By Teresa Welsh |
I've had several postings on defense spending and the national deficit over the past few years in the Huffington Post, so let me start with a two by four statement that the simple solution to our deficit problem should be to increase it. That said, we nevertheless have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to switch spending for defense to more sensible priorities, such as the amelioration of peak oil and global warming, while optimizing educational, public infrastructure, and environmental needs. Except for a few politically necessary expendables, however, the military-industrial complex will prevent what should be a slam dunk obvious answer.
Part of the problem, also, is us. I've long wondered why the American public mostly encouraged this spending insanity at a time when we have no enemy. But this is a group where 82 percent believe in some kind of afterlife (much less in most developed countries ) and where only three years ago three-fourths of Republicans believed in global warming, but today only a tad more than half do. Thus, compelling logic is meaningless in this analysis.
Our only fear should be China (Russia was a real threat as part of the Soviet Union, but will only decay over time), for it only spends one sixth what we do on war. On a per-capita basis, this is 1/25th the amount.
Oh, those Middle East terrorists? There are only a few thousand really bad ones. Let them fight among themselves and do everything possible to minimize those almost expected acts of terrorism to come. But taking over the world? No.
In my original HuffPo piece, "Well, Barack, We Have a Problem..., "I suggested that President Barack Obama go to the next G8 summit and pronounce a Gorbachev-like bombshell: America will reduce defense spending by 10 percent this coming year, and will continue to slice 10 percent every year if you all do the same. In just a very few years, military spending will be minimal and the world will be at a higher level of peace forever.
This is the 10 percent simple solution to peace. Before you make any inane comments, click on my various postings to appreciate that Russia is getting feeble, and China will also become old before it gets rich. The United States will be supreme for a long time to come, and those war funds can better be applied to help our country, cure planet earth, and enhance the fate of humanity.
Oh, while our president totally ignored my 2008 advice, he has another chance. He personally hosts the 2012 G8 Summit to be held in Chicago. Only so fair, as he just greeted the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) gathering in Honolulu (he calls both cities home). What are the odds for him to embrace the 10 percent solution for world peace forever? I'm afraid I answered that question in the first paragraph.
About Patrick Takahashi Director Emeritus at the University of Hawaii
Ron Paul U.S. Representative and Republican Candidate for President
Travis Sharp Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security