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Cut Defense Spending by One Third and Unwind our Foreign Entanglements

It’s time for conservatives to stop reflexively screaming over even the most modest proposed cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.

We need to cut defense spending by at least one-third because we simply cannot afford what we’re spending now.

Benghazi victimsAmerica now spends $950,000,000 a year on defense.  That’s nearly $1 TRILLION, or about 26 percent of our $3.8 TRILLION yearly federal budget.

Right now, 43 percent of the entire world’s military spending is, well, us. We are spending six times more on our military than #2 China.

We are spending 14 times more than Russia. Both Britain and France spend more on their military than Russia.

Russia is really just a Third World country, no longer much to worry about.

There’s no Hitler on the horizon and aircraft carriers are not needed to kill terrorists.

Surely the 12 aircraft carriers we now have are enough.

No other country in the world has more than two aircraft carriers. China and Russia each have one aircraft carrier.

The main threat to us is terrorism. Aircraft carriers and enormous standing armies are not what we need to defeat terrorism.  What we need to defeat terrorism are excellent intelligence, more special ops forces, more drones, and the like.  But these are not high-ticket items, like aircraft carriers.

We are now building a tank that costs $500,000,000 apiece. The Army says it doesn’t need or want this tank, but Congress insists on building it anyway.

President Eisenhower (no liberal) warned America about the “military industrial complex” and the threat it presents to our liberty and wallets.

I think it would be fun to own 100 guns to protect my family and home.  I’d like to have AK-47s, grenades, M-16s, bullet-proof vests, night-vision goggles, tear gas launchers, percussion bombs, smoke bombs, all kinds of cool stuff.  But I can’t afford all this.  I’ll have to made do with two guns — a revolver and a shotgun.  We can’t afford our trillion-dollar military industrial complex either.

We Need to Unwind our Foreign Entanglements

President George Washington had it right when he warned against foreign entanglements.

Here’s what he had to say on the subject:

“Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.” -(George Washington, farewell address, 1796.)

“I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation has a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every one has a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best to live under themselves; and that if this country could, consistently with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest, and every other consideration. (George Washington, from Letter to James Monroe, August 25,1796.)

“Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

Wise words. What good has come from our decades of meddling in the Middle East?  Has there been a single positive outcome from the trillions of dollars we’ve spent trying to “fix” the Middle East?

I can’t think of one.  We’ve just made a lot of enemies.

There are about seven billion people in the world — about five billion of whom hate us . . . not because we are free and prosperous.  Switzerland is also free and prosperous.  But no one hates Switzerland.  Most of the world hates America because of our meddlesome foreign policy.

As conservatives, we get plenty ticked off when our nanny-state government meddles in our lives.

So why are so many conservatives (mostly neoconservatives) surprised when people in other countries resent it when our government (not even their own government) meddles in their lives?

The British Empire collapsed because its empire was too expensive to maintain.  This is why all empires end up collapsing.  War after war after war to maintain order is just too costly.

We need to get out of the Middle East.  Israel will have to defend itself.

Switzerland’s done quite well by staying out of foreign entanglements.  Switzerland hasn’t been the target of any terrorist attacks. And it’s a whole lot cheaper to stay out of the affairs of other countries.

If a really dangerous Adolf Hitler type emerges, we take him out.  We need a military that can do this.  Hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden is fine.

But no more “nation building.” No more foreign aid.

And let’s get the heck out of NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, the World Court, and especially the United Nations.

We need a Navy that can protect our commercial ships and keep the sea lanes open and safe.  We need a military that can take out the regime in Iran and the midget in North Korea if it’s in America’s interest to do so.  Those are prudential judgments for a President and Congress.

Thomas Jefferson hunted down the Barbary Coast pirates in North Africa to protect our commercial ships and keep the sea lanes open.  Good call.

We probably should have done more to stop Hitler earlier.

“How serious is the threat?” is always the question.  ”Is a preemptive strike called for?”  These are situational judgment calls we pay our President to make, in consultation with Congress.  But the guiding principle must always be:  Is a vital American interest at stake?

Pat Buchanan is right when he says we need a strictly “America First” defense and foreign policy.  And there should be a heavy burden of proof on intervention.

It’s certainly a tragedy when 500,000 Rawandans are murdered by their own government and when the Syrian regime uses poison gas on its own people.  But there’s no vital American interest to protect here.  So there’s no job here for the U.S. military to perform.

I’m not suggesting we cut our military down to pre-World War Two levels.  That would be dangerous, as we found out.

But do we really need 294 U.S. embassies? Do we really need 662 military bases in 38 foreign countries?

Not if we stop following the siren call of the neoconservatives to intervene in another Middle East conflict. Not if we stop being the world’s biggest busybody.

This is how we cut our military and foreign policy spending by at least one-third, if not 50 percent, and end up stronger, richer, and more free in the long run.

Click here for Part I of the series, Why I’m a Conservative, Not a Libertarian

Click here for Part II of the series, We Do Need a Social Safety Net

Click here for Part III of the series, What a Conservative Social Safety Net Would Look Like

Click here for Part IV of the series, The Guiding Theme of American Conservatism

Click here for Part V of the series, True Conservatism Must Be Grounded in Reality

Click here for Part VI of the series, Why Ideologues Are So Dangerous

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Here we agree

I agree that we need to dramatically cut "defense" (really: has our military "defended" us since WWII? It all appears to be offense, to me). But I also agree with the fellow above who says that the enemy of freedom and of the Constitution isn't terrorists, it's our own politicians. We're seeing more unconstitutional behavior every day, we're becoming more and more of a police state. 

"The main threat to us is terrorism"

B.S!!!!  The main threat to us is our own gov't! Stop meddling in others business and the terror threat along with losing our God given rights to the federal leviathon will cease.

Cutting Defense Spending

Part of the "coniption" fit I have over talks about cutting defense spending is that Congress / Pentagon politicos always cut the wrong thing. They look to make painful cuts as opposed to cutting waste.

Since Defense is one of the few actual powers that the Fed is supposed to have, I would rather they cut the crap that is unauthorized by the Constitution first. Then when they have proved they can be trusted to do the right thing with the wrong things, I might trust them to do the right thing with the right things.

Cutting Defense Spending

I am not against cutting defense spending 'in principle.'  I am, however, in 100% agreement with Ksdboswell who said it better than I probably could. 

Let them cut the 'abortion' chunk out of Planned Parenthood; let them cut DHA's funds that allow them to amass millions and millions of rounds so that we can't; let them cut the PORK out of disaster relief bills; etc.. When they prove they have the common sense and cohones to do the most obvious slicing and dicing, then maybe they can be trusted to cut THE WASTE out of the defense budget. 

Of course, this is all a waste of time and effort of they first vote to raise the debt ceiling. IT MUST START THERE!

I'm all for a 10% cut across

I'm all for a 10% cut across the board in everything including all salaries, especially the congress and white house.