Victor Davis Hanson: American Recessionaltags: National Review, sequestration, Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution
Republicans and Democrats are blaming one another for impending cuts to the defense budget brought about by sequestration. But with serial annual deficits of $1 trillion–plus and an aggregate debt nearing $17 trillion, the United States — like the insolvent Rome and exhausted Great Britain of the past — was bound to reexamine its expensive overseas commitments and strategic profile.
The president’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary was a sort of Zen-like way of having a Republican combat veteran orchestrate a reduced military. In fact, Barack Obama has nurtured a broad and diverse constituency for his neo-isolationist vision. Budget hawks concede that defense must suffer its fair share of cuts. Libertarians want their republic back and hate the big-government baggage that comes along with a big military’s involvement overseas. Leftists agree, adding that the U.S. has neither the moral authority nor the wherewithal to arrange events overseas. For liberals, a scaled-back military presence abroad means more entitlements at home. For each F-22 Raptor not built, about another 20,000 families could receive food stamps for a year.
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