Monday, October 25, 2010

The military and Republicans

When it comes to the military, conservatives and Republicans tend to have a log in their eye.

A fair summary of current threats to stability might include cyber attack, international terrorism, international military crises, not necessarily in that order.  And not all of them are clearly matters for the military, including natural disasters.

But current military strategy is hardly the product of such threat assessments, remaining mired in WWII style military structure.  Certainly more destroyers or billion dollar jets can respond well to most of the issues which concern us today.

The US is spending more money on the military than all other nations combined.  To argue they are in disarray for lack of spending is beyond rational.  But they are totally misaligned, bent by politics, special interest and a crony industry out of control.

Our defense policy is almost totally irrelevant to the nation's security needs.  We do not need more traditional weaponry that is skyrocketing in price.  We need a more agile, technologically advanced response to the threats that face us today.  In many instances, that response alone warrants a less expensive military.

Likewise,  international footprints ignore the realities of today's technology and responsiveness.  It is difficult to argue that huge bases in Germany, Japan, and Korea remain anything other than political footballs that unfortunately at least partly contribute to negative stereotypes.  Looming federal bankruptcy alone forces a long and studied look at their viability, especially since their existence does not translate into traditional ally strategic response.

Weaknesses in a 'fortress America' strategy can be made.  But in these times, it may be all we can afford.  It may also prove to be more effective than many have postulated, given that it is almost impossible to argue that the current situation yields more strategic benefit.

Lastly,  practical principles of limited government can hardly come to fruition without considering the effects of a largely free spending and out-of-control military industrial complex.  That military spending remains principally structured to fight a WWII style war is all the evidence we need.

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