This Week’s Mtg: Why Is U.S. So Involved In Others’ Business (7/15)

This was Norm’s idea and his wording, too.  It’s a timely topic, certainly, but one that is easily hijacked by simple slogans.  Let’s do better.

But, really, the scale of U.S. involvement in other nations is breathtaking.  Twenty years after the Cold War’s end, we have over 700 military bases in some 50 countries.  Defense spending has doubled since 1998, and is now greater than at the peak of the Cold War or the height of Vietnam.  We account for almost one-half of global military spending.  Our diplomatic reach is as great.

Why?  Of course, we’re the only superpower in a globalized world, and our interests extend virtually everywhere.  Still, Norm’s question is useful as a question about strategy.  What is our role in the world?  How should we be protecting our many interests?  Whose interests are being protected?  What is our responsibity ot other nations and to the global system we helped to build?  Etc. 

In a 10-minute opening, I’ll give a few details of our military and economic and diplomatic reach, and then list the most widely cited explanations for our continued global dominance (e.g., a natural function of our size, economic interests, Cold War legacy, ideology, etc.).  Then, open it up.

LINKS:  [Hard to find something directly on-point to topic wording]


2 responses

  1. A bit off topic, but reading the Trillions to Burn? article made me think about the whole “saving money through privatization” myth. More contractors and less military professionals actually costs taxpayers more. Twice as much for today’s wars per person than our parents’ wars. Teabaggers may believe Uncle Sam hasn’t a clue how to do things, but his stupidity comes at half the price.

  2. I don’t have any data tonight on privatization. But, I agree with you. One motive for this is undoubtedly to make it easier to hide the cost of war, especially to keep on fighting major wars with fewer troops than we had at the Cold War’s height. Another motive is the privatization ideology, as you said. Yet another is the whole military-industrial complex revolving door thing, although I’m less inclined to place as much blame on that motive as most other liberals.

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