Max Boot: Overspending the Peace DividendRoundup: Historians' Take
Max Boot is a contributing editor to Opinion and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This essay is adapted from an article in the current issue of Commentary.
In unveiling a new strategic review Thursday, President Obama warned that "we can't afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past — after World War II, after Vietnam — when our military was left ill-prepared for the future."
"As commander in chief," he vowed, "I will not let that happen again. Not on my watch."
Actually, it is already happening again on his watch. Last summer, defense spending was slashed by $487 billion over 10 years. Then, right before Thanksgiving, a special committee of Congress failed to agree on $1.2 trillion in alternative cuts, which opened the way to another $500 billion or so in defense cuts. Hundreds of billions more in so-called emergency funding will be gone as we wind down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all, the defense budget could shrink by 31% over the next decade, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. That compares with cuts of 53% after the Korean War, 26% after the Vietnam War and 34% after the Cold War.
Some might argue that there is nothing wrong or damaging in this; that we always downsize our military after the conclusion of hostilities. But is it so wise to repeat history? Leave aside the fact that we are not really at peace — troops are in combat every day in Afghanistan — and simply consider the consequences of past drawdowns....
comments powered by Disqus
- Snopes debunks slavery Internet meme
- Revamped Chinese History Journal Welcomes Hard-Line Writers
- Poll: 3 Out of 5 Texan Trump Supporters Want Secession if Hillary Clinton Is Elected
- The Psychiatric Question: Is It Fair to Analyze Donald Trump From Afar?
- Minorities still feel Eugene, Oregon’s historical link to the Ku Klux Klan
- Ernst Nolte, Historian Whose Views on Hitler Caused an Uproar, Dies at 93
- Japan should give formal apology for wartime aggression, says historian
- Historian Benjamin Madley says what whites did to Indians in the 19th century in California was genocide.
- Kevin Baker says America needs to bring back political machines
- Covell Meyskens uses his blog to show what life was like under Mao. (Interview)