America, world’s top military forever?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Neil, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
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    America’s defense establishment, from the Pentagon to think tanks, is trying to work out ways to cut military spending at a time of economic trouble. Proposals range from $100 billion to $1 trillion. None touches the underlying philosophy that led the United States to spend almost as much on military power as the rest of the world combined.

    Of the many explanations of that philosophy American leaders have offered over the past few decades, one of the most succinct came from Madeleine Albright, when she was Secretary of State in the Clinton administration: “It is the threat of the use of force…if we have to use force, it is because we are America, we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other nations into the future…”

    Since Albright made that remark, in 1998, the U.S. defense budget has grown every year, in real terms, and is now higher than at any time since the end of World War Two, according to the liberal Center for American Progress, one of the Washington think tanks to make savings suggestions. Even if the United States were to cut its spending in half, that would still be more than its current and potential adversaries.

    The figures are remarkable: the United States accounts for five percent of the world’s population, around 23 percent of its economic output and 46.5 percent of its military spending. China comes a distant second, with 6.6 percent of the world share, followed by France (4.2 percent), Britain (3.8 percent) and Russia (3.5 percent).

    How did the United States get there? Because every American president since Harry Truman has subscribed to four basic assertions: the world must be organized, lest chaos reigns; the U.S. is the only country capable of organizing the world; Washington’s writ includes articulating the principles of the international order; and the world actually wants America to lead, a few rogue nations and terrorists excepted.

    This is the catechism of American statecraft to which mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats are equally devoted, writes Andrew Bacevich, a retired army colonel and prolific author on military matters, in his just-published book “Washington Rules – America’s Path to Permanent War.”

    There’s little empirical evidence to demonstrate the catechism’s validity, says Bacevich, but that doesn’t matter. “When it comes to matters of faith, proof is unnecessary. In American politics, adherence to this creed qualifies as a matter of faith. Public … figures continually affirm and reinforce its validity.”

    President Barack Obama is no exception and has shown no sign that he differs from his post-World War Two predecessors in believing it is essential for America to have a global military presence, global power projection and the right to global intervention.

    Bacevich calls this the sacred trinity. It is a national security consensus that among other things keeps around 300,000 American soldiers stationed abroad and U.S. military bases in at least 39 countries. Even the most radical of recent proposals to cut military spending only envisions reducing rather than ending the global U.S. military presence.


    The Cold War ended in 1989 and while the U.S. presence abroad has been thinned out, around 150,000 still remain in Asia and Europe alone, where they served as a high-profile deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. That would be capped at 100,000 if a panel of experts commissioned by a bipartisan group in Congress, led by Barney Frank, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, had its way.

    The commission found that about $1 trillion could be cut from defense budgets over the next decade without “compromising the essential security of the United States.” It’s a far-reaching proposal, unlikely to get traction, but it does not clash with the American credo of global leadership.

    Neither does a determined attempt by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to find $100 billion in savings over the next five years by eliminating projects for futuristic weapons systems, cutting flab from the Pentagon’s bloated bureaucracy, eliminating duplication and reducing “overhead,” i.e. people and infrastructure not directly involved in fighting.

    The $100 billion plan is modest — U.S. military spending over the next five years is likely to exceed $3.5 trillion — and does not affect the overwhelming military superiority enshrined in official policy. “America’s interests and role in the world require Armed Forces with unmatched capabilities,” according to the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a report required by Congress on the future of U.S. national security strategy.

    Despite their relatively limited scope, Gates’s reform plans have run into fierce opposition from the heirs of what President Dwight Eisenhower, the World War Two general who led U.S. forces to victory in France and Germany, termed the “military-industrial complex” five decades ago.

    That term, Bacevich writes, “no longer suffices to describe the congeries of interests profiting from and committed to preserving the national security consensus” and the money that lubricates American politics and fills campaign coffers.
    The list of beneficiaries has lengthened since Eisenhower coined the phrase but their base of operations has not, which makes Washington “one of the most captivating, corrupt and corrupting places on the face of the earth.”

    America, world’s top military forever? | Analysis & Opinion |
  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    Some reasons why they are good while stuxnet is kicking ass in many asian countries with some pretty good damage in Iran, Indians who boast having the best brain in IT has still not done any serious cyber-warfare scenario while in the US the first such scenario was done in 1992 see how we suck its nearly 18years and we are yet to come with any such thing..

    Second while we are still gearing up for a future fifth generation plane (wet dream imo) they have already laid down the next step what will they do after 2020 this come in the form of UCAV..

    Now the actual reason why US is ahead they don't just blah blah they just do it, our sorry ass can be seen that we are still even after 48years hesitating to modernise airstrip in Nyoma what the F***
  4. Humphrey

    Humphrey New Member

    Oct 22, 2010
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    I totally agree with you.They have courage and their aim is to do something for their country
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2010
  5. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

    Apr 7, 2010
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    Golden Words, present GOI and its corrupt dynasty are an embarrassment for the country!
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.-Charlie Chaplin

    "Everything is in a process of change, nothing endures; we do not seek permanence."
    — Masatoshi Naito

    "Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
    —John F. Kennedy
  7. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2009
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    America was never a powerful army in yester years.

    It was German when in WW-II times.
    It was Soviet when in Cold war times.

    But america won is purely because of their alliances and the proactive approach.

    Brute force cant solve all the problem.
  8. malluowl

    malluowl Regular Member

    Nov 28, 2010
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    I have pipe dreams of India churning out advanced weapons like US does. United States will rule for a long time, no doubt about that. And China will compete in second place. As far as India is concerned, we will keep dreaming, comparing ourselves with Pakistan, keep buying stripped down American junk and mass producing more scams.

    It hurts, but its true.
  9. sabertooth

    sabertooth New Member

    Jul 27, 2010
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    i dnt think we are comparing us with Pakistan anymore, hell, even our foreign policy has changed and our threat perception has changed from being pakistan centric to China centric,i dnt think we are day dreaming but steadily & surely we are climbing up the ladder of power projection.20 years before no one would have given us a chance, but look at today we are in middle of something unique something different, all the G5/G7 & G20 are beckoning for our attention and support.
  10. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Aug 25, 2010
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    American will be known as weakest power when compared to other empires throughout history.

    Other empires stood for hundreds of years while yanks are only ahead in the last 20 years while after ww2 ussr matched them and in few decades they will be pegged down a notch or two.
  11. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

    Sep 8, 2009
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    I agree. America today is not even as strong (relatively) as the America of the 60s and 70s, which was their true "Golden Age". Interestingly, it was also the Golden Age of the erstwhile USSR.

    Now, they are in a slow and steady decline, as Asia rapidly rises and reclaims its dominant position in the world economy.

    By 2050 America will no longer be a superpower, but just another "great power", along with China, India, Russia, EU, and maybe Brazil.

    The world will be mutipolar again, as it was in the early 1900s immediately before WWI, and as it should be.

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