America has economic sustainability problems.
Many say the answer is simple.
America spends a staggering amount of money on military/defense, far more than any other country in the world. In 2010, the USA represented about 45% of the world's total defense spending. According to Ron Paul, in 2011 we had 900 overseas military bases, and military personnel in 130 countries. America is the world's pre-eminent military superpower, without question. We provide an umbrella of protection for our allies not only in North America, but over Europe and Asia as well. We have been called the world's policeman, and rightly so. Since World War II, it has been America who sends it's soldiers into harm's way. Korea, Vietnam, the Bay Of Pigs, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.
All we have to do is stop.
Bring our troops home. Close our military bases around the world. Let our allies defend themselves. Why is it always OUR blood being spilled ? That's not fair.
If we withdraw from our role as protector of the free world and righter of international wrongs, we could save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars PER YEAR. That military/defense savings could be used to shore up our unsustainable entitlement programs and maybe provide everyone with health care insurance to boot. Plus, our soldiers would no longer be in harm's way. And without our military presence in the Middle East, maybe the Islamists wouldn't hate us so much, and we'd be safer from terrorist attacks here at home. It's win win.
I told you, the solution is simple. I hear people propose this solution all the time, and I have to say, it sounds good to me. Like most people, I'm sick and tired of war. Who doesn't hate war ? War stinks. If I could wave a magic wand and end war forever, I would. That would be great. I grew up on The Beatles. Give Peace A Chance. All You Need Is Love. That's what I'm all about. I don't want to fight anyone. I abhor violence.
So let's implement this simple solution and end America's hegemonic military reign. Sound good ? Cool.
But before we do, there are a few things to discuss. We musn't confuse simple solutions with simplistic ones. We must go into this with our eyes open. Ending America's umbrella of military protection has consequences. We can't pretend otherwise. What might those consequences be ?
Let's start with Asia.
Currently, we protect South Korea from North Korea. Without our protection, North Korea would almost certainly invade South Korea to accomplish it's numero uno desire for a reunited Korea. That would be the first major war as a result of our withdrawal. Lots of people would be killed. Sad, but no longer our problem.
Next, China very much wants to re-take Taiwan, but America has sworn to protect Taiwan, and China doesn't want to do tangle with mighty America. If we removed our protection, China would invade Taiwan. That would be the second war sparked by our withdrawal.
Our ally Japan also lives under the umbrella of American protection. Without us, Japan would dramatically increase it's military spending, because Japan lives next to crazy North Korea, who is perilously close to being a nuclear power if it isn't already. China and Japan are not friends either, and there is a history of bad blood between those two countries. Basically, without America, it is extremely likely that the entire Asian peninsula would become destabilized and more volatile.
Next, the Middle East.
The Islamists would be OVERJOYED at the prospect of no American military power in the region. They'd literally be dancing in the streets all over the Middle East...and then they'd go about the business of destroying Israel and taking over every other Middle Eastern country. Iran would become the strongest country in the Middle East next to Israel. Iran would takeover Iraq, and then it would take Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who would no longer benefit from the military protection of the United States. Once Iran's coalition was strong enough, and Israel was no longer being armed by the United States, Israel would be destroyed. Because the Middle East supplies oil to China, Russia, and the European Union, there would probably be major oil disruptions as the Middle East descended into chaos and war. The oil disruptions would likely draw China, Russia, and the EU into an ever-widening conflict as the economic reverberations shook the world. We'd lose lots of our oil supply too, but so what, we're no longer involved. We'll make do with (cough) wind and solar power.
Speaking of Europe, what do you suppose would have happened in Bosnia had we not intervened to stop the ethnic cleansing ? Perhaps everyone would have been "cleansed" by now. I'm just asking. I remember a few places where we didn't intervene. 70,000 have been killed in Syria so far, and millions have been displaced. We haven't intervened there. We didn't intervene in the Rwandan genocide, and about 500,000 were killed. There are plenty of other examples. It's a good thing we have the United Nations to keep bad actors in line, eh ? Oh wait, the might of the United Nations is primarily American might. Oh well. Let's hope the genocides don't get too out of hand. I'm sure a strongly worded UN resolution will stop North Korea or the Islamists. Well, maybe. Okay, it won't.
If we're lucky, all the wars that would be sparked by the withdrawal of American military might will stop short of World War III, though World Wars I and II indicate the odds aren't very good for pre-American power world stability.
There's your simple solution.
I'm not recommending any course of action here, of course, I'm just your humble reporter. I'm only pointing out choices and consequences. The people you should distrust are the ones who pretend there wouldn't be any consequences.
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