North Texas Daily

Bloated U.S military budget preserves imperialism abroad

Bloated U.S military budget preserves imperialism abroad

Bloated U.S military budget preserves imperialism abroad
September 22
12:00 2020

Currently, a massive outbreak of wildfires has spread across the west coast of the United States. The destruction done by these forest fires has resulted in more than 3 million acres of land to burn to the ground. This devastation has been evidence for climate scientists to conclude that climate change has intensified these wildfires. 

Climate change is real and the impacts being done are already present. Now is the time to for the U.S. to aggressively combat climate change to reduce the damages caused by natural disasters; however, the main contention for debate surrounding bold legislation like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) ‘Green New Deal’ is that the bill would cost too much.

The Pacific Coast is on fire while the military budget of the United States has ballooned out of control, reaching $721.5 billion this year. In order to invest in domestic programs like the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college, the U.S Government’s often bipartisan and excessive military spending must be drastically reigned in.

Calling this spending reckless doesn’t come close to reality. In 2019 the Department of Defense had a budget 3 times more than China and is larger than the next 10 countries’ defense budgets combined. Globally the United States accounts for 38% of all military spending.

Bloated military spending emerged from the Cold War when the United States and the U.S.S.R engaged in an arms race where both superpowers frantically expanded their military arsenal. This resulted in the Soviet’s extreme military buildup at the expense of investments made in domestic development. The hubris displayed by the Soviets regarding excessive military spending leading to economic disaster and the collapse of the Soviet Union should be taken as a lesson for the United States, which continues to inflate the military budget every year.

With the United States being the world’s sole superpower the balance of the planet has shifted as first-world nations impose imperialistic control over third world nations through warfare. Prior to the end of World War II, wars were primarily declared between nations of similar economic and military power.

After World War II with the United States untouched by the war’s destruction, wars are now declared on third world countries by first world countries. This new trend can be observed when the United States waged war in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. All of which were imperialistic displays of power and disastrous military blunders that the United States should have never been involved in.

One of the Representatives leading the opposition against the Iraq War was Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who often argues to decrease the military budget, making him popular among doves. On July 22, 2020 Sanders attached Senate Amendment 1788 to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 which would cut military spending by 10%. The vote count, similar to the bipartisanship displayed by the Senate’s Iraq War vote, resulted in 77 in favor and 23 against.

Even Sanders said that if elected president he would continue Obama’s controversial and potentially unconstitutional drone strike program.  Congress’ most progressive senator fails to question the morality of illegally using drones to strike nations that the U.S has not formally declared war on and also results in hundreds of accidental civilian casualties. 

The desire of both parties to increase the military budget and expand U.S. imperialism abroad has produced global domination plagued by excess. For example, the U.S Navy has 19 aircraft carriers that are more technologically advanced than the rest of the world’s combined 12 aircraft carriers. The United States also has approximately 800 military bases on foreign soil, more than any empire in history. 

The Department of Defense itself recognizes that military bases must be closed because of economic restrictions and established the Base Realignment and Closure process which aims to close unnecessary military installations. The program is largely successful, closing 350 military bases and saving $12 billion annually. BRAC sets the precedent that positive cuts in military spending are possible, but only represent a small fraction of cuts that must be made.

Other times when military spending cuts are made they are at the detriment to veterans. In 2017 the expansion of the Veterans Choice Program was announced, but veterans over the age of 62 would suddenly no longer receive dental care. Instead of the Government taking away dental insurance from elderly veterans reductions must be done with the goal of disarmament.

Former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe and President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in 1953, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Eisenhower’s message has grown more relevant today as the military budget continues to skyrocket. In order for portions of the military budget to be reinvested domestically into expansive social programs, strong convictions must be upheld to lower military spending by our elected officials.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Brett Davis

Brett Davis

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