In today’s foreign policy that includes Iraq, Afghanistan, and the free-range war on terrorism, one must consider the following:
- The cost to rebuild and resupply
The cost to retrofit, replace and advance technology
- The cost for post-war obligations and security
America has wound down and is winding down, but there remains a legacy of costs moving forward resulting from those large operations.
As for the on-going fight against terrorism throughout a worldwide theater of operations, that may be as great as what we have experienced with hot conflicts with nation states. In fact, the war against terrorism involves nation states along a continuum of characterizations from absolute enemy to wavering trust and mistrust.
Ahead we have Iran, North Korea, Syria, and terrorist activity throughout Africa.
We still have big boys to be concerned about like China, Russia and Pakistan among others.
The situation is fluid, and America can’t just stand down. Ezra Klein posted an informative story this morning about post war cost reductions. In this analysts view, that history has less relevance today.
“The case for the sequester’s defense cuts
Posted by Ezra Klein on February 26, 2013 at 11:05 am
After the Korean War, the base defense budget fell by 43 percent. After the Vietnam War, it fell by 33 percent. After the Soviet Union toppled and the Cold War ended, it fell by 36 percent.
That’s the pattern of military spending in America. It rockets in times of war but falls back down in times of peace.
Over the past decade, we’ve been at war. And our spending went way up. In 2001, under President George W. Bush, the military budget was $287 billion. In 2012, after accounting for the military budget and the war spending, it was about $700 billion. That’s a bigger increase in spending than we saw for either the Vietnam War or the Cold War.
And here’s where it left us: $700 billion is more than China, the U.K., France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia and Canada spend on their militaries combined.
Our wars are ending. Officially, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is drawing down. Osama bin Laden is dead. Typically, at this moment, spending drops by somewhere between 33 percent and 43 percent.
If the sequester goes into effect, the full cut to the defense budget will be about 31 percent. Think about that — during the war on terror, the defense budget increased by more than it did during the Cold War or the Vietnam War, and even with the sequester, the cut to the defense budget will be less than it was after either of those.
Kind of puts the doomsaying in perspective, huh?”