Analysis of the new Pentagon budget
I want to add a correction to the letter I wrote before Putin’s criminal and disastrous invasion of Ukraine (“It’s time to show that world war is not the answer”, February 16).
I was overwhelmed when I said that the United States spends more on the military than Russia and the next seven countries combined.
As Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said this week after the White House released its $813.3 billion budget for the Pentagon: “At a time when we are already spending more on the military than the next 11 countries together, no, we do not need a massive increase in the budget. defense budget.
By contrast, Russia spent $61.7 billion on its military in 2020. The annual “black budgets” of the CIA, NSA, and other undisclosed Pentagon activities alone total more than that.
The Pentagon spends more in a month than the Russian military does in a year. Western Europe spends more every three months.
The fear that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the first step in a strategy to conquer Europe is absurd, as is asking European nations to chase our lobbyist-inflated military spending figures. .
Yet when President Joe Biden returned from Europe, he brought with him NATO commander General Tod Wolters, who testified before Congress this week that the United States may need to expand its number of bases in Europe.
I erroneously said in my last letter that NATO missile talks and exercises would be enough to allay Putin’s fears about Ukraine joining NATO. But Ukrainian neutrality and a ban on foreign military bases on its borders are two key points emerging in the current round of peace talks.
The Pentagon has at least 750 bases on its 24.9 million acres located in more than 80 countries around the world, according to the Base Nation book. Where it does not own or lease bases, it stations troops at forward operating sites, such as Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, the starting point of the Contra war in Nicaragua, which was part of the coup of State of 2009 supported by the United States. who kidnapped a Honduran president who planned to convert the base into a civilian airport.
If CIA weapons, sanctions and training are the only US strategy in Ukraine, it will prolong a brutal war. President Biden should continue to resist domestic pressure to step up and engage diplomatically. The United States must play a more active role in the negotiations, as President Zelensky called for three weeks ago, unless we want Russia to get bogged down in a bloodier Afghanistan with an insurgency financed by the richest countries in the world.
The Pentagon currently spends more in real inflation-adjusted terms than the Pentagon’s total spending at the height of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the peak of Cold War spending during the Reagan era.
For an in-depth analysis of the Pentagon’s new budget, who will benefit from it, and whether the “cover the ground” strategy that favors military primacy over diplomacy will achieve its goals, read William Hartung’s analysis at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.