Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Next New World Order

Regarding global military spending, I recommend you take a look at the CIA World Fact Book page on the subject.

The U.S is number one, of course, and the number posted (370$ billion) is from 2003. Number two is China at $67.5 billion (2004). Next in order come Japan, France, England, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, India, and Australia, ranging from $17 to $46 billion. Russia is not included because there's no way of knowing what they really spend, but it's a safe assumption that the vast majority of what's left of its Cold War arsenal is either burning in Chechnya or caked in rust.

Of that list, China is the only country one can reasonably argue we might have to fight a conventional, symmetrical war with in the next 10 to 20 years, and that would be a naval/air war in which we would interdict an invasion of Taiwan (which is extremely unlikely to occur).

I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why America continues to pursue an arms race with itself.


  1. I read an essay that described the U.S. as "trolling the planet in search of an enemy" in order to keep our military-industrial machine rolling along, since so much of our economy is built around it.

    That was the best part. As I recall it was about 10 pages, and the 1-page summary was all that was needed.

  2. Ooh, any chance you can recall where you saw that essay?

  3. I'm Googling. As I recall, it was a Word document, many references to Eisenhower's farewell speech, etc.

    Holy crap, look what my search unearthed!

    This may be it, though:

  4. Smedley Butler9:41 AM

    You're absolutely right, there is no good reason for the arms race we're currently pursuing. Why do we need the JSF when our current fleet of F-16 and F-18 fixed wing aircraft are being used almost exclusively as close air support delivery systems? The only (remotely) good argument for replacing them with the F-22 and the F-35 are that they are getting old, to which my response is: build new ones.

    Further, why are we investing in the development of aircraft with the VTOL capability similar to the V-22 Osprey but the lift capability of the C-130? We should be investing in maintaining and increasing our ability to counter asymmetric threats by diverting funds from these major weapon systems and rather spend the money on better gear for grunts, and better retention of our SF personnel.

    As to China, you're right about how easy it would be to interdict an attack on Taiwan, at least operationally. The question then is how easy it would be politcally? That's academic, though. I find it unlikely that China would ever invad Taiwan unless: 1) Taiwan overtly declares independence, or 2) The US is significantly weakened from its current strength. Read "Unrestriced Warfare" by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui to see a proposed Chinese strategy on fighting the US asymmetrically. They wrote it as a paper for the Chinese equivalent of Command and Staff College.

  5. The only reason I can come up with for our arms race with ourselves, is the invisible enemy we have created, both literally and metaphorically -the terrorists. What a perfect way to keep the war machine fully greased and on the march. The enemy can be anywhere anytime and the numbers just keep increasing (whether or not they're based on reality). Who can even argue?

    The War on Terror is the holy grail for the neocons. Iraq is their neocon playground and Katrina was their surprise bonus gift (hmmm, let's try out that martial law shall we?) Shape up the Patriot Act get it ready for future use. Things could get real ugly in the next 3 years and beyond. I hope they don't, but I'm a bit pessimistic.

    Are there enough Americans awake now? Will they go back to complacent dreams before 2008?

  6. Yes, Lorika, and yet it's patently self evident that the kind of high dollar weaponry we have hasn't and won't defeat terrorism.