Thursday, May 24, 2012


"I have been taught my entire life because Europeans are both intellectually and morally superior to Americans, you’d think they could easily find a defensive strategy that would not require help from us boors in North America."

Military Bases
Any time someone asks me as a conservative where I'd cut government spending I always start with the salary, benefits, and staff of the three branches of federal government: Supreme Court, Presidency, and Congress. It wouldn't add up to much but a public, clear statement would be made by this act that government is serious about cutting back and saving money. They can get by on less, a lot less, and it would share some of the sacrifice they're asking everyone else to make.

However, after that, I always then turn to intelligence and the military. I do it for different reasons than the left; they tend to do so out of a suspicion and animosity toward these areas. I do so because I believe that it would be easier to get the left to compromise and start real cuts if you started out with the areas they're more inclined to agree with. Its like getting a ball rolling: once its moving, then you have a chance to actually get somewhere.

And like everywhere in the federal government, there's room for cuts and cost saving in the military. There's waste, duplication, and fraud in the military just like everywhere else - particularly in special pork projects that congressmen throw at their districts. But there's a big area that could be cut without a problem which I'd love to see done, and its something Ron Paul talks about.

Ron Paul is a bit of a crank, but he's right when he says we have too many soldiers overseas. He wants to bring them all home and pretend the world will never bother us because we have an ocean around us, so he takes it too far. But the fact is, we really don't need all those military bases all over the world. NATO especially was about protecting Europe from the Soviet Union, and its almost absolutely certain that without that barrier, at some point the Soviets would have started creeping westward. Certainly Greece and Germany benefited from the American military presence after World War II.

But now? Sure, Russia is still an expansionist threat, but not like it was under Communism when it was foundational doctrine to spread the word and take over the world. Now its more that Russia wants to be a big world power again more than it feels compelled to make everyone communist. And their military is significantly smaller in any case.

Does the US really need military bases in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the UK? Around the world, the United States is deployed in 150 countries; that's more countries than I've spotted visiting my blog so far as marked by the flags at the top of the page.

I am fine with a few of these, in strategic locations, because they serve as a sort of forward base in case of trouble and allow soldiers to get used to working in another culture and setting for the same reason. But all of them? These bases are expensive to maintain, and a lot of that money just goes straight into the pockets of those countries. And many of those countries are openly hostile toward the United States. Why is the US subsidizing enemies?

One base per region I could stand but all of them, all over the world like that? Particularly in Europe? At Via Meadia, Walter Russel Mead writes:
The Rasmussen polling organization is out with a shock poll that the entire Washington establishment needs to study: 51 percent of voters surveyed said they wanted all US troops out of Europe, now. Only 29 percent favored keeping the troops where they are.
Now I've written about this in the past, and it seems to be an idea that is gaining momentum so perhaps soon we'll see some of these bases shut down. Mead thinks that these bases are critical and should stay open, but I say the US can't afford them and we have too many in areas that hate America and don't deserve its flood of dollars any longer.

Europe in particular has been able to shrug off national defense to a very large degree because the US has been shouldering the burden at the cost of its own taxpayers. Its time that ends. Yes, it could very likely lead to war at some point between European nations; that's been the standard for Europe all of its existence except a few decades recently (and under Pax Britannica, for similar reasons). But that's Europe's problem, not America's. And with a debt load of greater than the GDP, pushing past fifteen trillion dollars soon, its time we seriously reconsider how the nation implements its foreign policy.

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