Who are we afraid of?

Following the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, we have no military foes.  (At least not in a traditional sense.)  The Soviet Union is gone, replaced by Russia and a host of independent states.  China has gone from being a perceived enemy to our out-sourced manufacturing state holding billions in U.S. bonds.  And Germany and Japan have not been allowed to rebuild significant forces since the end of WWII. 

The only perceived threats are the failing state of North Korea, which has a large infantry and a few nuclear-tipped missles that are incapable of reaching our shores, and Iran, which has a smaller infantry and a nuclear bomb in the making.  In addition, there is nuclear-armed Pakistan with a government under seige by fundamentalist Muslims. 

True, it’s possible that our relationship with Russia could deteriorate enough that we might eventually have to worry about its nuclear aresenal.  But that would seem to be unlikely, and we have far superior technology along with our own enormous nuclear arsenal.

So, I repeat, who are we afraid of? 

What could possibly justify our continuing expenditures on military weaponry?  We spend more on our navy than the next 13 nations combined.   And, in total, our military expenditures exceed the next 11 nations combined! 

We could trim tens of billions of dollars from our weapons procurement budget and still be more than adequately prepared for any potential threat.  Indeed, one could argue that we could use that money more effectively to prevent poverty and other conditions that lead to war.  What if there were good schools for poor Muslim children and respectable jobs waiting for them after they graduate.  What if that helped them achieve the self-respect they are looking for?  Would they still consider blowing themselves up in a suicide attack? 

What if we relegated the neo-cons’ misguided “Plan for A New American Century” to the garbage bin of history where it belongs?  What if, instead, we quit trying to dominate the world?  What if we quit using our lone superpower status to support the imperialist designs of our large corporations?  What if we quit using our political clout and collective wealth to exploit the natural resources of less developed nations?

Or what if we used a portion of our enormous military budget to pay down our national debt?  Yeah, I know.  Why on Earth would we want to do that?

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