Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pity the poor unprotected U.S. defense budget

Jennifer Rubin, who writes a conservative blog at the Wash. Post -- apparently having Charles Krauthammer and George Will on the op-ed page isn't enough -- is worried that the defense budget will be cut too much as a result of the current budget negotiations. According to Rubin:
1) the primary duty of the federal government (higher than high-speed rail and a new health-care entitlement plan) is national defense; 2) defense spending is not driving the debt (it is skyrocketing domestic spending that has worsened our fiscal position); and 3) unless we want to cede our position as the sole superpower we can’t shatter the military that guarantees the West’s security and defends freedom around the planet.
Re point 2: of course, the one trillion plus spent on the Iraq misadventure has nothing to do with the deficit. Re point 3: we can't "shatter" the military, so let's continue ordering weapons systems that are outdated holdovers from the Cold War and funding layers of bureaucracy that have little real connection to military capability. After all, we can't "cede our position as the sole superpower."

I don't think I've seen someone refer to the U.S. as the "sole superpower" for quite a while. Krauthammer's "unipolar moment" has come and gone. And American policymakers themselves are realizing, as Gates's recent speech on NATO suggests, that trying to cling to the chimerical status of "sole superpower" is a recipe for, among other things, eventual bankruptcy.

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