Who Are We Afraid Of? (Part II)

It was recently announced that the U.S. military budget ($692 billion for FY 2010) now exceeds military spending by all other nations combined. That’s right. We now spend more on defense than all 194 of the other countries in the world! And that doesn’t even include the money we spend on Homeland Security, or most of the money we spend on intelligence gathering. (A recent expose’ by the Washington Post reported an estimated 854,000 people work in the secretive information gathering business in the U.S. No one knows how much money is being spent on the endeavor.)

There can be only two conclusions from that data: We are the most powerful nation in the world. And we are the most paranoid; maybe with good reason.

According to Wikipedia, “as of March 31, 2008, U.S. armed forces were stationed at more than 820 installations in at least 135 countries.” Of course, we have large numbers in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. But we still have 52,440 in Germany, 9,660 in Italy and 35,688 in Japan more than 60 years after WWII. We have 28,500 in the Republic of Korea more than 50 years after the Korean Conflict. We have 9,015 in the United Kingdom (are we expecting a repeat of our Revolutionary War?), 47,236 in East Asia, 3,362 in North Africa … the list goes on.

Given the state of our economy, what could possibly justify the expenditures? If they’re not needed, we’re wasting an incredible amount of money. And if they are, we need to change our foreign policy, because we must be the most hated people on Earth.