We hear lots of talk about the “fiscal cliff” and Republicans demanding budget cuts but no one ever seems to talk about the elephant in the room called the Defense budget. The U.S. spent $680 billion on our Army, Navy and Air Force in 2011 accounting for 45% of the worlds military spending. In addition over $50 billion was spent on civilian intelligence agencies.
The U.S. has ten active aircraft carriers and three more under construction, no other country, not even China currently operates more than one and al-Qaeda has none.
According to the Arms Control Association the U.S. has over 5100 nuclear warheads, Russia has about the same number but roughly half are awaiting dismantlement. China has 240, France under 300 and the United Kingdom about 225, India and Pakistan about 100 each, North Korea may have ten if they’re able to build functioning warheads and al-Qaeda has none.
The U.S. has over 800 military bases on foreign soil, that’s over four for every nation on earth.
Surely we can retire four aircraft carriers, a few thousand nuclear warheads and close several hundred overseas bases to help bring our federal deficit under control. It’s time we faced the fact that this nation can no longer afford to maintain the empire we established over the first half of the last century. We won’t be the first super-power to recognize it but if we do it now we’ll be the first to avoid waiting until we’ve wrecked our economy.