Military spending by the United States is higher now than it was during the Cold War. That means the US taxpayer is now on the hook to pay for more military personnel, bases, and weaponry than was the case when the Soviet Union controlled an area three times the size of the United States, and was an avowed ideological foe of the West.
Today, the US must spend even more, we are told, to fight an enemy like the Islamic State which has no navy, no air force, and certainly no intercontinental ballistic missiles.
To further buttress these claims that ever more spending is needed, America’s foreign policy establishment continues to insist that the United States – and thus, the American taxpayer – continue to provide the military defense for much of the planet, including countries such as South Korea, Japan, Germany, the Baltic States, Turkey, and many others.
Reflecting his populist and nationalist base, Donald Trump has wondered aloud as to why the United States should keep footing the bill for the defense of other large, wealthy, and technologically advanced countries – or for countries that offer no geopolitical advantages for defense of United States territory.
Specifically, Trump has also suggested that, rather than provide defense for Japan and South Korea, those two countries beef up their own military and nuclear capability. Trump has also expressed doubts about the need for the US, through NATO, to commit itself to World War III in case countries like Latvia and Turkey are attacked by an outside state (presumably Russia).
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 07/26/2016.