comparing superpowers
$600 Billion Ain’t What It Used to Be
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  • FriendlyGoat

    Our biggest edge has been nuclear superiority. But the deterrent effect of that has diminished, because just about everyone now understands that America is not going to launch a nuclear first-strike in response to anything short of incoming warheads. We have our nukes for mutually-assured destruction, but they are retaliatory weapons which mostly serve to dissuade others from launching nukes at us.

    When we are forced to think about conventional military actions, we do not have that much arsenal or manufacturing capacity.

    • Andrew Allison

      “not going to launch a nuclear first-strike in response to anything short of incoming warheads”? That would be a retaliatory response, not a first strike. Might I suggest that having learned nothing from Vietnam, et seq., the U.S is ill-equipped to deal with what, until recently, was unconventional, warfare.

      • B-Sabre

        My observation has been that we get the war we don’t plan on – quite possibly an example of the fact that we tend to be open about the wars we DO prepare for, thus our opponents know not to fight there. Either that, or it confirms my belief that the perversity of the universe tends toward a maximum.
        Based on current planning on operations in Asia, Africa and now (and again) Europe, I project our next war will be in Antarctica.

        • Dan

          + 1 Emperor Penguin

          • B-Sabre

            PBIED – Penguin-borne Improvised Explosive Device.

  • Andrew Allison

    At the risk of being repetitious, allocating more resources to a grossly top-heavy military having weapons it doesn’t want or need stuffed down its throat by an utterly irresponsible Congress is the last thing we need. DoD needs majorl reform, including radical overhead reduction and re-establishing the right to decide what weapons it needs and can afford. We can’t afford either guns or butter at the current budget levels, let alone increasing them. The response to the threat levels around the world must be to cut fat, not increase the DoD budget.

  • Andrew Leighton

    Wow. First it was this:

    Now, TAI is referencing Bloomberg View. Am I missing something new here folks??

    Until very recently I considered TAI to be a legitimate source of news commentary. I have had this assumption severely challenged by whatever (seemingly slipshod) editorial process it’s currently employing.

    But, yes, you’re right, as a veteran I agree we should be paying our soldiers $2,000 a year to be abused by communist party cronies and then thrown out into the cold once they’re no longer useful.

    • B-Sabre

      “But, yes, you’re right, as a veteran I agree we should be paying our soldiers $2,000 a year to be abused by communist party cronies and then thrown out into the cold once they’re no longer useful.”
      Wow. Where did you get that from? I didn’t read anything close to that in either article. I didn’t read a single line talking about cutting military pay or veterans’ benefits.
      All I read was what I had long believed – that un-examined comparisons on defense budgets on dollar value alone are meaningless. Ironically, I was playing with the idea of measuring relative defense spending in terms of “grunts” ie how many basic infantrymen per year can a nation’s defense budget purchase. the articles only confirm what I’ve said for a long time – China pays a lot less for their bang compared to what we do.

  • PKCasimir

    The effectiveness of a military is not measured by the amount of money spent on it, but by the effectiveness of the forces and weapons systems that result from the expenditure. Bloomberg doesn’t know the difference between an M-16 and an F-16 and can’t be taken seriously on any matters pertaining to the military.

    • Dan

      + M-80?

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Since the Vietnam war liberals have believed that a key problem in world affairs, if not the key problem, is American belligerence. Now, at last, they have a president that agrees with them. A weaker US military is a feature, not a bug. Indeed, under Obama’s planned budgets our military spending is planned to drop to around 2.5% of GDP, a level not seen since before WW2. (To provide some context, during the Cold War, military spending was routinely above 10% of GDP.) Obama’s goal, and the left’s goal in general, is that there will never be another Iraq. Future presidents will find, despite what they desire, another Iraq is beyond our capabilities.

    Our enemies around the world will rejoice.

  • lukelea

    We need to beef up our ability, working in concert with our allies, to impose sanctions on those states that fail to abide by international norms. Iran is a good test case of what this strategy can do if pursued with diligence. It is both cheaper and more effective for the West to leverage its combined economic and financial power, including control of the international banking system and the internet, to achieve its chief foreign policy goals.

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