Cut Military Spending, but Restrain Foreign Policy First

by Doug Bandow

“[W]hat is the appropriate level of ‘defense’ outlays? (Many if not most military expenditures go for offense, usually for purposes having little to do with protecting America.) Trade-offs with other spending will always be needed. However, the specific balance should differ depending upon circumstance. Essential is considering the foreign policy objectives which the Pentagon budget is designed to achieve. Compare 1924, a time of peace with America facing no recognizable foreign threats; 1944, in the midst of World War II; 1974, out of Vietnam but with the Cold War still raging; 1994, Cold War over; and today. The threat environment has changed dramatically over time. So should the military’s force structure and outlays. Nevertheless, the bipartisan consensus promoted by what Ben Rhodes called the Blob changes only at the margins.” (06/08/21)