Monday, June 06, 2005

Worlds Best

Its good to know that the politicians are doing one thing right. The US has and is maintaining the world's best military, reaffirmed by this financial times article stating that Europe's defense industry is lagging far behind (20-30% of) the US in new tech. investments. The paper had another article on the same page about Rumsfeld's admonishment of China's rising military spending, apparently now the world's third (what's the second?) highest. Thus although we're safe today, look out for tommorrow, especially since a nation can't just have a good military and be set. In order to keep us secure, we've got to have political and economic security. Right now both are imperilled, the first by our foreign diplomacy and terrorism, the second by deficits, energy, and internal problems, and both by China. China's boost in military spending is in direct correlation to its rising economy. If its economy surpasses us, as many say it will, we're in big trouble. Yet another reason to push ahead the practical agenda.

On a similar note, our military won't be of much use if it always costs so much to execute a war. Iraq is costing somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 billion dollars a year, and that's just an occupation. Honestly, that equates to roughly .5 million a soldier a year. I know we can't short-change our soldiers, but I also know that we can't afford to cough up this much for every war we go to. I think we've got some inefficiencies along the line, and I suspect we're getting ripped off. There is no way we're paying the lowest price plausible when truck drivers are getting 100,000 a year, but then again, the entire idea of contracting out military work is a bad one.


Benton C. Glaze said...

I believe that Israel has the second highest military budget.

wlpeak said...

Israel! Hardly.

Here's a list, I can't vouch for its current accuracy but its in the same ballpark that I've seen at Jane's.

wlpeak said...

As to how much this war costs, to occupy a nation while rebuilding it cost a great deal.

If we merely wanted to destroy a nation, the war would have been over long ago and cost a fraction of its current price. It is because we are so meticulus in our approach, so cautious, that we are spending so much money.

( eg, We use incredibly expensive smart bombs to take out small 'squads' of opponents, as opposed to a WWII style general bombardment. Whish is both cheaper and more effective in the long run. IMHO )

Jason Coleman said...

You have to look at the rise of the Chinese military like the arms race of the Cold War. We've gotten the Communists into the game, and they've learned a bit from the Soviet failure. They are building up their economy first and trailing the defense tech on that economy. Good move on their part.

Their failing will be on the basis of their economy. They are "pegging" the RMB/Yuan to the U.S. Dollar. Treasury Secretary John Snow plans to force them off this within two years. Their economy will tank versus ours as a result. They will be forced into a decision of either "Go Democractic Capitalist and give up" or continue with a massive military complex that will force them into bankruptcy.

Of course it's alot like high stakes poker, we've got the hand, but they may bluff their way to victory if we don't respond decisively at any aggressive moves.

They tried to bail out via the Euro and define their economy. I think we can all see that is a failure. They've also begun trying the Japan attack by buying our assets. They forget that when we suck the fire out of their currency, they'll be forced to give up these holdings at a loss.

There is always risk in war, whether it's the war of bullets on the battlefield or dollars in international trade. I'm still confident we're in the better position and calling the most shots.