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KNOWITALL's avatar

With the current situation with Russia, do you think it's a good time to cut military?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15096 points ) March 7th, 2014

China increases their budget by 12.2% two days ago.

The US proposes ‘painful’ cuts.
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2013/0413_budget/

Now this:
A day after President Obama ordered sanctions over Russia’s military takeover in Crimea, Russian President Vladi­mir Putin emphatically rejected the U.S. position, saying his country could not “ignore calls for help” from ethnic Russians in Ukraine after what he has termed an illegitimate power grab there by pro-Western agitators.

Obama authorized the Treasury Department on Thursday to impose sanctions on “individuals and entities” responsible for the Russian intervention in Crimea or for “stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/vladimir-putin-rebuffs-obama-on-ukraine-says-russia-cannot-ignore-calls-for-help/2014/03/07/d322cac0-a60c-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_story.html

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42 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Oh please! Can we just stay out of someone else’s conflict for once. Why do we have to stick our noses into everything? Yes, we should cut the military, and bring our boys home from Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan and everywhere else, and patrol our own borders for a change.

janbb's avatar

Do you think we’re going to fight a land war with Russia?

JLeslie's avatar

I think we should stay out of it also. If the UN goes in for some sort of peace keeping we can help with that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Are you asking me? I would hope not.

Bill1939's avatar

When I was a youth, Russian tanks crossed the border into Poland. Our country did nothing. Three score years later Poland is a democratic country. Given that Europe is dependent upon the natural gas piped to them from Russia, NATO is unlikely to take any action other than sanctions, if that.

Unless one believes that we should be preparing for World War Three, there is little point to maintaining military readiness for a massive ground, air and naval conflict. If the fighting in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has a lesson for us, it is that might cannot make things right.

Kropotkin's avatar

The rhetorical posturing and one-upmanship of Realpolitik and statecraft is the definitive banality. It is reality TV writ large. A theatre of narcissists and psychopaths playing a real game of Risk, with millions of petty, jingoistic, flag-waving nationalists on all sides getting emotionally involved and taking sides in the Machiavellian schemes of power mad fools—the diplomats, the statesmen, the “intelligence” services.

No one has a moral high ground here. The governments and the mechanisms of state are replete with the most venal, most hypocritical, and most mendacious and manipulative people on the planet. They’re the antithesis of anything one may call democratic. They are anti-human. They care only for their egos, their personal ambitions, glory, and being historically relevant as “great” men.

That so few people even question why the US should be involved in the affairs of a country thousands of miles away, with absolutely no historical or cultural ties to the US, is far more worrying than any “sobering” or “painful” cuts in military spending.

What is becoming abundantly clear—if one doesn’t accept some of the specious assumptions and propagandistic framing found in the corporate media—is that the US never abandoned the Cold War – the institutions and geopolitical strategies from that era.

I think that the double standards over the Crimea to be ironic too. Imagine if the Crimea were somewhere like Kosovo, or Chechnya—the proposed referendum certainly wouldn’t be being called “unconstitutional”, but rather an expression of democratic will that must be listened to!

But since the pro-Russian guy has been ousted, the US can maintain the pretence that Crimea—an autonomous region with an overwhelmingly Russian majority—should adhere to some imagined principles, and not try to redraw the borders ”. . . over the heads of democratic leaders”. “Democratic leaders” being anyone favourable to the US, no matter how actually illegitimate their status may be.

flutherother's avatar

The US spends more on ‘defence’ than the next 15 largest defence budgets combined. The situation with Russia and the Ukraine is complex and delicate and military force isn’t going to resolve it.

bolwerk's avatar

Cutting the military or not, the U.S. has no meaningful power to stop Russia from doing what it is doing in Crimea, and Russia has no meaningful power to harm the U.S. militarily. Both sides know attacking the other means either incredibly bloody invasions, and minimally a walloping for the invader, or mutually assured destruction.

Symbeline's avatar

If this ever came to blazing guns, I found this article which says why America won’t ever go that far. I cannot vouch for the legitimacy of the article, as these are subjects I’m not well versed in at all.
But read it if you have the time, it is interesting.

Why America won’t attack Ukraine

Unless Ukraine attacks America, which I don’t see why they would, and even if they had a reason, as in, related to this, they probably wouldn’t dare any more than America would.

But really who knows, it’s probably never a good idea to cut back on a country’s military.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, I think it’s an excellent time to cut the military budget.

As pointed out above, the chances of butting heads with Russia becoming a ‘major military incident’ are slim to nil.

Since the Reagan Administration used the Star Wars escalation in the 90’s to nearly bankrupt the USSR, America’s military spending has been wildly out of control. We need to scale back to peacetime budgets because right now the US runs the risk of a ‘real war’ somewhere in the world breaking our backs. Where would we get the money to fight a major war, right now? Print more money. Yeah. Right.

Our standard should be peace. If and when there is war, that should be America’s shining moment. Rising to the challenge with innovation and industry.

Pachy's avatar

It should be noted that “cutting the military budget” doesn’t mean the present budget is actually cut—only the size of increases over the next decade.

jerv's avatar

Compare our military strength to other nations and a cut wouldn’t really hurt as bad as some would have you think, especially if we just left Afghanistan like the Soviets and British did. (It was beyond fuck-wittedly stupid for us to even go in there, but I guess those that run our military know nothing about history :/ ) But there are those that won’t be happy until we have a military bigger and stronger than the entire rest of the world combined… and the way we interfere with everything, we may well need that since it really will be us against the world soon at this rate.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It’s as good a time as any. Our military structure is a bloated relic from a bygone era built for a type of war that simply isn’t going to happen anymore. And it doesn’t matter if we cut or increase the military budget, there’s not a goddamned thing we could, or would, do to Russia anyway. Any talk otherwise is just flag flying, chest thumping, dick waving empty rhetoric.

gorillapaws's avatar

Yes, cut it like crazy. Spend on R&D, but we shouldn’t need a massive standing army in peacetime.

JLeslie's avatar

About cutting the military. I think it is important to have a strong military. The question is are we paying for unnecessary things regarding our military? Are we buying 3,000 planes when we only need 300? Are we adding another golf course to a mlitary base? I just want the budget yo be analyzed and a third party to suggest where cuts can happen that doesn’t affect perceived strength.

Cruiser's avatar

This article from 2 years ago reads like a Tom Clancy novel but from what I read there, tells the tale of Russia’s strategic aims that we are seeing play out today. If you have any desire to get a peek inside Putin’s skull and get a feel for what the real US interests are…read this article.

Symbeline's avatar

@Cruiser Heh, weird. This article here suggests that maybe Russia has been planning this for a while, which matches with what your article said. A little creepy.

Cruiser's avatar

@Symbeline A day without a little creepy is like a day without sunshine! ;)

stanleybmanly's avatar

The military budget should be slashed if for no other reason than the sad fact that we so consistently utilize the resulting juggernaut for stupid and catastrophic purposes. The age of massive armed conflict is behind us, and the problems which do require military intervention are proving intractable for even the mightiest war machine in the history of the world.

Blackberry's avatar

You’re welcome to enlist.

Paradox25's avatar

Both Russians and Ukrainians are my ancestors, a major part of my family’s heritage. I would have to say though that I had never understood my fellow Russians’ love for authoritarianism, and love for scumball authoritarian leaders such as Putin, though others before him were even worse in my opinion.

I also get a kick out of right-wing authoritarians condemning Obama’s military cuts, but then supporting many of Putin’s authoritarian policies such as his stance against gays, rigid gender standards, culture and the like. Also, are we even in a position to condemn Russia considering our own versions interventionalism within the past few decades?

I’m still trying to figure out why there was pressure on Ukraine to disarm their nuclear weapons, but not authoritarian Russia, considering the latter country’s past. This political correctness in determining which countries should have nukes, and which ones shouldn’t has not helped to create world peace in my opinion. I honestly think more countries should have nukes, not less. I’m sure the Euromaidan is regretting the time its government gave up its nukes too right about now.

1TubeGuru's avatar

The US is the only superpower left in the world. once the military budget is cut we will still remain as the only superpower left in the world. we have so many carrier groups that if a rival nation wanted to play catch up it would be impossible .the JSOC is always ready to send elite commandos from all four branches of the military anywhere on the globe at a moments notice. large standing armies are obsolete and sluggish in the theatre of war. black operations units are expensive but much more effective in battle and more cost effective in the long run.The US military needs to get mean and lean.

flutherother's avatar

“Defence spending” should be just that but the American military projects American power pro actively throughout the world with often disastrous consequences. At best it is a terrible waste of money at worst it is criminal.

Cruiser's avatar

@flutherother “At best it is a terrible waste of money”...tell that to all the people in the military and those whose livelihood’s depends on working for companies that contribute to our military machine. Almost no one knows that beer accounts for only 10% of Coors annual revenue…the 90% is made up supplying precision ceramics to the Government for armament protection.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

Certainly a good reason to keep spending ourselves into oblivion.

bolwerk's avatar

The idea of military as warrior-welfare is at once both comical and tragic. The one sorta defensible aspect of militarism is, at one time, at least many trigger-happy authoritarians would be sent off to die for God, king, and country, relieving the rest of society of their sociopathy.

Of course, the truth about military spending is it’s probably more corporate and secondarily red state welfare than anything. If they’re cutting back on infantry, it’s probably just to set aside some pork for the likes of Boeing or Lockheed Martin.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@bolwerk “Of course, the truth about military spending is it’s probably more corporate and secondarily red state welfare than anything. If they’re cutting back on infantry, it’s probably just to set aside some pork for the likes of Boeing or Lockheed Martin.”

Pretty much. For all the talk of “support our troops” they and their families are often left hanging in the wind, but Boeing and Lockheed never want for profits from DoD contracts.

Kropotkin's avatar

Killing far away brown people (and the evil Ruskies) who hate America is so much simpler and cheaper with drones these days.

bolwerk's avatar

PTSD-inflicted soldiers have great careers ahead of them as cops or prison guards, of course. Unless they end up in prison themselves.

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar Having an effective military force does not require “spending ourselves into oblivion”. Having a leader who knows how to present a budget that accommodates vital and necessary needs of their country is step one and unfortunately we do not have this at this time and all the more reason to have a fighting force that can protect our asses.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

Which is entirely different from continuing to spend many times more than any other nation so that Coors can turn a little more profit.

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar You obviously ditched history and economics classes in school and I do not see it as my job to educate you to the nuances of having a kick ass military to defend our nation that at the same time provides lots and lots of jobs…and that Coors is one of many thousands of companies that creates jobs and pays taxes that allows programs like ACA to exist. It is time for you to try and wrap your head around the BIG picture that we all live in and rely upon.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

Is it the government’s obligation to create jobs?

bolwerk's avatar

The bloated U.S. military hasn’t been used for a purpose unambiguously related to defending the United States in almost 70 years. Even if you buy Cold War dickshaking as a legitimate use of the military, the time to wind down is well past due.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk “PTSD-inflicted soldiers have great careers ahead of them as cops or prison guards, of course. Unless they end up in prison themselves.”

Only on fluther…

Kropotkin's avatar

@Cruiser It’s good of you to be so candid in your defence of the military-industrial complex and unabashed about your neoconservatism.

I seem to recall another economy that was based on a large military sector. . . .

You’re the resident expert historian and economist here—maybe you can remind me which that was?

Cruiser's avatar

@Kropotkin You got me all wrong here especially the neo conservative part. Read more carefully what I actually write not what you think you hear…

“Having an effective military force does not require “spending ourselves into oblivion”. I am a huge critic of this military-industrial complex AND the current administration continues to allow itself to be led around by the nose by this military-industrial complex.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

So then the fact that many private sector jobs depend on DoD contracting is irrelevant. Those companies will ether find new purposes for those jobs or not. Ether way the market will correct itself.

NanoNano's avatar

KNOWITALL:

This very crisis is causing a rethinking of the drawdown of nuclear forces in the US. There’s now a push to develop new nuclear weapons, better missile defenses for Europe etc.

Many of the systems the US currently has, nuclear submarines, Minutemen III missiles, are ageing systems that are due to be retired in a couple decades. The plan in the past was to slowly phase out all these weapons and reduce the nuclear arsenal substantially.

We are now looking at getting back to an old fashioned Cold War era nuclear arms race.

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