Monday, May 24, 2010

Trends in Military Growth, NATO, and Defense Spending

The Independent Institute has just published several timely political commentaries, which may be of interest to you.

Senior Fellow Robert Higgs explains how successive waves of domestic crisis feed the military-industrial leviathan:

Since the early twentieth century, periods of real or perceived national emergency have been “critical episodes” in the growth of government’s size, scope, and power in the United States and in many other countries. Hence, the concise conceptualization: Crisis and Leviathan (My 1987 book on the growth of government)… If America’s economic future turns out to be even worse than I now foresee—for example, with rapid inflation, price and capital controls, and a flight from the dollar—then even greater retrenchment of the U.S. military presence abroad will be unavoidable.

Senior Fellow Ivan Eland examines Madeleine Albright’s over-reaching plan for NATO, and it’s heavy cost for the American taxpayer:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently led a panel of experts in coming up with a report, “NATO 2020,” which will be used to draft a replacement for NATO’s current strategic concept… The report advocates a continuation and expansion of NATO’s quest to be all things to all people. [This] is an advantage for the interventionist U.S. foreign policy elite, but actually defending all of the added NATO countries hardly benefits the already strapped American taxpayer or enhances his or her security.

Senior Fellow Charles Peña addresses the pound-foolish upcoming defense budget:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a speech announcing a “big cut” in the budget… The reality is that the likely savings will be less than 3 percent of the projected $570 billion baseline for the 2012 defense budget… Gone is the former Soviet Union, and no hegemonic superpower has arisen in its place. As such, we don’t need the large military we have kept in place since the end of the Cold War. And we don’t need to keep that military deployed to all four corners of the globe to keep a nonexistent threat in check. The military threats that exist are largely regional in nature, and we should let the countries in those regions—mostly wealthy allies more than able to pay for their own defense—shoulder the burden of their own security.

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