How Much Empire Can We Afford?

Before the Cold War (1947-1991), most Americans viewed a large military contingent as a

 Chief of Staff Matome Ugaki, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, liaison staff officer Shigero Fujii, and administrative officer Yasuji Watanabe aboard battleship Nagato, early 1940s

Chief of Staff Matome Ugaki, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, liaison staff officer Shigero Fujii, and administrative officer Yasuji Watanabe aboard battleship Nagato, early 1940s

transient that responded to hot wars. Legends, and myths, of U.S. military might kept the continental U.S. free from attack. The country was a  ‘sleeping giant’ (Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ) not to be poked by a stick. During the Cold War, the United States, like the Byzantine, Ottoman, Roman & British Empires before us, pretty much occupied the world.

The United Nations, bless their little hearts, recognizes 193 countries, including Vatican City. The United States has bases in 150 of those countries. The United States currently occupies about 78% of the world. Apart from the few bases established to support the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the mid-east, the majority of those bases were developed during the Cold War. In January 2013,

Africa is a resource prize.

Africa is a resource prize.

the United States announced that it was deploying  troops to 35 African Nations.  According to Washington’s Blog[1], “America Sets Its Sights On Controlling African Resources … And Reducing Chinese Influence”. When the government uses the military to secure natural resources in someone else’s country, it should come as no surprise that they do not love the United States. When the government uses the military to directly or indirectly back up what we tell other sovereign countries they ‘have’ to do, they hate the United States. Those countries the Unites States does not occupy view our government as potentially hostile-humm, I wonder why?

The Cold War desensitized most post-WWII Americans from even asking whether or not the

The base was on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list. Air Force officials are saying with a smaller force, Congress should revisit closing some bases.

The base was on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list. Air Force officials are saying with a smaller force, Congress should revisit closing some bases.

physical occupation of most of the world made sense within our Constitution’s legal framework. Earlier generations frequently railed against unnecessary overseas bases that continued on after hostilities ended.  After the Cold War was declared ‘over’, the government implemented the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) based on the 1990 Base Closure Act. Having worked on several BRAC projects, I can assure you the realignment worked perfectly. The bases closed were old and new bases or re-vamped bases sprung up in their stead. So, in 2007, we still occupied about 78% of the world. The Cold War gave excellent cover for the government’s empire building. I mean everyone feared the Soviet Union’s drive to conquer the world, didn’t they. There it is again. Fear driving an agenda or two.

It costs a bunch of money to maintain overseas bases and it is tough to get an accounting just how much a bunch is. About 2009, the government re-focused and many of the new base locations became classified or secret so the money trail went cold. My sources suggest the annual cost to maintain these bases may be approaching half a trillion dollars. And what of our young men and women, the soldiers? How are their talents being used?

The Constitution’s guidance, with respect to the military, is not clear. It is most direct in Article 1 Section 8:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress[2];

The Cold War gave us an empire and we used that empire, for better or for worse, to enforce our will: economically, politically, and philosophically.  Now, the economic bubbles have come and gone and come again. The fiat currency is killing us slowly and the Federal Reserve is printing $85 billion a month just to keep the government and the financial sector afloat.  Our military is being weakened, through ignorance rather than malice, I hope. Most of the world hates us. Can we afford to maintain our military occupation of the world to satisfy the lusts of politicians and their cronies? Does it make sense?

 



[2] The last clause has been used as the basis for drafting civilians into the military.

 

2 thoughts on “How Much Empire Can We Afford?

  1. A lot to think about….and I am not a scholar….but I do not see how can we not maintain are bases throughout the world…after all I thought we were a nation that not only protects are own but we support those that can’t support themselves…all in the name of freedom for all….So if we support the studies of snail gentials…machanical squarrls…and golf withTiger….and we can’t support are military bases through out the world? …..maybe we need to ask WHY we have become a culture that is so complacant….and learn from the past..for without the past there would be no furture….GOOD ARTICLE….( I think I need spell check)

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I completely agree with you. Most Americans still reach out and help those in need, most Americans live by Ben Franklin’s admonition of ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, which is not even politically correct anymore. The doctrine of politically correct is why we have become immune to questioning motives. It becomes a deep cover for other activities. We hop, we pray that we are as great a nation as our potential. We need a return to the raucous questioning of the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. True it wasn’t as comfortable but it was a great deal healthier and safer. Political correctness kills people.

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