Congressman Mike Rogers recently defended his vote for the debt deal but declared “we’re going to be spending less than we did before,” except, . . . we need to “put more money into defense.”
He states he will oppose any cuts to “defense.” In discussing possible military cuts- $600 billion over 10 years,
“We can’t do that,” he told the Opelika-Auburn News. “It would decimate our military. At $60 billion per year, you’d have to close every shipyard, factories for fighter jets and missiles.”
How many military bases does the United States have in other countries: a) 100; b) 300; c) 700; or d) 1,000.
The answer is around 1100, if you include the new bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. And 560 “permanent bases.” The United States still has 227 bases in Germany alone. (As a point of reference, at the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planetwide.) As a matter of fact:
What we do know is that, on the foreign outposts the U.S. military counts, it controls close to 52,000 buildings, and more than 38,000 pieces of heavy infrastructure like piers, wharves, and gigantic storage tanks, not to mention more than 9,100 “linear structures” like runways, rail lines, and pipelines. Add in more than 6,300 buildings, 3,500 pieces of infrastructure, and 928 linear structures in U.S. territories and you have an impressive total.
Perhaps, some of these assets might be closed or liquidated before it “decimates our military.” I supposed Senator Sessions is one of those that want us to be a “weak nation.”
If they don’t need to be there for serious strategic reasons, I think we should look to bring more home and reduce our presence,” Sessions said.
Are we stretching the definition of “national security” with US Special Operations presently in 120 countries?
By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling — a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. This global presence — in about 60 percent of the world’s nations and far larger than previously acknowledged — provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.
It is really a matter of priorities. What is more important: restoring America’s health or being the globe’s policeman and nation-builder.
Rogers’ rhetoric is actually absurd. As shown above, America accounts for roughly half of the globe’s military outlays. In real terms, the U.S. government spends more on the military today than at any time during the Cold War, Korean War, or Vietnam War. In fact:
An April analysis from the Stimson Center, on the other hand, argued that a $400 billion defense cut from the baseline over 10 years would essentially mean letting the Pentagon’s budget grow with inflation starting in 2011 — and that’s not much of a cut at all, given the massive run-up in defense spending over the past decade. To put that in perspective, says Center for American Progress defense analyst Larry Korb, “We’re already spending more in adjusted dollars than we have at any point during World War II — more than when we were in Vietnam and had 500,000 people on the ground.”
Historically, such cuts would actually be somewhere the norm, compared with other build-downs.
The United States has had three military “build-downs” since World War II — after Korea, after Vietnam and after the Cold War. “With Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, we’re in another build-down,” he says. He notes that between 1985 and 1996, with the end of the Cold War, military spending declined 36 percent. By comparison, a $1 trillion cut in the next decade would represent a 15 percent decline. “Compared with a $350 billion cut, that’s harder labor, definitely,” Adams says. “Is it impossible? No.”
Congressman Rogers continued revealed his philosophy which is
“It is up to us whether we want to remain a superpower,” he said. “A lot of people, and some in the White House, don’t want us to be that way. They want us to be like a Western European nation. A lot want us to become a weak nation. If we don’t change course dramatically, the America we grew up in will not exist in 25 years.”
There is the rub. Rogers reveals his political philosophy: neo-conservatism. As defined by the American Conservative magazine,
The “neocons” believe American greatness is measured by our willingness to be a great power—through vast and virtually unlimited global military involvement. Other nations’ problems invariably become our own because history and fate have designated America the world’s top authority.
Critics say the US cannot afford to be the world’s policeman. Neoconservatives not only say that we can but we must—and that we will cease to be America if we don’t. Writes Boston Globe neoconservative columnist Jeff Jacoby: “Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job.” Neocon intellectual Max Boot says explicitly that the US should be the world’s policeman because we are the best policeman.
I believe the people of Alabama do not want to be the world’s police men or to be an empire; they want us to be strong enough militarily to defend our country and national interest. The federal government’s duty is to defend America, not the rest of the world.
As stated well by Cato scholar Doug Bandow,
Advocates of promiscuous intervention abroad talk as if Washington has no choice but to police the globe. That’s nonsense, of course. America’s very power and influence allow it to react with benign detachment to most events overseas. That doesn’t mean Americans need be indifferent to tragedy overseas” ordinary people have been organizing and contributing to help the hungry, sick, and victims of war for decades. But the U.S. government’s duty is far narrower: providing for the common defense, as authorized by the Constitution.
This isn’t “isolationism,” the usual swear word tossed by those who demand that Washington routinely visit death and destruction upon one country or another. Rather, it is non-intervention, a policy that limits the U.S. government’s political demands and military assaults on other nations while encouraging Americans to interact peacefully with the rest of the world. It is a policy that rests on the belief that war is always a last resort and never a matter of choice.
Such a strategy would not be a radical jump into the unknown. After all, this was the Founders’ foreign policy, continued by the early Americans. At the Constitutional Convention delegates rejected proposals to replicate the British king, who could unilaterally take the country into war. When leaving office George Washington warned of foreign entanglements and permanent attachments in his famous Farewell Address. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams later rejected proposals to aid Greek freedom fighters against the Ottoman Empire. The mere fact that the U.S. is more powerful today does not mean that it should be more warlike.
It has long been obvious that America’s pretense to empire costs far more than any benefits which result. Now it should also be obvious that the U.S. can no longer afford to play global policeman.
Only a change in foreign policy can match America’s capabilities with its objectives. Washington should adopt a policy of nonintervention, dedicated to keeping America free, prosperous, and at peace. This is, in fact, the only approach consistent with remaining a republic dedicated to limited government and individual liberty.