Apr 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm #1301230
Be afraid! Or, perhaps, just rather saddened…..Apr 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm #1972162
I had not even considerd some of those.
Not surprised by some of them either.
It's a big damn mess, all of it, everywhere, all the time.
…and that's consistency
Isn't that what we all want?Apr 3, 2013 at 10:35 am #1972357
UFO and such? No crazier or sadder than an America that believes it needs to spend THIS MUCH AND MORE every year to be safe!! This is our America:Apr 3, 2013 at 11:08 am #1972373
While I agree we spend more on defense than we need to, I've always thought that chart was misleading. I think it would be more meaningful if the U.S. bar was split somehow to reflect how much of those defense dollars are being spent to help other countries' defense needs (ie, how much do our bases in Germany cost, in South Korea, in Scotland, in South America, etc. etc.).Apr 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm #1972447
Yes, but in the end, Doug — I think it all boils down to our own choices, our own prioritization.Apr 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm #1972474
"I think it would be more meaningful if the U.S. bar was split somehow to reflect how much of those defense dollars are being spent to help other countries' defense needs "
I have two thoughts on this. 1) I think America only invests in 'other country's defense' when it feels that not doing so might mean an indirect threat to the US, and 2) If the above is not the case, then why spend all that money helping other countries when there is so much need domestically for that money?
As for conspiracy theories, that survey is pretty sad :( Lizard people????Apr 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm #1972555
"then why spend all that money helping other countries when there is so much need domestically for that money? "
In my opinion, influence, mostly. I agree about the indirect threat, though that indirect threat might be economic more than military.
I also think 'we' really get off on being THE superpower. Has a nice ring to it. We don't want to give that up, even though we're burying ourselves in our greed and ignorance. It seems that we really don't learn well from history.Apr 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm #1972566
"I also think 'we' really get off on being THE superpower. Has a nice ring to it. "
Yeah, does sound good. I think this is now what North Korea wants too!
I have to admit, as a little country in the South Pacific, we benefit greatly from the protection our alliance with America brings. Means that most of the money WE spend on 'military' goes to peace keeping and civil defense instead of trying to defend ourselves against a big bad world all by ourselves. So I'm not going to complain too much…Apr 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm #1972602
"I also think 'we' really get off on being THE superpower."
Yes, it is that. And when we hear the press (CNN, etc.) and others agitating to intervene in Syria and Iran and NK, etc., etc. — most don't even think about costs — or our cumulative debts!!
But it goes far beyond that. We have a massive defense (and related) industry that NEEDS constant new orders in order to keep payroll and (of course) generate profits for shareholders! You couple this relentless and continuous need — with our media's penchant for sensationalizing almost everything to keep readership up — and is it any wonder that we are constantly facing so many threats? Recall Iraq drummed up to be a menace to the entire world. Now, it's Iran and NK.
How many times are we Americans going to be played before we finally wise up? When our schools and infrastructures are done crumbling? Like the USSR that we so love to smirk??
If This is Our America, then it's only because we, the citizenry, are sheep — or worse. I saw the graph just a bit before I saw your thread — and I can't think of anything crazier, scarier or sadder to add…Apr 4, 2013 at 6:18 am #1972703
Daryl and DarylParticipant
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I love good charts and that's a good one. Lot of info presented in an easy to understand format.Apr 4, 2013 at 11:57 am #1972835
Yes, Ben, that graph is scary, and when you add it to the graph of GDP spending on health care, it is no surprise that America is suffering economic hardship. I guess the most reliable jobs are in the military or health care, for those looking at employment opportunities…Apr 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm #1972839
Daryl – Thanks.
Lynn — what troubles me — as if seeing our public infrastructure and school systems deteriorating isn't troubling enough — is how the graph might be just an outward symptom of an extraordinarily powerful but also extraordinarily insecure nation!!
I go to villages in Mexico — and many don't bother locking their doors. They don't have much, and life goes on. And it is in rich communities that we find gated compounds, home alarm systems, and sometimes even 'panic rooms'. As well, seems like it is in the US more than elsewhere that people have this "need" to buy entire collections of guns, shotguns and rifles plus ammo in the thousands! Not everyone, obviously, but I do feel that we Americans are very, very insecure as a people. Powerful, sometimes arrogant, and often insecure.
And that, I think, is the most troubling of all.Apr 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm #1972916
Uh Oh Ben, you are in danger of starting another gun debate!
Yes, America is insecure. Seems to be true no matter where you go in the world that those that *feel* they have the most to lose feel the most insecure. Kinda makes sense really.Apr 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm #1972978
"Yes, Ben, that graph is scary, and when you add it to the graph of GDP spending on health care, it is no surprise that America is suffering economic hardship."
I'd recommend looking at the income distribution – the Gini coefficient should do the trick – and corporate taxes compared to other developed countries or underdeveloped countries in case of the Gini coefficient…
And for the health care: Surprisingly a free market where everyone wants to maximise his profits doesn't necessarily provide affordable solutions for everyone. Who would have thought?Apr 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm #1976596
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
We spend money on offense when it benefits companies that are coincidentally making political contributionsApr 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm #1976981
If this were a strategy board game and the entire livelihood of my nation required consuming enormous amounts of energy and resources relative to other nations, but few of those resources were on my soil, you bet I'd have the biggest military on the planet.
At the end of the day, would Americans rather have __________ outspending us 100 to 1 to build the most powerful military on the planet?
I view this world in two different ways:
1. The way I'd like it to be.
2. The way it is.
I don't like violence or force or any of that madness but if I were in a room with 20 people and one of us had to have all the guns…Sorry, but I'd vote for me.
I'd argue that if you're an American and you don't think you benefit from American exceptionalism and military might, think again. Half of the world benefits from American military might in the form of treasure they don't have to spend on their own Navy, Air Force, etc. What does Bahrain have to worry about when they've got the 5th Fleet parked on their doorstep?
So did I just write an apology for the entire American military industrial complex or is there some truth in this?Apr 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm #1977057
"So did I just write an apology for the entire American military industrial complex or is there some truth in this?"
Both, of course. And yes, we benefit from American exceptionalism and military might, but we lose something from it as well. It too often causes us to make poor choices in how we allow our military to be used in our names. It too often causes us to have no understanding of what happens beyond our shores. It too often causes blowback which we are ill equipped to understand/handle.
I also think you offer a false choice – it's not either we outspend others 100-1 or they outspend us 100-1. I think many folks are simply calling for us to spend a bit less, say we outspend others 20-1 and use the rest to rebuild our infrastructure, improve our educational system, improve job opportunities at home, etc.
I also don't think the entire livelihood of the U.S. requires that we consume as much as we do, it's just what we do. It's not necessary, really. Kinda surprised to hear you make this argument, to be honest.Apr 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm #1977067
All that spending, all that might; this is the reality America has to go to bed with tonight.Apr 16, 2013 at 8:26 am #1977251
I don't know the answer to these questions so in much of this I'm simply playing devil's advocate and asking questions.
On consumption: Sure it's not necessary. But it seems to be what we do. We base our growth, our success, nearly every measure on it, personal and otherwise. I don't like it, nor do I agree with it…but it is what we do. At least for now. Do people have the will to change it? Do people even see the need to? Dubious.
We burn oil and coal and waste energy without thought, then act surprised if it appears the military is being used to secure it. We love human rights the world over, African diamonds, cheap goods, and big profits on Wall Street. We love rainforests and dolphins and Indian tigers, but also like cheap canned tuna, warehouses full of copy paper, and vast soybean farms and cow feed lots.
It just seems that there is a major disconnect between people's noble intentions and criticisms and the way this civilization actually works. It seems to me that you cannot have all of this (the goods, the consumption, the energy use, the whole thing) without waging constant war on people, resources, animals, and the environment.
I suppose what really gets me in the end is the lack of acknowledgement and honesty about the levels of violence and exploitation (historically and right now) that are required to make all of this happen. It all comes at a cost.
On some level, don't really big appetites necessitate really big armies?Apr 16, 2013 at 9:21 am #1977266
"On some level, don't really big appetites necessitate really big armies?"
Well, yes, of course. If we want to continue to take as much of whatever we want, regardless of whose 'property' it's on, then we pretty much have to have a really big army.
"Do people have the will to change it? Do people even see the need to? Dubious."
Some do, yes, but far, far too few. We're in agreement on most of what you're saying/asking. IMO, far too many folks have ceased to really think about much beyond whatever rabbit-hole, exceptionally exaggerated issue du jour conjured up and propagated by those who wish to do some rather despicable things without the illuminating light of publicity. Or, as I like to say: Candy. Baby. Taken.
"It just seems that there is a major disconnect between people's noble intentions and criticisms and the way this civilization actually works."
Are the intentions really noble if they're empty words and nice seeming sound bites? I'd argue no. Put up or shut up, as we used to say as kids (do they still say that?).
"We want human rights the world over, cheap goods here at home, and big profits on Wall Street."
Do we really? I'd submit that many folks think human rights the world over is a nice idea, but they really do want cheap goods here at home and big profits on Wall Street, and are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the human rights part to get 'em. But hey, I'm a cynic. I'm glad there are lots of idealistic souls around too, to temper my cynicism.Apr 16, 2013 at 10:39 am #1977297
"Do we really? I'd submit that many folks think human rights the world over is a nice idea, but they really do want cheap goods here at home and big profits on Wall Street, and are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the human rights part to get 'em. But hey, I'm a cynic. I'm glad there are lots of idealistic souls around too, to temper my cynicism."
"And I think Americans really show their ignorance when they say they want their politicians to be honest. What are these f@ckin' cretins talking about? If honestly were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse!"
And this is exactly how we can sit at home poo-pooing having the largest military on the planet while simultaneously stuffing our faces with cake and our cars with oil…and the Commander in Chief of the largest military in human history wins a Nobel Peace Prize.Apr 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm #1977409
After considering yesterday's events, it doesn't appear that the human race is going to evolve away frone senseless violence any time in the near future.
Not arguing with any of the points any of you are making here but if one were to believe wikipedia:
China's total military force 4,585,000 (3.4 per 1000)
Russia's total military force 21,523,000 (150.2 per 1000)
North Korea's total military force 9,495,000 (386.7 per 1000)
U.S. total military force 2,291,910 (7.3 per 1000)
Canada's total military force 127,954 (3.8 per 1000)
United Kingdom's total military force 410,180 (6.7 per 1000)
Australia's total military force 80,873 (3.8 per 1000)
Total 2,910,917 (8% the size of theirs)
I'd say cutting edge technology on the battlefield is not something we can afford to lose.
Oh… I almost forgot…. we're friends with China and Russia now… my bad!Apr 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm #1977429
yes and Saddam Hussein had over 1 million soldiers before the Gulf War…
Did you see the military parade in Pyongyang with those very impressive missiles ?
Well don't expect them to fly….
The Soviets also built very impressive non flying missiles. They looked good during the May Parades.Apr 16, 2013 at 5:44 pm #1977450
"yes and Saddam Hussein had over 1 million soldiers before the Gulf War…"
I guess it's a good thing we spent our money on better equipment and better trained soldiers.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm #1977462
"I'd say cutting edge technology on the battlefield is not something we can afford to lose."
It's a fair point. To a point….. :-)
As we know, vast numbers of people alone won't guarantee success. But as we also know from some recent, painful experiences, vast technological superiority doesn't guarantee success either. I would simply suggest that we try to pay as much attention to/make as much investment in reducing worldwide tensions as we do preparing do to battle when those tensions explode. I don't think we've been doing that. If we would, we might find that necessary investment in both would decrease, and I'm sure we could find worthwhile uses for the saved dollars!
"Oh… I almost forgot…. we're friends with China and Russia now"
Welllllllll, kinda like you're friends with your sister's jackass husband or brother's jackass wife. We're all tolerating each other for the moment, but give anyone an opening…… :=)
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