Skip to comments.Why the U.S. Has Troops around the World
Posted on 01/21/2012 2:00:14 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Two large elements dominate the debate over Barack Obamas decision to re-deploy the U.S. overseas military forces: the political views of preternatural isolationists and the paucity of perspective by news presenters. The isolationists demand that all troops be brought home now.
The national media are ignorant of why we have a military presence outside our borders to start with. No news outlet I know of has presented the background that explains why the U.S. has a military presence in key areas around the world. This fuels the isolationist cause, leaving Americans to decide between re-deployment or no deployment. The issue is exacerbated in the back of the collective mind in the context of the terrific budget deficit. And our efforts abroad appear to be failures and to add to America's bad image.
Since no one else will, let's review the situation.
Before World War I, America was allegedly isolationist, heeding George Washington's warning not to become involved in European wars. And having established our unique representative democracy against the British empire, there has always been a strong anti-imperialist attitude in these United States. Seems simple enough, except for the reality that the U.S., well before entering the European conflict in 1917, had been quietly building an empire of its own.
This is best exemplified by the spoils from the Spanish-American War of 1898 that included Cuba ,the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, which added to our previous possession of parts of Mexico that stood in our way on the road to building a transcontinental nation. We purchased Alaska from Russia -- and took over various islands, including Hawaii. And we enforced the Monroe Doctrine, an obvious big-power policy that smacked of imperialism, which threatened war against European interlopers who ventured into Central and Latin America.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Because the US Military has become the largest provider of welfare on the planet. That’s why.
You bet, and the fact there are thousands who've become extremely wealthy from it, while tens of millions of Americans watch their own borders, standard of living and economy become undermined and compromised.
There’s that, too.
Probably because most US bases are in places where no one really wants to live. If families didn’t have a chance to travel around the world, there would be way less re-enlistments.
I think a reasonable approach would be between blindly following the status quo, and Ron Paul isolationism. We should do with our military commitments what Rick Perry suggested for foriegn aid. That is, review everywhere we have forces stationed with the assumption that each one must justify the cost and necessity. For example, I see no reason for us to be in Korea anymore. South Korea is a rich, modern country. If Israel can defend themselves without our troops, so can South Korea. Like Israel they should develop their own nuclear deterent. I can’t see any reason not to considering NK has them. I also think we should reconsider our strategy in Afghanistan. Nation building will never work there, because they are not a nation, and the majority of Afghanis will resist any attempt to impose a national government. We should keep a force of Marines there to hunt down terrorists, pay off tribal leaders, and otherwise leave them alone. Just MHO.
Yet there is a cult still following that lying isolationist nutcase Paul.
Yes...we cannot afford this any longer. Western Europe, Korea and other places are going to have to take care of themselves.
Quite a deal for Europe all things considered. The US saves their socialist butts not once but twice from Germany, foots the bill to rebuild the continent after the second time, then provides all of their security while they give away all the money they don’t have to spend on security to people who want stuff for free.
They establish a role model of entitlement that certain segments of our society dream passionately for on a daily basis. The dreamers never once think that they can’t have those freebies because we gave everything away already to their role models and we have to keep spending money on defense for the entire world because nobbdy else will, even if they could afford it.
Europe: Made possible by the US taxpayer and the US military.
Now we could bring all those troops home and stop being everyone’s protector. But once home and the military was dramatically downsized, exactly where would all those former military personnel work? We have no jobs now without throwing all of them out of the military. Without jobs and military housing, what would their families do? We owe them for their sacrifice and service but in reality what would we do with them?
Guard the borders? OK, but ALL of them? A problem without and easy solution, for sure.
That's the ticket. Equate isolation with Paul and with nutcase. Nevermind the globalists and internationalists are bleeding us into poverty toward the dustbin of history.
That's the ticket. Equate isolation with Paul and with nutcase. Nevermind the globalists and internationalists are bleeding us into poverty toward the dustbin of history.
Exactly which part of “we’re broke” is giving you the most trouble, Skippy?
There are several reasons for our current military configuration.
First of these are the “Unified Combatant Commands”, which have essentially subdivided the entire world into regions of US interest.
This is a holdover from the Cold War, in which almost any place not watched by the US would experience attempts by the Soviet Union to bring it into their sphere of influence. They basically subdivided the world the same way as we did, but with the idea of creating communist regimes.
With the end of the Cold War, the US took upon itself the role of “world policeman”, basically asserting that its national interests were so widespread that it should be able to horn in to any dispute it wanted to.
However, added to that was the more Democrat party idea that military forces could be deployed hither and yon for *diplomatic* and intelligence purposes. Today this means that though realistically speaking, the US has only a dozen areas around the world that are militarily critical, it has forces deployed to over 100 countries, many unable to *do* anything other than to “maintain a presence” there.
Alternatively, the Republican party idea was to try and position our forces where *in the future* it was anticipated there was going to be animosity, civil war and war.
Probably the *least* interesting place, where nobody in particular wanted US forces, is the majority of Africa. But about everywhere else is fair game.
However, taking all of this into account, the leaders of the United States need to make some major, cost saving reevaluations.
First of all, figure out where all our critical deployments need to be today and in the near future. Second, what deployments are outdated or fruitless, accomplish nothing and waste resources.
[This gets very serious with “disputes the US has no interest in” (and just “peace” is not enough). The bottom line: unless nuclear war is a possibility, or a war will likely spread to become a much larger conflict, it is *not* our problem.]
Third, we must recalculate “force projection”. While we pride ourselves in our navy, we also need simpler, more practical ships *not* designed for modern naval warfare, but just routine functions.
A good analogy is how are now ancient B-52 bombers, low cost, easy maintenance, close to expendable, are so useful compared to our modern bombers that B-52s are used all the time. The same rationale applies to ships.
Certainly we need *some* high tech, cutting edge technologies, but for the most part we just need school buses and dump trucks, figuratively speaking.
When is the Right ever going to learn?
When someone on the Left proposes an idea that is out of the park, waaay past the foul line, the Left uses that proposal to make an intermediary step between the status quo and that far goalpost seem "reasonable". Then they push for it as if it is.
On the Right, however, whenever someone breaks ranks, we have the pitchforks and flamethrowers out before even the Left can respond, and incinerate our own 'extremists' before the Left does.
It also means we are stuck negotiating with their extremists with no counterbalancing viewpoint on our side.
And we wonder why conservatives can't effect any change back from the damage the left has done.
Stuck on stupid, the cycle repeats...
I guess the moon bat isolationists and those here are all inclusive
There may be some valid reasons to reconsider certain military commitments, but our alleged inability to afford it isn't one of them. We currently spend around 4% of GDP on the entire defense budget. That includes the cost of the wars, troops overseas, everything. Contrary to Ron Paul's claims, it isn't defense that is bankrupting us.
Four percent of GDP is significantly less than we were spending during the Reagan years, is less than we were spending when Clinton took office, and is even less than Jimmy Carter spent when he was dismantling our forces. That's just a fact, so for the Paulbots to claim otherwise just makes them look silly(er).
The only reason we were able to save the world time after time was a population that DID NOT WANT TO FIGHT. We sat out, watched the world go to shi’ite...this time literally... then stepped in with serious misgivings. The people were not tired of fighting, they were full of righteous indignation, and full of the will to set things right. Now, we are broke, sick of fighting, and mad that we have expended so much, with no real end in sight. Next time we really need to go all out, we will find that people will not believe the jingoism of “saving civilization” whether true or not. The nation is tired, tired of endless war, and unwilling to defend others. The nation leading the next war, will be us. We will lead others to a likely victory, but will be like Britain after WW II. A nation with a proud tradition, and no money or will. We will find ourselves on the ash heap of history, looking at others fall prey to the “need” to police the world. A tired, and self serving people, with selfishness and lethargy all around. THAT is why we must pull back, give our treasury and citizens a chance to regroup, to recoup our legacy of honor and “Republicanism.” When needed, we will again be ready.
Runninglips, please see my post above yours. You may or may not have some other valid points to make but you simply cannot claim that the treasury needs a break due to military spending. It is SOCIAL SPENDING that is bankrupting us.
Spending on our military is fully 48% of the discretionary Federal budget. Comparing it to GDP is meaningless. It's like comparing it to the number of Twinkies produced by Hostess.
The Defense Department is only 20% of the US budget. The number one objective of the United States Constitution, as clearly spelled out right up front in the Premble is to “provide for the common defense”. Yet that nutcase anti-defense, Truther, let terrorist have nukes, praise traitors isolationist Ron Paul wants to close ALL US bases and gut the military.
It's 48% of Federal discretionary spending.
The number one objective of the United States Constitution, as clearly spelled out right up front in the Premble is to provide for the common defense
That same document states that no Military budget can be for a term of longer than two years. Go ahead, look it up. And not to pick nits, the "number one objective" of the Constitution isn't to provide for the common defense. Here's the Preamble. Read it for yourself:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
So as you can plainly see, common defense doesn't come in second, or even third. Another interesting little tidbit is that "common defense" isn't capitalized while "Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" is. So which of those do you think Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson thought were most important?
And as long as we're talking about the Constitution why don't we discuss how the Founding Fathers felt about a standing army as well as foreign entanglements.
Yet that nutcase anti-defense, Truther, let terrorist have nukes, praise traitors isolationist
You should wipe that spittle off your face. It's unattractive.
I am the first to acknowledge the necessity of an American military presence around the world. It is a strategic reality that our nation has GLOBAL national security interests, and we have enemies around the entire world that, in the age of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and nuclear weapons, necessitates our military be stationed at particular key locations to protect us. I understand the historic threat that was posed by Nazism, Fascism and Imperial Japan in WWII, and in the designs the Soviet Empire and Communists had on world conquest during the Cold War - it was real, and it had to be countered..... ALL that said, THIS article is just about the clearest piece of Neo-Conservative propaganda I’ve read in short form in a LONG time. Not that it isn’t accurate in parts — it is. Our nation has, in many ways, become an “empire.” The Founders did NOT intend it to be so — and we should CEASE MOST of those practices and programs that come from the Progressive/Neo-Conservative mindset that WE have to be the “policemen of the world,” the “nation-builders,” or the “champions of democracy.” And still, this would NOT satisfy the Libertarian-Isolationist-Paulites.
Facts are stubborn things. Fact: Paul is an isolationsit and a clear and presant danger to the number one objective of the United States Constitution, defense. Fact: Paul is a nutcase. There is a long list of unbelievable wacko crappola has spewed from that kook for decades.
The nation’s federal government is broke but it is NOT from doing its primary function or whoever the “globalists and internationalists” are supposed to be. It is primarily because of entitlements.
You're not getting it. Comparison to GDP is wholly appropriate, as it's the only way to make valid comparisons from year to year. Let me give you an example:
Two people, let's call them person A and person B each have a car payment. Person A has a Yugo and pays $100 per month, while person B instead opts for a Ferrari and has a monthly payment of $5,000. Using your logic, you would say that person B has purchased a car he can't possibly afford and must therefore cut back before he goes broke.
But there's one crucial piece of information missing from your calculation: their relative incomes! If person B has 50 times the annual income of person A then he can afford the Ferrari with no trouble at all. Raw dollar amounts, or even budget percentages are meaningless without knowing what percentage of total economic output (GDP) they represent.
Thankfully, though, it was not Ron Paul but Thomas Jefferson who was Commander in Chief, and he understood the necessity of demonstrating that American ships could not be attacked with impunity and American citizens could not be kidnapped without serious consequences. In a word, he understood DETERRENCE, a term that is entirely alien to Ron Paul and his followers.
No it isn't.
as it's the only way to make valid comparisons from year to year.
Incredibly, amazingly, astoudingly, wrong. There's another way. Can you guess it? Here, I'll help. It goes like this:
"How much did we spend this year? Will we spend more or less next year?" Or there's this question, which makes Neocon heads explode:
"Why should the American taxpayer subsidize the German economy by basing thousands of American troops there to defend them from an enemy who no longer exists when they're perfectly capable of defending themselves?" Insert any of the 140+ countries on the planet where American boots are currently trodding.
So go back to school and learn some basic math, Scooter.
American foreign policy should be this in a nutshell: "F*** with us or a Treaty partner and we vaporize your Capital city." Then we make an example of one. Personally I like the idea of turning Mecca into radioactive dust just to make a point. No more "nation building", "spreading Democracy" or any of that crap. Just a simple "Screw with us and die."
Barring that, I pick Belgium. Then we can say "This is what we do to countries we aren't pissed at."
No more "nation building", "spreading Democracy" or any of that crap. Just a simple "Screw with us and die." And we don't spend the next decade rebuilding. The Romans didn't rebuild Carthage, they killed every living thing there. That should be our policy, too.
My recollection of the FDR acolytes is that they wanted no post-war internationalism. Their aim was to destroy our W.W.II enemies -- and of no small import, those of their Uncle Joe Stalin's.
It was the pre-war isolationists who recognized the danger of communism -- post-FDR George Kennan initiated the containment policy of Truman. (Kennan was the author of the "containment policy" against the USSR during the Cold War)
the paucity of perspective by news presenters. . . the abysmal condition of American media could be explained by the simple reason that most of them see no reason to contain communism; to wit, Cold War troop deployment was simply wrong, wasteful, and war-mongering; indeed the Cold War was our fault in the view of many media employees.
In fact, I remember many a liberal arguing that we are playing into the hands of the Soviet hardliners by not helping the U.S.S.R. and therefore there will be war and it will be our fault -- internationalist Republican also advocated helping the U.S.S.R. exactly like Red China is being helped today. The The Greatest Generation said, HELL NO!
In 1950, Russia, now with a nuclear bomb of its own, pushed its pawn North Korea to invade South Korea.
I believe that it is a fact that Stalin's role was to provide the air power but he did not.
BTW, pre-WarII isolationists who recognized the danger of communism survived many attempts by FDR and Stalinist to destroy them -- tricking them (with the help of media employees), charging them, arresting and trying them for sedition -- The Great Sedition Trial of 1944. Something that I bet the Obamanists are studying how to do it right this time and rid the country of their political enemies -- something that FDR failed in his efforts to get the small guys then go after Senator Taft, et al.
There has been, there is now, and there will always be a dominant world military power. If the crackpot Paul closed ALL (as he promised) military bases and gutted the military, just what nation or group would you like to see become that dominant power? It would not be the US.
48% “discretionary” is a twisting of the numbers. It is 20% of the total budget.
And, Yes the defense of this nation IS the number one job of the Federal government as provised in the US Constitution. No common defense and there is NO domestic tranquility, no justice, no promoting of the general welfare....no country.
“Spittle”? No, there was none, just FACTS being presented succinctly about a loser candidate who happens to be a crackpot.
Define "dominant". There are many ways to dominate ones adversaries and they don't all include spreading America's sons and daughters to every third world sh** hole on the planet in futile efforts to civilize a bunch of 7th century savages.
Let the Air Force and Navy kill them in job lots and reduce their cities and infrastructure to ashes. We can get that done by next Friday. Then we sit back and say "OK, who's next?"
48% isn't twisting anything. It's a cold, hard fact. You just don't like it. Now you're perfectly entitled to your own opinion. But you're not entitled to your own facts.
One of the primary reasons we still have military forces in certain countries is to prevent former foes, such as Japan, from re-militarizing and to prevent some from developing nuclear forces of their own as a response to our withdrawl. The widespread distribution of our forces is the primary reason the world has not experienced greater nuclear proliferation than it has.
I agree that we shouldn't be expected to shoulder this burden by ourselves. Western Europe certainly should defend itself, and we have actually dramatically reduced our presence there already. In South Korea I suspect that our reluctance to leave them on their own is because we don't want two nuclear-armed Koreas facing off. There was also never an official end to the war there, merely an on-going armistace.
With respect to Japan, I suspect that we see removal of our protection as leading inevitably to Japan's nuclearization (or at least substantial build-up of conventional forces), which would probably make China very nervous and lead to an arms race in the region. There's a side of me that would like to see China sweat the presence of a more aggressive Japan, but I can understand why our military strategists would worry about this.
There are many more examples but in short, the world is a much more complicated and dangerous place than the likes of Ron Paul would have you believe.
GDP is still absolutely relevant to this calculation despite how you simplistically attempted to breeze by it. As for your complaint about the number of U.S. troops in Germany, you probably don't realize that we have already downsized them significantly in recent years. The number remaining today wouldn't even fill an average American football stadium (less than 60,000). You also fail to recognize that many of our troops are not there to protect Europe so much as they are there as forward deployment for other potential theatres of war, and to provide support functions to our troops elsewhere (ever hear about injured troops being airlifted to Germany for treatment?)
We currently spend around 4% of GDP on the entire defense budget.
What percentage of federal monies (taxes) is labeled for defense ?
What percentage of US foriegn aid is actually weapons and military technology ?
You forgot the huge military base there, the air base, all the planes, and the equipment, all of which cost hundreds of millions to maintain.
You also fail to recognize that many of our troops are not there to protect Europe so much as they are there as forward deployment for other potential theatres of war,
War against who exactly? Is France about to attack Luxumborg or something? Are the Romanians going to invade Bulgaria? Or do you mean Kosovo where are guys were going to be "home by Christmas" according to President Clinton. Well they're still there aren't they. What strategic threat does Kosovo pose to the United States? None whatsoever.
(ever hear about injured troops being airlifted to Germany for treatment?)
Ever hear of Hospital Ships? The US Navy has a few of them and they're every bit as good as the facilities in Germany. And if our people weren't wasting their lives and body parts keeping muslims from killing each other we wouldn't need that base in Germany at all.
Ef the Afghans. We should nuke those tribal areas and follow that up with nerve gas until nothing's left twitching. Nothing in that 7th century sh** hole is one one single more drop of American blood or another nickle of American treasure.
The American military isn't some International Armed and Dangerous Pizza Guy, son. They exist for one reason and one reason only. That's to kill our enemies and break all their stuff. And we can do that with missiles and bombs.
Let Europe defend Europe. If they want to kill each other, let 'em. If any one of those rag head islamo-nazi's attacks us or a Treaty partner, nuke them till they frigging glow and walk away. We can still have the most ass-kicking military on the planet for a third of what we're spending now.
Re-deploy the guys from overseas to our Southern border and let them seal that up as tight as a drum. Once we have the illegal immigration thing down to a dozen or so a year we can talk about sending our guys to Africa to stop Africans from killing other Africans.
Until then the Lurker Plan for World Peace and American Domination stands. F*** with us and we wipe your country off the map.
I'm tired of watching my friends get sent to the other side of the world to fight for a bunch of people who hate us. Screw that. Let 'em kill each other till the frigging cows come home. If they turn their violence towards us we kill every last one of them.
You are right that social spending is much larger than defense. The problem is, social spending is largely the result of “keeping up with the joneses”. We take the burden from European countries, so they can afford a humongous social welfare state. We watch as they live “fat”, and the population here gets envious. Our military spending is actually driving social spending at a furious rate. Once we have to quit because of financial reasons, the social welfare state will collapse. The problem with that is, the political class will blame the military, and cut it to the bone anyway. When that happens we will be both broke, and unable to defend ourselves. There will be few that will argue for more spending for military, when the dependents are yowling for more food.
Lurker for President. The man that espouses your point of view would win. Maybe someone ought to teach Ron Paul those words.
Yes, the 48% twists the FACT that the defense budget is only 20% of the total. That is the same garbage the liberals use to keep from slashing big bloated entitlements and pushing the gutting of defending the nation. Using common sense in place of budget-speak, National defense is MANDITORY spending. But, I suppose Ron Paul's Code Pink supporters agree with his wanting to gut the defense.
I'm sick and tired of seeing American blood and American treasure support murderous dictators and thugs who stab us in the back at every opportunity.
Pakistan? Smoking radioactive rubble.
Afghanistan? Smoking radioactive rubble.
Mecca? Should have been smoking radioactive rubble on 9/12/2001.
Kosovo? F*** them. Most Americans can't find it on a map.
Japan? Seriously does anyone think Japan needs defending?
Korea? Tell Kim Jung Whoever that if one single Nork troop or one single Nork round crosses the DMZ we nuke his little hidey holes down to the bedrock and then we'll nuke it again.
Islamo-nazi terrorist? Here's Lurkers Plan for Islamic Terrorism:
"Good evening my fellow Americans. From this moment forward it shall be the policy of the United States that the next act of terror committed against an American citizen or American interest anywhere on the planet will result in the cities of Mecca, Medina, and Qom being turned into radioactive parking lots.
We will then find the families of those who committed these barbaric acts and kill them down to the last one. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, children, and housepets; no one will escape our wrath or our vengeance.
We will stamp your lineage from the face of the Earth forever. Anyone who supported them in any way will suffer the same fate. And God himself won't be able to save any Nation on the planet if one single Official from any Government anywhere on Earth was involved. If you don't think I'm serious, try me. Thank you and God bless the United States of America."
That ought to do it.
All said & done, we’ve probably spent nearly 3 Trillion dollars in Iraq and Afganistan in the last 10 years. Where does this sum show up in your numbers?
What can we expect in return for it? What do we have to show for it? I can see Afganistan, but Iraq is just money and soldiers lives wasted and will likely cost us more money and soldiers lives in the long run.
The Defense Department 20% portion of the 2011 US budget are not my numbers. They are the numbers of the US CBO.
At least one other thinks like me. Thank you for being around this place so long. How did you do it without being banned?...insert laughter here.....
“The Defense Department 20% portion of the 2011 US budget are not my numbers. They are the numbers of the US CBO.”
So you think special war appropriations shouldn’t count? That they are free money?
The 20% for the defense department 2011 budget includes the two wars. Yep, the main role of the federal government is uses only 1/5 of the total budget. How sad.
Tell me, if crackpot Paul closed ALL foreign US military bases, as he promised, and gutted the defense budget leaving the US as a weak isolationist nation, what nation or group would you like to see fill the giant void as the dominant world military power? Do you care? Obviously Ron Paul, his Code Pink supporters and a lot of left wingers don’t.
Don Rumsfeld thinks U.S. bases in Germany, Japan and Korea have outlived their usefulness and should be shut down or consolidated too. Is he a code pink supporter or left winger too? Or is he just a realist?
If we don’t reign in spending, at some point we will be the same situation that the USSR found itself in. Is that what you want? A once proud nation and military, unable to pay its soldiers and leaving its ships to rust away in port?
Nice try but the crackpot leftwingnut Ron Paul said “ALL” foreign bases. Unbelievable as it might seem, that is fact.
Didn’t answer my question either, did you?
The spending problem is NOT the 1/5 it spends doing its primary function, to defend Americans and our interests here and abroad. The problem is the 2/3+ of the budget it spends and wastes on entitlements, welfare, and corruption.
Times are tough all over. The way I see it, everyone has to take a cut. There should be no sacred cows. If we have to adjust our foreign policy and military posture, so be it. We can’t afford to play world police anymore. Same thing with entitlements and other federal agencies. We have been living beyond our means for too long.