Why We May Not Be Able To Afford To Fight Wars
As you may know, I have been focused over the last year on the national security aspects of our overwhelming sovereign debt. My point has been that economic weakness leads to military weakness. The Hon. Steve King, U.S. Representative (R-IA), led an interesting panel discussion at CPAC today on the domestic impact of foreign military expeditions, highlighting the economic consequences. Can we afford to fight wars in the future?
Did you know that the first time the U.S. government took over aspects of the economy in the midst of a conflict was during WWI? Not even during the Civil War did this happen. I did not know this but learned it was Woodrow Wilson who installed this policy, conceived in the midst of conflict. The First World War was also the catalyst for the federal income tax.
What I gleaned from this discussion was not that wars cost money and drain the treasury, although this is certainly true. Empires have historically crumbled due to the cost of fighting overseas conflicts and projecting power in foreign lands. In fact, what I learned was that wars give progressive governments excuses to install statist concepts in the domestic economy and markets. Other examples of this type of power grab include social security, fashioned after military pensions, and the estate tax.
So, it is critically important going forward that we vet overseas adventures as the combination of huge expenditures and never-ending entitlements can be devastating to our country and way of life. It will take decades to undo the policies of the past, the consequences of which we are experiencing today.
The third historical result of our military campaigns since WWI is the typical indecisive conclusion. The unmatched U.S. military presents the civilian officials with a pathway and opportunity for peace, but the leadership has not historically taken advantage of the road before them. But rather, has squandered it on money wasting nation building and other misguided entanglements.
The world fears us less due to these indecisive ends. The monetary cost has also been almost insurmountable. Alternative options to fighting wars must be explored. This includes targeting leaders who wish to draw us into war, therefore sparing the dictator’s country the pain of a military conflict.
We need to learn these lessons or our children will suffer the consequences.by