I am a believer in the old Roman Republic concept that if you “want peace, prepare for war.”  I’d also really like to believe that Trump’s proposed spending increase for the Department of Defense is truly born of that mentality, but I question it.

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will look to increase defense and security spending by $54 billion and cut roughly the same amount from non-defense programs, the White House said Monday.

It’s a 9% percent increase in defense spending for the country that already spends 400% more for defense spending than its closest potential adversary, China.  Trump is following Reagan by developing a stronger military, pursuing a nuclear arms race, and other policies.  What was different with Reagan is that we knew who we were arming against, what was at stake, and what would be the horrible outcome of a war with them.  A strong military had been a core US Cold War policy held by presidents in both parties from when Truman had to convince a reluctant, war weary nation to accept it.

What I can’t figure out is whether anyone believes that our gigantic, sophisticated, and well-trained military just isn’t already good enough compared to what’s out there in the world.  Who exactly are we trying to deter?  The answer to the question lies in what exactly the Trump Administration is going to fund with this massive spending increase, I think.

If the funding is going toward more special forces, drone technology, and training foreign militaries it means that the Global War on Terrorism is back in a big way (not that it ever went away, except in name).  Should DoD start expanding naval forces, submarines, and more air superiority aircraft I’d guess we’re arming against China.  Anti-ship missiles, more weapon systems for the Saudis would be for Iran while ICBM’s, a next generation tank, ground attack aircraft, and more manpower points to Russia.  Or it could just be that this is, I don’t know, stimulus.  Maybe they’ll try to build it all and all of it will be wasteful.

Deterrence is a great concept but it doesn’t work terribly well if you aren’t deterring the correct potential enemy.  This is worth watching for signs of from where the next international crisis will emerge, I think.

4 comments

  1. A lot of our hardware, has been worn out by the high cycle of operation the last 15 years, manpower has been similarly run hard…. it ahs to be replace and upgraded. From what ah gather this build up is pretty broad, and looks moire like a general feel good approach or America Rah rah approach… oh well. if we really wanted to save on expenditures while building up forces, id consider withdrawing bases and forces from all over the damm place… we are not gonna in any way win this war on Terror.. and a conflict with Russia or China would… well be nasty…the only real threat is ourselves, our debt , and our reckless governing of ourselves.

    bah…more spending with out offsets or increses in revenue is more of the same… Trump Obama.. blah.. same shit diffenrt POTUS….

  2. Yeah, I get that our forces are over-extended and depleted from the longest period of war in our history, but I don’t understand why the massive budget increase on that basis. We’re not going to re-fight the Iraq War nor should any other GWoT interventions demand massive invasion forces.

    At any other time, I’d say Trump is doing the rah-rah thing, but my gut tells me that trouble is coming and he’s anticipating it (where he isn’t actively provoking it).

  3. It would probably be with Iran, maybe North Korea although Mini Me 2 has already killed pretty much anyone who could really carry out his orders (competency is the enemy of all tinpots.) The real problem is with modernization IMO. I fear a lot of the money will go to pet projects and defense contractors. And Trump really hasn’t said anything about offsetting this with spending cuts to deal with the deficit.

  4. Given that we are Still backing Saudi Arabia and Russia is backing Iran.. And those 2 are fighting a proxy war over Iraq and Syria……. Yeah at some point it’s gonna give…

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