims to simultaneously keep American global posture intact, conduct an ongoing military campaign against ISIL, sustain a global counterterrorism effort in its 16th year, and be ready for multiple contingencies against highly capable regional challengers.
Much like Maverick from the movie Top Gun, whose ego was accused of “writing checks your body can’t cash,” the United States after World War Two extended its umbrella of protection across the world, underwriting the security of what became known as the “free world.” While that may have been appropriate (debatable) at a time when our economy represented nearly half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, it is untenable now that our government borrows 10 to 20 percent of its annual budget, and rising interest rates make servicing the debt one of the fastest-growing Federal expenditures.
Russia. China. Iran. North Korea. Islamic terrorism. Border security. It’s essential the U.S. prioritize the threats (and in the case of Russia, perhaps take action to live less in conflict with other great powers). Trump was right on the campaign trail to say that many of our allies (*cough* Europe *cough*) need to shoulder a greater portion of the burden of their own defense. When we’re playing Twister with our national power to try to cover U.S. interests, it makes no sense to be subsidizing others at the same time.
Our current global posture is in many ways a bluff… and our potential adversaries know it. That creates both uncertainty and potential adventurism. It’s time our stated objectives and our commitment to maintaining them were brought back into balance.
But instead of just spending more on the military, maybe we should stop writing so many checks.
“[America} goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” – John Quincy Adams. 1821