The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guns and butter

We are on our way to a leaner military. This is a result of the mandated cuts that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's failure to come to an agreement. That this was widely predicted has been ignored. So we have a potential $100 Billion in cuts to defense over the next ten years. This phase involves the first $450 Billion.

It's the old "guns and butter" dilemma. People think we spend too much on the military. And that is a common perception during peacetime and at the wind down of a war. We did this at the end of WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam... Each time we have had to rachet it up again because the next conflict happened.

Our military is like insurance. You pay for it and hope it isn't needed. And, like insurance, you gripe about the cost.

But I look around today and I see a repeat of the dismantling of the British Empire after WWII. In spite of the rhetoric of the Left, we do not have or maintain an empire. But what we do have is shrinking. Some of it because it is the natural ebb and flow of geo-political influence and some because people have come to believe we are the cause of evil in the world.

To cede our global superiority, we must trust the other major military superpower (Russia) and the emerging military superpower (China) to not have global empire ambitions.

After WWII and Korea, we tried to move away from a militaristic emphasis to a trade emphasis. We took advantage of our new superpower status to spread our economic power. We were quite successful. Mostly because we had an undamaged manufacturing base and much of the rest of the world didn't. The rest of the world looked to us for aid, for products, for markets. And we provided all of these. They also looked to us for security against the aggressive regime in the Soviet Union. And we provided that, too. It saved them a lot of bucks which they could then invest in their economic infrastructure.

And it ended up costing us more than we could imagine. It was expensive to be the world's policeman. And then we found ourselves in serious economic competition with the countries we helped re-establish themselves. With our former enemies who were now allies.

We are doing all the things we seemingly must do. And, in my opinion, the last things we must do. Reduce our ability to fight on two fronts and we will soon face conflicts on two fronts. Limit our ability to fight and we will soon find ourselves threatened.

Peace is not maintained by weakness and conciliation. Never has been and never will be.

If you favor butter over guns, you will soon find yourself without either.

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