Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fiscal Hawks vs. Defense Hawks

What’s really bothering neocons is that for the first time since 9-11, increased defense spending is no longer an article of faith. They had managed the remarkable political feat of reversing America’s post-Vietnam antipathy towards war, creating a presumption in favor of military engagement, despite the country’s strong non-interventionist intellectual tradition that harkens back to the founding. (Remember George Washington’s warning against foreign entanglements?) They made the idea of America playing global cop intellectually respectable again.

But their open-ended defense agenda is no longer fiscally sustainable. Indeed, fiscal hawks who want to keep a lid on taxes have every reason to question the neocon threat assessment that has wildly exaggerated the danger posed by al Qaeda and Islamist radicalism. With the end of the Cold War, America should have reaped a peace dividend by shuttering its bases in Europe and Asia and allowing allies to foot more of their own defense bill. Instead, defense spending rose from the Reagan-era peak of $574 billion (in 2000 dollars) to $644 billion in order to finance a never-ending war on terror and the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya.

No comments:

opinions powered by