Obama's best decision | The Jackal

6 Jan 2012

Obama's best decision

Today, the New York Times reported:

WASHINGTON — President Obama outlined a broad new military strategy for the United States on Thursday, one that refocuses the armed forces on threats in Asia and the Pacific region, continues a strong presence in the Middle East but makes clear that American ground forces will no longer be large enough to conduct prolonged, large-scale counterinsurgency campaigns like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
But in an election year when he has been under assault from Republican presidential candidates for cutting the military budget and for what they say is his weak response to Iranian threats, Mr. Obama also said that the United States would “avoid repeating the mistakes of the past when our military was left ill-prepared for the future.” 
The new military strategy is driven by at least $450 billion in Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be ordered if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions.

Although obviously a budget conscious decision, the humanitarian ramifications of such a move could be enormous. The US spent approximately $1.5 trillion last year on its military, with interest paid on debt incurred running at around $430 billion. The scary thing is that some experts estimate these indirect costs will eventually exceed direct military funding.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been financed almost entirely through borrowing... thus diverting funds that would otherwise have been spent in more productive ways, especially on private investment that would have helped grow the economy. There is no doubt that the additional pressures the wars have placed on the US economy, helped facilitate their current financial instability.

A move away from crippling military funding is a most worthwhile endeavour, not just for the United States, but also for the rest of the world that is dependent on a strong US economy.