Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hagel’s ‘Defense Cuts’ Are Smoke And Mirrors

Hagel’s ‘Defense Cuts’ Are Smoke And Mirrors

Neoconservative Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain were also quick to criticize Hagel’s announcement. They said the cuts were dead on arrival in the US Senate. “We are going to kill it, not let it happen,” said Graham. McCain added, “We live in an ever-increasingly dangerous world and this budget is out of touch with reality.”

 What McCain and Graham won’t admit is that much of the reason we are in an increasingly-dangerous world is that the neocons keep inviting blowback with the interventions they are constantly pushing. If we minded our own business we would live in a far less dangerous world.

Nevertheless, although the neocons make a big deal about this small cut in military personnel, in reality these are not military cuts at all. These are token proposed cuts in troop levels which Congress won’t allow the administration to do anyway. What Hagel proposes is not cuts, but instead a shift in spending away from personnel and toward new high-tech weapons which are favored by and profitable to the military-industrial complex.

The F-35, for example, will continue in production according to Hagel’s plan, despite the numerous cost over-runs and design flaws. This is likely because the F-35 is built in 46 US states and nine foreign countries! That makes it particularly popular in Congress, regardless of its flaws and expense.

We do need real cuts in military spending, not just moving spending around from troops to new weapons systems. But what we really need is for the president to downsize US foreign policy. Maintaining a military presence in 140 countries while continuing to stir up trouble can lead to problems when the military is downsized. So, it’s our intervention that needs downsizing.

A proper foreign policy would mean a strong national defense, but a huge reduction in interventions and commitments overseas. Why are we stirring up trouble in Ukraine? In Syria? In Africa? Why are we defending South Korea and Japan when they are wealthy enough to defend themselves? A proper sized foreign policy would defend the United States instead of provoking the rest of the world.