Debate Magazine

A Brief Review of US Defense and the Budget

Posted on the 29 November 2012 by Shahalexander

In view of the forthcoming conflict over the fiscal cliff, the budget and defense issue is a critical problem for the United States to fulfill the role of world policeman. Numerous nations around the globe live in a liberal world order under American hegemony. I would like to discuss the problem of defense and the budget later on, but let me mention some useful references.

Does the United States overspend on the military? Defending Defense Project, jointly run by the American Enterprise Institute, the Foreign Policy Initiative, and the Heritage Foundation, released a basic guidebook entitled “Defense Spending 101”. America has not overstretched because defense spending in terms of GDP percentage has declined since the Cold War era. In addition, the United States faces multiple security challenges today, and the American economy can prosper in a stable liberal world order. Therefore, American defense capability should be maintained. Quite importantly, off shore balance is no substitute for forward presence, due to weaker deterrence in the region and lower trust from allies.
Regarding fiscal cliff, Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute  comments “A common denominator in all these scenarios is that averting the fiscal cliff does not mean that things would automatically improve. The only silver bullet remains a comprehensive debt reduction deal” (“The fiscal cliff's threat to nationalsecurity”; US News and World Report; November 1, 2012).
The budget conflict is not the only reason for defense cut. Danielle Pletka, President of the AEI, concludes “There are others who hide behind fiscal responsibility in order to further their isolationist ideals. Plenty on the left. Plenty on the Ron Paul right (“Beefjerky and the nation’s defense”; American Enterprise Institute; November 15;2012).

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