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Gates Wants Europe to Beggar Itself on War

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010 17:00
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attends graduation ceremonies at West Point, 05/23/09. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attends graduation ceremonies at West Point, 05/23/09. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)


Gates Wants Europe to Beggar Itself on War Expenditures the Way the US Has

S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decries Europe for general antiwar sentiment, unwillingness to beggar itself with expenditures on war.

But as far as I can tell, Europe is the world's largest economy and got there without any recent substantial wars except those the US dragged it into. Moreover, the fastest-growing economy for the past nearly 30 years has been China, which spends a fraction on their military of what the US spends on its, and, aside from a skirmish with Vietnam in the early 1980s, has been at peace. Apparently massive war expenditures are unrelated to economic growth or prosperity.

In contrast, the US has been at war for 19 of the last 47 years (not counting US-backed insurgencies such as 1980s Afghanistan, on which we spent billions) but has not grown faster than the other two economically. Moreover, the increasingly unwieldy US national debt, deriving from the US government spending more than it took in in recent decades, would not exist if the US military budget had been the same as that of the European Union since 1980. The US overspent on its military because Washington mistakenly thought the Soviet economy was twice as big as it actually was, and vastly over-estimated Soviet military capabilities. The bloated military budgets continue now, apparently because of a couple thousand al-Qaeda operatives hiding out in caves in the Hadhramawt and Waziristan.

Some statistics to ponder:

US Military Budget 2009: $711 billion
European Union Military Budget 2009: $289 billion
China Military Budget 2009: $122 billion.

US GDP 2009: $14.4 trillion
European Union GDP 2009: $16.5 trillion (PPP)
China GDP 2009: $8.8 trillion (PPP)

US economic growth 2009: 0.2%
European Union economic growth 2009: -4%
China economic growth 2009: 8.7 %


The real military-related expenditures of the US are closer to $1 trillion. If the US cut those back to the level of the European Union and spent the money on promoting solar energy and making it inexpensive, America would have a chance of remaining a great power in the 21st century. If it goes on rampaging around the world bankrupting itself by invading and occupying other countries, the Chinese will laugh at us all the way to world dominance.


Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute.

 

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+3 # Guest 2010-02-24 17:17
World War II was the last time congress actually declared war. Since then, it's been a "police action" (Korea--Pres. Truman), Vietnam (Kennedy through Nixon), a couple of gulf wars, and a few little ones that most people forget (Clinton, among others).
It must be good business for someone. Maybe the various sites in every state (they split up the making of the components so many states have a stake).
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-24 23:54
The US was involved in Vietnam indirectly in 1950, during the Eisenhower mis-administrat ion the CIA became active,followed by "military advisors". So administrations from truman through Nixon deserve blame for that blunder.
 
 
+1 # Guest 2010-02-24 21:29
Excuse me, but are we not forgetting the Balkans?
 
 
+4 # Guest 2010-02-24 21:54
Perhaps we could do as the British finally did...divest ourselves of empire. With over 700 military bases across the globe and excessive capacity for using military options first and diplomatic options last, should it really surprise us that we can't afford to maintain our own infrastructure any more? Who, besides military contractors, benefits from all of this?

Are there still people out there that think that being the biggest, baddest hombre out there really works any more?

What will it mean when we have quadrupled our armaments which remain more than the sum of the rest of the earth already, and our bridges are falling down, our schools are falling into morbid disrepair, our jobs dissapear and our health care becomes less than third world? OOPS! I think we're already there (pretty near that is)!
 
 
+5 # Guest 2010-02-24 23:02
The reason for the obscene expenditures on Defense is because it is a boondoggle for the war machine. follow the money
 
 
+2 # surfflyer 2010-02-24 23:39
This article is so RIGHT ON! Thank you Juan Cole. I wish everyone in this country wouyld hear this.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-24 23:41
This is, in my opinion, a very accurate summary of the Great American Bankruptcy.

The movie, Why We Fight (2005), directed by Eugene Jarecki, provided a very clear view of America's addiction to war, due to the money to be made by the War Machine.

It is good to remember that it was the 5-star general of the Army and Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower who spoke so lucidly and forcefully in his farewell address of the need to be wary of the military industrial complex. How many more high tech, exorbitant weapons systems do we really need to maintain our position and security in the world?
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 00:44
0 # GINNY 2010-02-24 17:17

The USA went into Vietnam during Truman's presidency and again through Eisenhower's presidency - under the guise of nation building when the French came into trouble with their meger occupation .
Do you not realize that this conflict - leading to War - was another war for dominance and control of a countries Natural Resources and allegiance of their people to America.
Let other countries and their people be unless the majority ask for help.
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-25 00:45
Obama is smart enough to understand this.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 00:45
0 # GINNY 2010-02-24 17:17

The USA went into Vietnam during Truman's presidency and again through Eisenhower's presidency - under the guise of nation building when the French came into trouble with their meger occupation .
Do you not realize that this conflict - leading to War - was another war for dominance and control of a countries Natural Resources and allegiance of their people to America.
Let other countries and their people be.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 00:46
0 # GINNY 2010-02-24 17:17

The USA went into Vietnam during Truman's presidency and again through Eisenhower's presidency - under the guise of nation building when the French came into trouble with their meger occupation .
Do you not realize that this conflict - leading to War - was another war for dominance and control of a countries Natural Resources and allegiance of their people to America.
Let other countries and their people be.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 00:56
People in most countries don't value the 'product' that the military provides as highly as Americans seem too.

Most countries spend for defence. America spends for world dominance. But if it wants world dominance, it's going to have to spend even more.

Time to decide, America.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 01:09
The facts state the obvious.. The US cannot have it's war policies and economic growth too. It is well past time to evaluate which is better? A war economy where the few get rich in the industrial military complex or the American people? Which is more important to the Government and leadership of America?

I am glad I live in Europe. Bye bye America! Pity.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 01:33
Thanks for a excellent summary. There is one question that keeps rolling and rolling around in my mind: Why, oh why do the Americans not understand this?
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-25 03:16
I do not support standing armies, the military ndustrial complex, or any war, but the reson Europe and China don not need to spend as much on the war machine is because they rely onthe US to spend and plunder while Europe and China reap much benefits. China was the first nation in Iraq and Afganistan to win oil contracts--Chin a financed much of he war in loans. Europe supports the US machine in various small ways and wins contracts all over the globe and benefits from (at least percieved) US protection, against the phantom menace.
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-25 03:18
There isn't much protest against US wars because the G-8 expect to reap benefits in the form of business contracts--once the democratic nations or free nations (dubbed rogue states and demonized by the US) are annihilted and demorlized the G-8 can move in with it capitalist pigs and take ove the economy--resist ence is killed, imprisones, and demonized. There all in it together.
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-25 10:50
Joshua ,you hit the nail right on the head.But most people are too dumb to see how this works.War is a business and this is one reason Gates goes around Europe to sell his ideas.You see Europe is tired of WARS .You see I lived thru the second WW.But America loves to play BUlley and tell everybody what to DO.Except for the COLD WAR which was created BY Americ by not letting General Patton diving the Russians back to Moscow.Americas foreign policy is a WORLD DISASTER and the American people have to pay for ALL the Screw-ups.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 03:31
Even WWII was manufactured by corporate fascists on all sides. The BUsh terror family has deep connctions to the Third Reich s did many US corporations at he time. The Zionist movement was pushing for a return to ISreal. What better way to achieve that, and the benefits the G-8 would reap from a ally in an oil richregion than to sacrifice millions of jews--they did in Peal Harbor,the Gulf of tonkin (a lie), and they did it on 911. (11 was orchestrated by the US MIC (maybe SA, and Isreal). Its a game to them. Human lives mean nothing to these powerful and very wickd families orchestrating it all. The pyramid with the all-seeing eye explains everything--the ir idealogy. Why else would it be on US currency. On the dime you will find a fasciste symbol. America is a fascist.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 05:39
I think Juan needs to read the writings of Milton Friedman to understand just why we are in a constant state of high military preparedness over the last 30 years. Friedman, father of the neo lib movement, developed the ideas used now by Grover Norquist for starving government and eliminating those pesky social safety net programs. Simple, just keep wars going indefinitely so the money cannot be budgeted for social issues. Instant economic makeover. An issue supported and followed well by the DLC.
 
 
+2 # NS10 2010-02-25 05:41
Gates' comment that "The demilitarizatio n of Europe ... has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st" is a real contribution to 1984-style "War Is Peace" discourse.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 06:15
It's all about money amassed by greedy corporations that manufacture weapons and supplies of war. Remember Cheney's Halliburton? Corporate interests have our government in their back pockets. They learned during WWII that wars mean greater profits and we have been in senseless wars ever since. Legislators want campaign money, so it is a perfect storm.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 07:26
War is like cancer,it will destroy its host.
The cancer tumor is the military complex.
The tumor is being fed by greed, the lust for power and controle.

Lucien Hut.
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 07:45
Juan is speaking to deaf ears. In fact, he is is speaking on dangerous grounds. America (the USA) loves war. Violence and greed has became it's cultur and has also destroyed it's credibility as a just nation. Most Americans just simply ignored or dismiss these factual events. It has become a nation of ugly angry fat people waving guns at political rallies and becoming more ignorant and arrogance in the process while the news media and the GOP encourages them even further. It is the only time and place in History where one political party (the GOP) is doing everything to destroy the nation in order to "save" it!

That fact is, the USA has more young men and women in prison than the rest of the world combine while the corrupted corporations and equally corrupted judicial system thrives proves that young people have no chance in the US morally, economically and happiness. Everyone is angry.

America, do not cry for me, cry for the the future of your soul!
 
 
+2 # Guest 2010-02-25 11:18
But Americans love war. We are a sadistic, predatory nation. That is what America has become. We even prey on our own people, and they like being preyed upon (which is pure genius when you think of it) as long as they think it happens to "the other guy,"and to them personally. And when it does, THEY become "the other guy." Americans want to kill, or make suffer, "the other person." American Christianity legitimatizes power through oppression and greed. The driving ethic of the "conservative movement" is predatory lying, and we like it. We derive great pleasure in seeing people without medical coverage suffer and die if they are "the other guy." We love torture for its amusement value. We send our own, er "the other guy's", kids into meaningless wars for our own amusement and sadistic vindication in seeing our enemies du jour splattered by a machine gun. This is what America IS minus its bull***t veneer.
 
 
+1 # Guest 2010-02-25 17:25
MAKE WAR OBSOLETE!

MAKE OIL OBSOLETE!

MAKE PREDATORS OBSOLETE!

(..if you/we DO it, it will be DONE!)

There is viable, clean/green energy technology, replicable at the grassroots level and designed for using on-demand HHO with which oil could quickly become obsolete which would in turn accomplish making war and predators obsolete while allowing the world to switch from scarcity to abundance. IMAGINE!

Join by DIY and/or pushing and boosting replication in a neighborhood around or near YOU!
Come all ye shade-tree mechanics the world 'round,
LET'S REPLICATE!
(-:G
 
 
0 # Guest 2010-02-25 21:25
Well, then, would it be okay to decry Gates and President Obama for their pro-war tendencies, and to interpret these as character weakness? I would like to ask the two gentlemen what good, exactly, the Afghan War so far has done, what possible good it is doing right now, and what good it will do in the future? And why they believe that beggaring the United States is a good idea?-
 

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