Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A Superpower Skeptic
* Gavin Andreson wonders what we get out of playing the world's numero uno superpower.
So, I clicked the link and moseyed over to GavinThink. Mr. Andresen has been kind enough to permit me to copy the whole post which we appropriate as a policy statement which we can well afford as we have been able to maintain our funding level at $00.00.
Anyway we copy it below and the link is here.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Here's a thought experiment: would it be so terrible if the United States stopped being the world's military superpower?
What would happen if we reduced defense spending down to the level of, say, Australia (the 13'th largest defense budget in the world)? The US spends over half a trillion dollars a year on the military, Australia spends 14 billion dollars a year-- or roughly half a trillion dollars less than the US.
I was born in Australia-- it's a very nice country. As far as I can tell, Australia isn't suffering because it's not the World's Number One SuperPower. Like the US, it doesn't share any borders with unfriendly neighbors (but my mum tells me that a big worry down under in the sixties was the "Yellow Peril"-- that Chinese overpopulation would force them to invade).
Run the thought experiment in reverse-- what benefits would Australia get if it spent an extra half a trillion dollars a year and became the Worlds Greatest Fighting Force?
I know next to nothing about defense or foreign policy, so enlighten me-- besides bragging rights, what am I getting for that half a trillion dollars that I wouldn't get if we spent 20 billion dollars instead?
Posted by Gavin Andresen at 9:15 AM
Labels: Politics, Public Policy, Skeptical
The War on Terror.
Gavin Andresen said...
RE: The War on Terror:
I am not afraid.
If we all stopped acting afraid and truly made this the Home of the Brave, then terrorism wouldn't work.
The US military/industrial complex is incredibly powerful. Mess with that at your peril. Also, many very large business interests worldwide are buoyed up by the presence of troops in so many countries. It's quite subtle, but think of it as a sort of guarantee that US economic interests will be upheld all over the globe...oil, minerals, agricultural products, etc. It works to the benefit of the US in precisely the same way as Roman troops benefited their far-flung economic interests back 2000 years ago.
Gavin Andresen said...
Anybody have good pointers on attempts to quantify how much business benefit we get from the half trillion dollars we spend?
Browsing the Wikipedia GDP per capita table, I don't see a correlation between military spending and economic productivity.
So I'm deeply skeptical that all our military spending is making US companies (or US citizens) richer...
I think Mr. Gavin did a good job in defending himself in the comments and The Neutralist thanks him for the post.