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12:02AM

WPR's The New Rules: U.S. Global Role Depends on Hard Fiscal Choices

Much of the global perception of America's long-term decline as the world's sole surviving superpower is in fact driven by our fiscal decline. That's why I was disturbed to hear Democrats so quickly dismiss GOP Sen. Paul Ryan's bold, if flawed, federal budget proposal on the grounds that it would "end Medicare as we know it."  Frankly, arresting our decline means ending a lot of things "as we know them." That's simply what being on an unsustainable path forces you to do.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

Reader Comments (4)

After we pulled out of the Libyan "campaign" the French and the Brits complained that our C-130 Gunships and our A-10's were vital to the effort and that we were the only country that had them. Yes, that's right. We are the only country that has a lot of really expensive things designed to blow stuff up and kill people. The "Defense" budget is the 800 pound gorilla that no one wants to talk about. It staggers the imagination. It's only rival is the Homeland Security budget which has thousands of people doing the exact same thing, and, as in the definition of insanity...expecting different results.

Congressmen would rather be caught in a seedy motel with an underage pole dancer than dare to question military expenditures. The business section of the San Diego Union Tribune features news about defense contracts awarded to local companies. Jaw dropping figures...300 million, 700 million...and for "research" or "systems" ...not anything that actually shoots or moves or that you could hide behind if someone was shooting at you.

We are going to need some courageous folks in the days ahead. Some who will be willing to explain to the American people that we can't have it all. We can't be the world's policeman anymore. Somebody is going to have to leave the table hungry.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connor

Paul Ryan is not a senator.

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Lyons

Hi Ted,
I always go back to "The Pentagon's New Map" to see what being the world's policeman myth really is. The US is currently involved in 4 situations, Northwest Pakistan, Afghanistan and somewhat in Yemen and Somalia. Iraq and the Phillipines are winding down and efforts in Colombia and Trans-sahara in Africa have only a few dozen personnel.
65% of US forces are in the US, another 15 percent are in Europe, mainly in Germany and to a lesser extent, UK and Italy. Another 10% in Japan and Korea. This leaves the 10% in the combat zones above.
The nations currently at war only represent 5% of the worlds population and nations total. That is the ratio police use to size their command structure, target 5% and protect the other 95%.
I think the issue here is investment. I agree that 1 trillion spent to bring Iraq and Afghanistan into the world community is large-only rivaled by the reconstruction after WWII, I believe that was 4 trillion. Also, your comment about "research" and "systems" is correct as well, all for fighting an imaginary war with our 3rd or 4th largest trading partner, China.
I'd make both China and India military partners and half defense from 700billion to 1998 level of 300 billion annually with that going to the army and marines. Slowly bring down active nuclear warheads from 1500 to 1200 on navy/airforce to keep great power war in check. Simple, not easy, right?!!
The US was never the world policeman, the US only figured out where to be to keep large conflict from breaking out. Otherwise, the US would be addressing Zimbabwe, Burma, Sudan, North Korea, and Democratic Republic of Congo, like China and India should.
Thanks.
Derek

April 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Bergquist

Having been a long term fan of Mr. Barnett, I question the fiscal decline of the United States. Reversing the tax policies of Ronald Reagan or even George W. Bush would go a long way to
ending the fiscal decline.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeim Yankel

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