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Core “Answers To (A2)” Blocks
Post Blake essay — discussed arguments based on the first tournament
In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.
This is pretty much a spectacular topic.
It is timely. This spring, there will be a significant debate over increased military spending, as Trump and some Republicans have been pushing for substantially increased military spending.
There is a lot of easily accessible core literature. There is a debate between the National Defense Panel and the Heritage Foundation (among others) and specialists such as Michael O’Hanlon who are arguing for more modest increases.
There is a broad base of greater literature. There is a lot of literature about the role of the US in the world and whether or not its military spending and military presence increases or decreases security.
President-Elect Trump creates an interesting spin on the military. Do we want to give the incoming administration a larger military? Can they manage it wisely?
The only downside to the topic is that it is enormous. Although I will suggest some strategic shortcuts, the best teams will be prepared to debate a variety of arguments.
Core Pro and Con arguments
The basic Pro approach is to argue that current funding levels for the military are inadequate, threatening the loss of military resources needed to respond – to prevent, deter, and fight – international conflicts. Pro teams will likely develop arguments that we need to strengthen military deterrence against all of the following —
[Note: All Scenarios actually run at Blake (the first tournament on the topic) are covered in this additional essay.
Asian arms races and Asian power rivalries,
China (A2/AD denial, general China aggression, East China Sea, general naval power, South China Sea, Taiwan)
Middle East (General stability, Syria)
Russia (Ukraine, Baltics, Western Europe)
Korea (against North Korea)
They will also claim the following general benefits to increasing military spending
Air power advancement
General regional conflict prevention
General US hegemony and leadership
Missile defense developments
Technology development, including the Third Offset (swarming drones, artificial intelligence)
Con teams need to be prepared to answer all of these scenarios (there is evidence included in the release) and to be prepared for a general Pro hegemony argument that says we need to spend more to project US power across the globe to stabilize it and prevent these conflicts:
National Defense Panel, 2014, National Defense Panel Review of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, Ensuring a Strong US Defense for the Future, William Perry, John Abizaid, Co-Chairs, http://www.usip.org/publications/national-defense-panel-releases-assessment-of-2014-quadrennial-defense-review
In the first half of the 20th century alone, the world experienced two devastating world wars, the rise of the Soviet Union as a totalitarian menace, and the advent of the nuclear age. This grim history and the threats to America and her interests following World War II prompted America’s leaders to employ our extraordinary economic, diplomatic, and military power to establish and support the current rules-based international order that has greatly furthered global peace and prosperity and ushered in an era of post- war affluence for the American people. This order is not self-sustaining; it requires active, robust American engagement and sustained contributions by our allies. To be sure, other nations have benefited and will continue to benefit. But make no mistake, America provides this international leadership because it greatly enhances America’s own security and prosperity. (3)1 There is clearly a cost to this kind of leadership, but nowhere near what America paid in the first half of the 20th century when con ict was allowed to fester and grow until it rose to the level of general war. Indeed, our policy of active global engagement has been so beneficial and is so ingrained that those who would retreat from it have a heavy burden of proof to present an alternative that would better serve the security interests and well-being of the United States of America. Since World War II, no matter which party has controlled the White House or Congress, America’s global military capability and commitment has been the strategic foundation undergirding our global leadership. Given that reality, the defense budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, coupled with the additional cuts and constraints on defense management under the law’s sequestration provision, constitute a serious strategic misstep on the part of the United States. Not only have they caused significant investment shortfalls in U.S. military readiness and both present and future capabilities, they have prompted our current and potential allies and adversaries to question our commitment and resolve. Unless reversed, these shortfalls will lead to a high risk force in the near future. That in turn will lead to an America that is not only less secure but also far less prosperous. In this sense, these cuts are ultimately self-defeating. The effectiveness of America’s other tools for global influence, such as diplomacy and economic engagement, are critically intertwined with and dependent upon the perceived strength, presence, and commitment of U.S. armed forces. Yet the capabilities and capacities rightly called for in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, hereafter referred to as the QDR, clearly exceed the budget resources made available to the Department. This gap is disturbing if not dangerous in light of the fact that global threats and challenges are rising, including a troubling pattern of territorial assertiveness and regional intimidation on China’s part, the recent aggression of Russia in Ukraine, nuclear proliferation on the part of North Korea and Iran, a serious insurgency in Iraq that both reflects and fuels the broader sectarian conflicts in the region, the civil war in Syria, and civil strife in the larger Middle East and throughout Africa. These are among the trends that mandate increased defense funding. Others include the rapidly expanding availability of lethal technologies to both state and non-state actors; demographic shifts, including increasing urbanization; diffusion of power among many nations, particularly rising economic and military powers in Asia; and heated competition to secure access to scarce natural resources. These and other trends pose serious operational challenges to American military forces. (9–11) Conflicts are likely to unfold more rapidly. Battlefields will be more lethal. Operational sanctuary for U.S. forces (rear areas safe from enemy interdiction) will be scarce and often fleeting. Asymmetric conflict will be the norm. (17–19) In this rapidly changing environment, U.S. military superiority is not a given; maintaining the operational and technological edge of our armed forces requires sustained and targeted investment.
Since there is already significant amount of defense spending (around $600 billion), Pro teams will need to be specific about why a significant increase (even as compared to a modest increase) is needed. For example, Pro teams may want to argue that we need to significantly increase funding for the Third Offset in order to counter China’s A2AD capabilities. They may want to defend Trump’s proposal that we need to significantly expanded the size of the navy and/or the air force (see below). They may want to argue that we need to significantly expand the size of our ground forces to deal with unanticipated contingencies or to stabilize failed states in order to prevent civil war and terrorism. They may want to argue for a significant increase in military deployments to Europe to deter Russian aggression. They want to argue for increased missile defense spending, including Boost Phase Intercept (BPI). They should then tailor their impacts specific to those funding increases.
Cybersecurity is obviously a great topic area unto itself.
There are few different general approaches that the Con can take to debating this topic.
First the Con can argue that there is no need to at least significantly expand US military spending, arguing that, at best, we need a modest increases in military spending. The O’Hanlon evidence cites above makes the case for only a modest increase and this piece of evidence casts doubt on whether or not any increases is needed:
Stephen Walt, Harvard, 2015, Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, page number at end of card
While America’s economic advantages are manifold, its military lead is simply overwhelming. Virtually all the major powers (except China) reduced their defense spending when the Cold War ended, and many continue to do so, but the decline in the U.S. military budget was smaller than most of the others. Defense spending turned back up again in the late 1990s and has continued to rise ever since. As a result, U.S. defense expenditures in 2003 were nearly 40 percent of the global total and almost seven times larger than that of the number-two power (China). To put it another way, U.S. defense spending was equal to the amount spent on defense by the next thirteen countries combined. And because many of these countries are close U.S. allies, these figures if anything understate the U.S. advantage. 12 The United States also spends more to keep itself in the vanguard of military technology. The U.S. Department of Defense now spends over $ 50 billion annually for “research, development, testing, and evaluation,” an amount larger than the entire defense budget of Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, or China. 13 The relative efficiency of the U.S. military increases this daunting gap in military investment even more. For all the complaints about “waste, fraud, and abuse” and “no-bid” contracts in the Pentagon, the United States gets more battlefield bang for its defense bucks than other major powers do. For example, the combined defense budgets of America’s European allies are roughly two-thirds of the U.S. defense total, but the EU is not yet able to put 60,000 well-equipped troops in the field within sixty days and keep them there for a year. By contrast, the United States deployed more than 500,000 troops in the Persian Gulf for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; mobilized substantial air, ground, and naval forces in Kosovo in 1999 and in Afghanistan in 2001; and then deployed more than 180,000 troops and other personnel to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003. America’s military preeminence is both reflected by and enhanced by its global military presence. As of 2004, the United States had roughly 250,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen deployed in more than a hundred countries. It has 1,000 or more troops in at least a dozen countries, not counting the forces currently occupying Iraq. 14 Smaller contingents are also active in dozens of countries, and the United States provides military training for personnel from over 130 countries. 15 The United States maintains hundreds of military bases and other facilities around the world, with an estimated replacement value of $ 118 billion. 16 The United States has the largest and most sophisticated arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons, and it is the only country with a global power projection capability, stealth aircraft, a large arsenal of precision-guided munitions, and integrated surveillance, reconnaissance, and command-and-control capabilities. 17 U.S. military personnel are also far better trained. 18 U.S. success in its post– Cold War military endeavors thus needs little further explanation. The United States has fought three opponents since 1990: Iraq (twice), Serbia, and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Each of these wars was a gross mismatch: total U.S. defense spending was more than fifty times greater than Iraq’s, more than two hundred times greater than Serbia’s, and more than a thousand times that of the Taliban. The occupation of Iraq reminds us that supremacy on the battlefield does not guarantee effective postwar reconstruction or an unfettered peace, but the United States can still be confident about its ability to defeat any other country in a direct test of military strength. Given these disparities, the United States could have defeated any of its recent foes without active military assistance from any other country. Indeed, the “coalitions” that the United States has organized and led during this period have been decidedly one-sided affairs. With the partial exception of Great Britain, its various allies have provided token forces largely for symbolic purposes. By 2001, the United States was refusing to let even its closest allies take on meaningful combat roles in Afghanistan (except for postwar peacekeeping), so that it would not have to coordinate its military activities with any other country. Historian Paul Kennedy correctly termed this a “Potemkin alliance,” where “the U.S. does 98 percent of the fighting, the British 2 percent, and the Japanese steam around Mauritius.” 19 The U.S. Air Force performed the lion’s share of the patrol duties over the “no-fly zones” in Iraq (with a modest assist from Great Britain), and the U.S. military has also provided logistical support for peacekeeping operations in Africa, East Timor, and elsewhere. The gap was perhaps most apparent in the invasion of Iraq: the United States supplied over 80 percent of the occupying force and used over 10 percent of its total military manpower. By contrast, the other members of the coalition used less than 1 percent of their personnel. 20 Clearly, no single state can hope to match the combined U.S. economic and military capabilities, and even a large coalition would find it difficult to amass a comparable portfolio of power. This imbalance does not mean, however, that the United States can simply issue orders to the rest of the world and expect instant obedience, as the recent U.S. experiences in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea remind us, and the strains of its current activities could undermine U.S. superiority over the longer term. For the foreseeable future, however, America’s military predominance will be an essential element of its position of primacy. Walt, Stephen M.. Taming American Power: The Global Response to U. S. Primacy (Kindle Locations 370-376). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
A significant increases in US military spending will threaten the financial stability of the US (through increased deficits) that this will overstretch the US economically, threatening our ability to sustain current or slightly increased levels of military spending.
Pape 9 (Robert A. Pape, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, “The Empire Falls”, The National Interest, June 28, http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=20484)
Even more insidious is the risk of overstretch. This self-reinforcing spiral escalates current spending to maintain increasingly costly military commitments, crowding out productive investment for future growth. Today, the cold-war framework of significant troop deployments to Europe, Asia and the Persian Gulf is coming unglued. We cannot afford to keep our previous promises. With American forces bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan and mounting troubles in Iran and Pakistan, the United States has all but gutted its military commitments to Europe, reducing our troop levels far below the one hundred thousand of the 1990s. Nearly half have been shifted to Iraq and elsewhere. Little wonder that Russia found an opportunity to demonstrate the hollowness of the Bush administration’s plan for expanding NATO to Russia’s borders by scoring a quick and decisive military victory over Georgia that America was helpless to prevent. If a large-scale conventional war between China and Taiwan broke out in the near future, one must wonder whether America would significantly shift air and naval power away from its ongoing wars in the Middle East in order to live up to its global commitments. If the United States could not readily manage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time, could it really wage a protracted struggle in Asia as well? And as the gap between America’s productive resources and global commitments grows, why will others pass up opportunities to take advantage of America’s overstretched grand strategy? Since the end of the cold war, American leaders have consistently claimed the ability to maintain a significant forward-leaning military presence in the three major regions of the globe and, if necessary, to wage two major regional wars at the same time. The harsh reality is that the United States no longer has the economic capacity for such an ambitious grand strategy. With 30 percent of the world’s product, the United States could imagine maintaining this hope. Nearing 20 percent, it cannot. Yet, just withdrawing American troops from Iraq is not enough to put America’s grand strategy into balance. Even assuming a fairly quick and problem-free drawdown, the risks of instability in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region are likely to remain for many years to come. Further, even under the most optimistic scenarios, America is likely to remain dependent on imported oil for decades. Together, these factors point toward the Persian Gulf remaining the most important region in American grand strategy. So, as Europe and Asia continue to be low-order priorities, Washington must think creatively and look for opportunities to make strategic trades. America needs to share the burden of regional security with its allies and continue to draw down our troop levels in Europe and Asia, even considering the attendant risks. The days when the United States could effectively solve the security problems of its allies in these regions almost on its own are coming to an end. True, spreading defense burdens more equally will not be easy and will be fraught with its own costs and risks. However, this is simply part of the price of America’s declining relative power. The key principle is for America to gain international support among regional powers like Russia and China for its vital national-security objectives by adjusting less important U.S. policies. For instance, Russia may well do more to discourage Iran’s nuclear program in return for less U.S. pressure to expand NATO to its borders. And of course America needs to develop a plan to reinvigorate the competitiveness of its economy. Recently, Harvard’s Michael Porter issued an economic blueprint to renew America’s environment for innovation. The heart of his plan is to remove the obstacles to increasing investment in science and technology. A combination of targeted tax, fiscal and education policies to stimulate more productive investment over the long haul is a sensible domestic component to America’s new grand strategy. But it would be misguided to assume that the United States could easily regain its previously dominant economic position, since the world will likely remain globally competitive. To justify postponing this restructuring of its grand strategy, America would need a firm expectation of high rates of economic growth over the next several years. There is no sign of such a burst on the horizon. Misguided efforts to extract more security from a declining economic base only divert potential resources from investment in the economy, trapping the state in an ever-worsening strategic dilemma. This approach has done little for great powers in the past, and America will likely be no exception when it comes to the inevitable costs of desperate policy making. The United States is not just declining. Unipolarity is becoming obsolete, other states are rising to counter American power and the United States is losing much of its strategic freedom. Washington must adopt more realistic foreign commitments.
Specifically, in the context of the Trump administration, it would mean massive, unsustainable deficits
David Unsworth, November 23, 2016, Trumps’ Plan For Increased Military Spending is unnecessary, https://panampost.com/david-unsworth/2016/11/23/trumps-plan-increased-military-spending-unnecessary/
Donald Trump has made headlines recently by calling for increased military spending. The question that Americans should be asking now is, “Is lack of military spending the problem?” The United States already spends more on its military than the next eight nations combined (those being China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, Japan, and Germany). In fiscal year 2015 that amounted to USD $596 billion, or 3.3% of our GDP. We are also USD $19 trillion in debt, thanks to the reckless spending of 16 years of the Bush and Obamapresidencies, aided and abetted by a criminally negligent Congress. Our massive military budget instantly brings to mind what it called “pork” in American parlance: the massive projects and investments, and the jobs that come with them, that members of Congress routinely promise to deliver to their constituents back home. In a tight race, making good on such district funds can be the difference between another term in Washington, or packing up your office. There are few members of the House or Senate who truly exist to put principles above politics. After all, voting against a naval or air base, or additional funds for a military barracks, or a defense contractor, is political suicide. Inevitably, members of Congress help each other out. “If you vote to keep open that naval base in my district, then I will vote to relocate the helicopter assembly plant to yours.” And around and around and around we go on the wheel of fiscal ruin and irresponsibility; shrouding it in the name of military preparedness and patriotism. The truth of the matter is that America is not currently at any great existential risk. What we need is not a larger military, but a smaller, smarter military, prepared to take on dangerous terrorist groups when needed, and participate in peacekeeping missions around the world, again, as needed. From a foreign policy standpoint, Trump excited libertarians because he discussed an issue that the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party has so often discussed: the phenomenal cost of our overseas military presence. Why should wealthy nations in Eastern and Western Europe and East Asia expect the United States to shoulder a disproportionate share of their defense budgets? Surely 70 years ago in the post-World War II era there were good reasons that the United States was prepared to extend significant military and economic aid packages throughout the world. We helped to resurrect their economies through the massive Marshall Plan, and rebuilt their infrastructure and commerce. Three generations later, it is time for a change. Trump is not saying that the US should leave its allies high and dry, or that the US would allow aggressive geopolitical actors (mainly Russia and China) to intimidate or threaten the territory of their neighbors with impunity. What he is saying is that it is time for a renegotiation. It is time for a new deal for the American people and the American taxpayers. Which brings us to the crucial issue of paying for another USD $500 billion for the military, or a budget increase of 13% for the Defense Department, or whatever it ends up being. Trump has been very vague regarding his plans to pay for it, insisting that it will be revenue neutral, and will be paid for by eliminating waste from current government budgets. The United States should have the best military in the world. But there is no need for a 13% budget increase in order to do that. In fact, we should be spending far less on our military, especially as we reckon with the disastrous consequences of the past 16 years.
Con teams can argue this turns back EVERY Pro scenario., as this overstretch will cause imperial decline. This is a good general approach for less experienced debaters and for any teams that will struggle to keep up with the topic..
Eland 08 (Ivan Eland, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, “Back to the Future: Rediscovering America’s Foreign Policy Traditions,” Mediterranean Quarterly, http://mq.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/19/3/88.pdf)
This comparison, along with the strain that the two small wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have imposed on US forces, indicate that the informal US empire might be overstretched. Many prior empires have declined because their security spending, overseas defense commitments, and military interventions exceeded their ability to pay for them. Even the British and French empires, on the winning side of both world wars, became financially exhausted — because of fighting those wars and maintaining their vast territories — and went into decline. More recently, the Soviet Union’s empire, and even the country itself, collapsed because its giant military, Eastern European alliances, and military interventions in the developing world became too much for its dysfunctional economy to bear. Many in the United States say that the US economy is much bigger than these failed empires and that decline cannot happen here. But that is what the elites of past empires believed, too. Furthermore, over time, small differences in economic growth rates between competing countries can lead to a reordering of great powers on the world scene. Most of the United States’ economic competitors have less defense spending as a portion of GDP to be a drag on their economies. Thus, even “national greatness” conservatives should be wary of too much defense spending, excessive military commitments overseas, and unnecessary wars, such as Iraq, that sap national resources. All other forms of national power — military, technological, and cultural — derive from maintaining a healthy economy.
It may be better to husband our resources and engage in offshore balancing, with reduced military spending.
John Mearshimer is R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Stephen Walt is Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, August 2016, Foreign Affairs, The Case for Offshore Balancing: A Superior US strategy, p. 70
Americans’ distaste for the prevailing grand strategy should come as no surprise, given its abysmal record over the past quarter century. In Asia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are expanding their nuclear arsenals, and China is challenging the status quo in regional waters. In Europe, Russia has annexed Crimea, and U.S. relations with Moscow have sunk to new lows since the Cold War. U.S. forces are still fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no victory in sight. Despite losing most of its original leaders, al Qaeda has metastasized across the region. The Arab world has fallen into turmoil-in good part due to the United States’ decisions to effect regime change in Iraq and Libya and its modest efforts to do the same in Syria-and the Islamic State, or ISIS, has emerged out of the chaos. Repeated U.S. attempts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace have failed, leaving a two-state solution further away than ever. Meanwhile, democracy has been in retreat worldwide, and the United States’ use of torture, targeted killings, and other morally dubious practices has tarnished its image as a defender of human rights and international law. The United States does not bear sole responsibility for all these costly debacles, but it has had a hand in most of them. The setbacks are the natural consequence of the misguided grand strategy of liberal hegemony that Democrats and Republicans have pursued for years. This approach holds that the United States must use its power not only to solve global problems but also to promote a world order based on international institutions, representative governments, open markets, and respect for human rights. As “the indispensable nation,” the logic goes, the United States has the right, responsibility, and wisdom to manage local politics almost everywhere. At its core, liberal hegemony is a revisionist grand strategy: instead of calling on the United States to merely uphold the balance of power in key regions, it commits American might to promoting democracy everywhere and defending human rights whenever they are threatened. There is a better way. By pursuing a strategy of “offshore balancing,” Washington would forgo ambitious efforts to remake other societies and concentrate on what really matters: preserving U.S. dominance in the Western Hemisphere and countering potential hegemons in Europe, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf. Instead of policing the world, the United States would encourage other countries to take the lead in checking rising powers, intervening itself only when necessary. This does not mean abandoning the United States’ position as the world’s sole superpower or retreating to “Fortress America.” Rather, by husbanding U.S. strength, offshore balancing would preserve U.S. primacy far into the future and safeguard liberty at home. The United States is the luckiest great power in modern history. Other leading states have had to live with threatening adversaries in their own backyards-even the United Kingdom faced the prospect of an invasion from across the English Channel on several occasions-but for more than two centuries, the United States has not. Nor do distant powers pose much of a threat, because two giant oceans are in the way. As Jean-Jules Jusserand, the French ambassador to the United States from 1902 to 1924, once put it, “On the north, she has a weak neighbor; on the south, another weak neighbor; on the east, fish, and the west, fish.” Furthermore, the United States boasts an abundance of land and natural resources and a large and energetic population, which have enabled it to develop the world’s biggest economy and most capable military. It also has thousands of nuclear weapons, which makes an attack on the American homeland even less likely. These geopolitical blessings give the United States enormous latitude for error; indeed, only a country as secure as it would have the temerity to try to remake the world in its own image. But they also allow it to remain powerful and secure without pursuing a costly and expansive grand strategy. Offshore balancingwould do just that. Its principal concern would be to keep the United States as powerful as possible-ideally, the dominant state on the planet. Above all, that means maintaining hegemony in the Western Hemisphere. Unlike isolationists, however, offshore balancers believe that there are regions outside the Western Hemisphere that are worth expending American blood and treasure to defend. Today, three other areas matter to the United States: Europe, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf. The first two are key centers of industrial power and home to the world’s other great powers, and the third produces roughly 30 percent of the world’s oil. In Europe and Northeast Asia, the chief concern is the rise of a regional hegemon that would dominate its region, much as the United States dominates the Western Hemisphere. Such a state would have abundant economic clout, the ability to develop sophisticated weaponry, the potential to project power around the globe, and perhaps even the wherewithal to outspend the United States in an arms race. Such a state might even ally with countries in the Western Hemisphere and interfere close to U.S. soil. Thus, the United States’ principal aim in Europe and Northeast Asia should be to maintain the regional balance of power so that the most powerful state in each region-for now, Russia and China, respectively-remains too worried about its neighbors to roam into the Western Hemisphere. In the Gulf, meanwhile, the United States has an interest in blocking the rise of a hegemon that could interfere with the flow of oil from that region, thereby damaging the world economy and threatening U.S. prosperity. Offshore balancing is a realist grand strategy, and its aims are limited. Promoting peace, although desirable, is not among them. This is not to say that Washington should welcome conflict anywhere in the world, or that it cannot use diplomatic or economic means to discourage war. But it should not commit U.S. military forces for that purpose alone. Nor is it a goal of offshore balancing to halt genocides, such as the one that befell Rwanda in 1994. Adopting this strategy would not preclude such operations, however, provided the need is clear, the mission is feasible, and U.S. leaders are confident that intervention will not make matters worse. HOW WOULD IT WORK? Under offshore balancing, the United States would calibrate its military posture according to the distribution of power in the three key regions. If there is no potential hegemon in sight in Europe, Northeast Asia, or the Gulf, then there is no reason to deploy ground or air forces there and little need for a large military establishment at home. And because it takes many years for any country to acquire the capacity to dominate its region, Washington would see it coming and have time to respond. In that event, the United States should turn to regional forces as the first line of defense, letting them uphold the balance of power in their own neighborhood. Although Washington could provide assistance to allies and pledge to support them if they were in danger of being conquered, it should refrain from deploying large numbers of U.S. forces abroad. It may occasionally make sense to keep certain assets overseas, such as small military contingents, intelligence-gathering facilities, or prepositioned equipment, but in general, Washington should pass the buck to regional powers, as they have a far greater interest in preventing any state from dominating them. If those powers cannot contain a potential hegemon on their own, however, the United States must help get the job done, deploying enough firepower to the region to shift the balance in its favor. Sometimes, that may mean sending in forces before war breaks out. During the Cold War, for example, the United States kept large numbers of ground and air forces in Europe out of the belief that Western European countries could not contain the Soviet Union on their own. At other times, the United States might wait to intervene after a war starts, if one side seems likely to emerge as a regional hegemon. Such was the case during both world wars: the United States came in only after Germany seemed likely to dominate Europe. In essence, the aim is to remain offshore as long as possible, while recognizing that it is sometimes necessary to come onshore. If that happens, however, the United States should make its allies do as much of the heavy lifting as possible and remove its own forces as soon as it can. Offshore balancing has many virtues. By limiting the areas the U.S. military was committed to defending and forcing other states to pull their own weight, it would reduce the resources Washington must devote to defense, allow for greater investment and consumption at home, and put fewer American lives in harm’s way. Today, allies routinely free-ride on American protection, a problem that has only grown since the Cold War ended. Within NATO, for example, the United States accounts for 46 percent of the alliance’s aggregate GDP yet contributes about 75 percent of its military spending. As the political scientist Barry Posen has quipped, “This is welfare for the rich.” Offshore balancing would also reduce the risk of terrorism. Liberal hegemony commits the United States to spreading democracy in unfamiliar places, which sometimes requires military occupation and always involves interfering with local political arrangements. Such efforts invariably foster nationalist resentment, and because the opponents are too weak to confront the United States directly, they sometimes turn to terrorism. (It is worth remembering that Osama bin Laden was motivated in good part by the presence of U.S. troops in his homeland of Saudi Arabia.) In addition to inspiring terrorists, liberal hegemony facilitates their operations: using regime change to spread American values undermines local institutions and creates ungoverned spaces where violent extremists can flourish. Offshore balancing would alleviate this problem by eschewing social engineering and minimizing the United States’ military footprint. U.S. troops would be stationed on foreign soil only when a country was in a vital region and threatened by a would-be hegemon. In that case, the potential victim would view the United States as a savior rather than an occupier. And once the threat had been dealt with, U.S. military forces could go back over the horizon and not stay behind to meddle in local politics. By respecting the sovereignty of other states, offshore balancing would be less likely to foster anti-American terrorism.
CONTINUES: THE BOTTOM LINE
Taken together, these steps would allow the United States to markedly reduce its defense spending. Although U.S. forces would remain in Asia, the withdrawals from Europe and the Persian Gulf would free up billions of dollars, as would reductions in counterterrorism spending and an end to the war in Afghanistan and other overseas interventions. The United States would maintain substantial naval and air assets and modest but capable ground forces, and it would stand ready to expand its capabilities should circumstances require. But for the foreseeable future, the U.S. government could spend more money on domestic needs or leave it in taxpayers’ pockets. Offshore balancing is a grand strategy born of confidence in the United States’ core traditions and a recognition of its enduring advantages. It exploits the country’s providential geographic position and recognizes the powerful incentives other states have to balance against overly powerful or ambitious neighbors. It respects the power of nationalism, does not try to impose American values on foreign societies, and focuses on setting an example that others will want to emulate. As in the past, offshore balancing is not only the strategy that hews closest to U.S. interests; it is also the one that aligns best with Americans’ preferences.
Second, the Con can argue that US military activity abroad increases the risk of conflict by creating security dilemmas, generating arms races, and increasing the risks of miscalculated war. They may want to accompany this by a general argument about why militarism is bad. This is obviously inconsistent with the first argument, as the previous argument contends we need to sustain our military and in order to do that we need to keep it at more modest levels.
For example, here is a piece of evidence about the failure of US military hard power in the Middle East:
Jihane Boutchich and edited by Hinna Sheikh, November 1, 2016, Is this the end of the American era in the Middle East?, Morocco World News, https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2016/11/200302/end-american-era-middle-east/
Rabat , Nov. 1 — Rabat – In an article written by Stephen Simon and Jonathan Stevenson on the reasons for the reduction of the military presence of the United States in the Middle East published in the “Foreign Affairs” magazine a few months ago, the researchers argue that US intervention after the September 11 was unnatural. Stability in the region was achieved based on the disposition to not lead a direct military intervention or a rapid time-limited intervention, as was the case during the first Gulf War. Accordingly, Obama’s decision to reduce military presence in the Middle East is a return to the natural order of things that has ensured stability in the region for years, if not decades. According to the writers, what reinforces this argument is the fact that the political and economic transformations in this region have extremely lowered the importance of any potential intervention, especially with the “absence of a direct threat to the US interests”. The stability mentioned by the authors is the result of a historical junction between the interests of political allies in the region and those of the United States, under a light military presence. The Gulf States and the United States share the same objective since the fifties: to maintain the stability of oil prices and flow in the global market. After the Iranian Revolution, the United States, the Gulf States and Israel had a common objective, to reduce Iranian expansion. After the Camp David Accords were signed, the US supported Egypt and Israel to maintain “peace” as a positive indicator to the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 9/11 however, led to differing priorities amongst Arab States, the US and Israel regarding the war on terror. Over the last decade, many factors have emerged, tearing down these alliances. The reduction of US dependency on Arab oil, especially with the development of the drilling and blasting industry in the US, and the growth of US domestic oil production is the first factor. The second is the outbreak of Jihadism and terrorist organizations, in addition to the US and Saudi Arabia having different agendas on the subject of overthrowing Bachar Al Asad and supporting anti-Shiite religious groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the authors said. Furthermore, violence, poverty, marginalization and structural deficiency in many countries meant the Middle East “was no longer a safe place for Americans to invest in”, they added. Lastly, even groups that, up until recently, had liberal and western tendencies and represented hope for the West and the US in the establishment of a democratic liberal fair state in the Middle East had changed their allegiances and adopted different agendas. What makes the matter more complicated, in Simon and Stevenson’s opinion, is the fact that making major change in the region through military intervention is nearly impossible. There is a significant imbalance between the traditional structure of the US military and the war led by extremist groups and ISIS in the region. Additionally, even if the US military intervened and won, achieving stability requires support from the American public opinion as well as an accurate knowledge of local communities and an important militarily presence that supports reconstruction efforts and responds to the aspirations of the population. Similar approaches have been adopted in Syria and Iraq and failed, the results were opposite of what was expected. Even drone strikes, although useful in the elimination of senior leaders of Al-Qaida and Taliban, have proven to be counterproductive at the political level in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Moreover, any intervention in Syria means war and could lead to unpredictable results in the region. Consequently, the authors suggest, “Offshore balancing” which refers to using power and influence instead of broad intervention in preserving partners’ interests in the region. Although some may fear this approach would only help strengthen some states such as Iran, Simon and Stevenson do not believe Iran is capable of tipping the scales in the Middle East by its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine. Even though Israel and Saudi Arabia did not approve of the Iranian-American agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, it is considered to be beneficial for the balance of the region. US military presence in the surrounding seas must be sustained in order to ensure the security and stability of Washington’s allies. In the authors’ opinion, the agreement on the Iranian nuclear file is the first step to improve relations with Iran, and to increase its interaction with other parties, including Saudi Arabia, to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, a solution that takes into account the conflicting interests of all parties. The authors concluded their article by stressing the fact that the American era in the Middle East is coming to an end and that the United States ought to continue its fight to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to provide support to stop the spread of Daesh’s ideology, but without any direct intervention or attempt to impose military or political choices in a region living in transformations that do not match neither the strategic priorities of the US nor the capacities of its army. What I find to be intriguing about this,is that it refutes every statement and theory stating that it is necessary for America to lead a direct and broad intervention in Syria, Yemen and the Middle East in general to defeat ISIS to counter Iranian influence, and to restore peace in this region. Not only do the authors believe that any direct intervention will have disastrous consequences on the Middle East and on the US and its allies, but they think there are other strategic priorities that require America’s decision-makers’ highest consideration, especially in Asia and the Pacific Ocean. They do not have to leave the area, a smart pragmatic presence could maintain the stability of the region without causing human casualties or major losses on the political level for America. The main problem with this perception is that the analysis it follows is based on the failed intervention in Iraq. If we set this intervention in the context of America’s intervention in this region in general, we find it clear that it’s far from a pragmatic historical approach led by an America that seeks to maintain the stability of the status quo, regardless of the ideologies of itspartners and of the parties it is trying to stop. Iraq is an exception to this, because it’s the ideological approach that ran the new conservative vision of the Middle East and international relations that was behind the military intervention, and not a potential threat to interests as was the case during the first Gulf War, the Lebanese civil war, or the war in Afghanistan, after the September attacks. The intervention in Iraq has revealed great naivety, if not ignorance in the way of dealing with the end of Saddam’s regime and the tribal structure of the Iraqi society, as well as the problems related to reconstruction. And so, the intervention in Iraq raised many questions about America’s role and how to adapt it with the complexity of the traditional societies of the Middle East. I imagine the lessons decision-makers in Washington have learned from the Iraqi issue will not discourage them from interfering, but push them to find creative ways in dealing with the growing threats of terrorist organizations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is likely that, in the near future, America will adopt a pragmatic approach based on proxy wars, mobilizing allies in the field and providing logistical and intelligence support, as well as helping Special Forces and providing humanitarian aid, in addition to funding development programs, reconstructing, and supporting following governments under air and water military presence.
And here is a card about how we should let US power decline so that alternative forms arise:
Central European University, A “Multiplex” World Will Follow U.S. Hegemony, Acharya Says” March 13, 2015, KB
The decline of the U.S.’s global hegemony should not necessarily lead to instability, according to UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance Amitav Acharya, speaking at CEU March 11. In the lecture, hosted by the Department of International Relations and European Studies, Acharya discussed ideas recently published in his book “The End of American World Order.” The emerging alternative to U.S. hegemony is a “multiplex” world, he said, using his own term for the complex global system. “It might be debated whether the power of the United States itself is declining or not,” said Acharya, who is currently a visiting professor at CEU, and also professor of international relations at the School of International Service, American University. “The U.S.-led liberal hegemonical order that has shaped the world’s history for the last 50 years, however, has undoubtedly come to an end. The shift of power has begun – the question is what our world will look like in the future.” Transnational terrorism is only one of the challenges that the liberal hegemony could not react to in a competent way, he said. The view held by many Western scholars that by rearranging itself, the present hegemony may retain its power, is false, he added. In his view, the world has changed too much in the past decades for a system that was based on the realities of the 1950s. Amitav Acharya. Photo credit: CEU “This world, the complex global world, has never existed before. The institutions through which the United States could exert authority – NATO, IMF and so on – were created in a different time, and while reforms were promised many times to share authority and power, they only come slowly,” Acharya added. He also contested the view that emerging powers China, India or Russia will uphold the system of liberal hegemony because they have benefited from it so far. “They don’t feel as sentimental about liberalism as those in the West, and their system of capitalism is vastly different – only take China’s state capitalism as an example,” he added. Defining it rather as a metaphor than a theory, Acharya introduced the concept of the “multiplex world order” as an alternative to the current terms “bipolar” and “multipolar,” which he regards as inadequate. Drawing comparisons from the world of cinema, he stated that in this world it is possible for different systems to coexist, just as several different movies can be screened in a multiplex theater. In this new world order, it is no longer only great powers that count. Lesser powers, regional powers, international and transnational organizations and corporations will all have a more important role to play. According to Acharya, one of the key characteristics of the multiplex world is an unprecedented global interdependence, which manifests itself in the financial sector and in production networks, not primarily in trade. He also mentioned regionalism as a defining trend that was exempt from the universalistic U.S.-led system of hegemony. “Regionalism entails neither fragmentation nor instability. If we look at human history, we can only find 200 years when a global hegemony existed. First came the British Empire, followed by the U.S.-led liberal hegemony. But in the remaining time we mostly see regional powers,” Acharya said. He argued that regionalism in the multiplex world order is much more open to cooperation than the blocs formed in 19th-century Europe. He mentioned the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one example of regional cooperation that has shown gradual development in efficiency and recognition by other powers. He went on to criticize the assumption that stability, public goods and peace would only be achievable through the system of liberal hegemony. “There is a tendency to list only positive things as inherent attributes of liberalism and ignore the ‘dark side’. Rule-based free trade, for example, existed before liberalism in pre-colonization Southeast Asia. Some who read my book said that a multiplex order may not only be better for the world, but for the U.S. as well. I personally think that the unsuccessful handling of recent conflicts was not caused by the U.S. having too little, but rather having too much power,” Acharya concluded.
Third, I think teams can argue that want to support more military spending in a world where Trump is the President of the United States. There are two arguments related to this —
(a) As we’ve already started to see, Trump doesn’t have the diplomatic skills needed to gain any advantage from a stronger military. Yesterday (December 2), for example, Trump took a call from the President of Taiwan and on the call he congratulated her for winning her election. This breaks 30 years of diplomatic protocol because the US doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a country. Why? Because the US wants to maintain relations with China and China sees Taiwan as a breakaway Republic. A couple days before that, he took a call where the he praised the President of Pakistan as being a great man and suggested he would visit the country. Obama didn’t visit Pakistan for 8 years because the US has a complicated relationship with Pakistan, trying to maintain relations but also creating distance because it thinks Pakistan harbors terrorists. Some even charge Pakistan let Osama Bin Laden live in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan has a very tense relationship with Indian, an important US partner, and this could be seen as undermining India. Trump doesn’t seem to understand diplomacy, or at least the delicate nature of it, at all.
Dan Rather posted on Facebook after the Taiwan call.
I have said before that there are no training wheels to becoming president, and we may have seen the effects of that today.
Reports are ricocheting across the news media and the diplomatic world that Donald Trump has become the first United States President or President-elect to speak directly with the leader of Taiwan in decades.
There is no bigger touchstone to the stability of the far rim of the Pacific than the issue of Taiwan. We do not yet know what precipitated this apparent gross breach of established American protocol, but the damage may already have been done. This is deeply serious business. You can expect that the government in Beijing is burning up the trans-Pacific communications with some version of “what the hell is going on?” They will likely make their displeasure, if not fury, known very quickly.
There’s is nothing would concern the Mainland Chinese more than to have a suspicion that American foreign policy will change. We can guess that this was something Trump and his advisors didn’t think through. Or maybe it was meant to be provocative. Regardless, someone needs to tell the President-elect that this isn’t some “reality-show” that you can fix in the editing room.
And my friend Dan Nexon, an international relations professor at Georgetown, noted: It certainly feels like everything we could count on is out of the window. First and foremost, that the US would be a bulwark for liberal order in face of rising tide of ethno-nationalism and democratic backsliding.
This is relevant to the topic because the success of US military power in deterring conflict assumes that the US will back the power with credible diplomacy so that the power can be used to deter conflict and sustain the international order. If the world views Trump as a bumbling diplomatic fool who doesn’t understand the world, the US will not be credible, not matter how much military power Trump has at his disposal to wield randomly. Basically, the behaviors of Trump will gut the solvency for the increased military spending but undercutting the value of the hard power.
Paul Pillar explains:
Just when we may have started to hope that the excesses of Donald Trump’s campaign will give way to a more sober and reasonable mode of behavior once in office, the president-elect has a way of lurching back to the familiar excesses, usually with an outburst on Twitter. This past weekend it was his return to the Big Lie with the accusation that millions of people voted illegally in this month’s election. It was an assertion so far removed from truth that the New York Times dispensed with journalistic political correctness and described the assertion correctly and accurately in a headline as “baseless”. Maybe Trump was calculatedly laying groundwork for the enactment at the state level of additional voter suppression laws. Maybe it was another instance of his using an attention-getting blurt to attract attention away from other matters, such as disarray in his transition operation or conflict-of-interest issues involving his business interests. More likely it was a less calculated and less controlled lashing out by a notoriously thin-skinned man who abhors losing and has been seeing his losing popular vote margin grow to well over two million votes—without regard to how such a lashing out assists Russian efforts to discredit the workings of American democracy. There are many other sad things that could be said about the consequences for those workings of having a leader with so little regard for truth, which encourages further entrenchment of falsehood in politics and public affairs. In this respect Trump is both a symbol and arch-facilitator of a malevolent trend that led the Oxford English Dictionary to make “post-truth” its word of the year. But consider for the moment one significant consequence for U.S. foreign relations: the greater disinclination of foreign governments and peoples to believe what the United States says. A significant ingredient of the pursuit of U.S. interests abroad is being weakened. Daniel Drezner  has explained part of the problem, citing John Mearsheimer’s  research on lying by leaders and how they usually have good reason not to lie to other governments, and how credible commitment is a key component of deterrence. But it is not just deterrence, and keeping others from doing what we don’t want them to do, that is involved. Being able to make credible promises, and getting others to do what we want them to do as part of cooperative arrangements, also requires others to believe that one’s leader speaks truthfully and has every intention of following through on positive commitments. Here Trump’s record of lying complements in the most deleterious way his business record of repeatedly stiffing vendors and sub-contractors—another habit of his that does not appear to be ending . A fundamental underlying fact about the exercise of U.S. power overseas is that most of the time it is exercised not by the United States directly, physically doing things. Most of the time its exercise involves other states perceiving the U.S. ability to do certain things and believing it will do those things under certain conditions. That in brief is why credibility matters. At stake is not just the reputation of any one occupant of the White House. The credibility of the U.S. president affects the credibility of the United States. And the perceptions that matter are those held not only by foreign governments but also by foreign publics. A reputation for lying by the person at the top exacerbates what are already widespread and unhelpful tendencies of many people overseas not to believe what the United States says are its reasons for its actions overseas. This is especially a problem in the Muslim world; in this instance with Trump, the deleterious complementarity is between his lying and his Islamophobia. The threat to U.S. credibility involved here is far more real than the supposed threat that often is posited: that if the United States does not immerse itself in this or that conflict that is peripheral to its interests, then other governments will not believe that the United States will stand up for its interests elsewhere. That is not how governments calculate credibility . U.S. credibility depends not on intervening in what is peripheral but instead on U.S. leaders being believed when they say something is vital. (Paul R. Pillar is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor to The National Interest, where he writes a blog, The Post Truth President and US Credibility, )
Although it quotes a Democrat, this Politico article makes the same point:
Martin Matishak, Politico, December 6, 2016, Top Democrat: Trump Risking U.S.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee believes President-elect Donald Trump is risking U.S. credibility around the globe by perpetuating evidence-free claims that “millions” of people voted illegally and by skipping intelligence briefings. Trump, said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, is not “growing into the job.” “When you have a president-elect who sends out patently false information like the fact, or the allegation, that millions of people voted, millions of undocumented immigrants voted, that impugns the credibility of the president,” added Schiff at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Tuesday morning. “At some point the president is going to need to be believed by the country,” he added. “This is going to be a serious problem.” Trump won the Electoral College and therefore the White House, but Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads him in the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. However, Trump claimed in a Nov. 27 tweet that “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” he would have won the popular vote for president. Schiff sees the impulsiveness as part of a larger problem that has already seeped into Trump’s preliminary foreign policy forays, such as promising Pakistan’s prime minister that he would visit the country, or his phone call with Taiwan’s president. Both moves rattled long-time diplomats as they broke with recent tradition. It’s unclear, Schiff said, whether these instances mark “a new direction of American policy or just an unwillingness to be briefed and a lack of sophistication.”And other countries need to know which it is, he stressed. “These initial steps are already, I think, having consequences,” he told reporters. “I think we’re already seeing seeing an attitude in other parts of the world that, ‘Well, we can’t really put much stock in what the American president-elect says.'” Schiff predicted the trend would continue past the transition and “have some very serious consequences because our friends and our adversaries may not know that the president really means what he says.” The California Democrat also criticized the incoming commander in chief for shunning daily intelligence briefings, saying the avoidance “tells me that this is either not a priority of his or simply will not be the governing style of the president-elect — to be well-prepared prior to meetings, prior to phone calls, prior to issuing statements.” Trump “evidently has time to do triumphant rallies with supporters but not time to [be] briefed about some of the most pressing national security and foreign policy issues,” Schiff argued, referring to the Republican’s on-going “Thank You” tour in states that he won.
Given these two recent diplomatic blunders (Pakistan, Taiwan), much more will be written about this over the next few weeks.
And these problems are combined with the fact that even though Trump wants to expand the military he also wants to reduce its deployment overseas, negating the value of the spending increase:
Tryle Schlote, November 29, 2016, The Trumpet, Making the Military Great Again? https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/143220.127.116.11/world/military/making-the-military-great-again
While Mr. Trump talks about advancing America’s military power, he also wants to pull back America’s military power. No wonder nations in Europe and Asia are scrambling—they don’t know what to expect from him. Those regions are already undergoing changes because of Mr. Trump’s election. Consider further why Mr. Trump wants to disengage from the world. Mr. Trump told the New York Times that when America agreed to protect other nations, “we were a rich country. We’re not a rich country. We were a rich country with a very strong military and tremendous capability in so many ways. We’re not anymore.” He went on to say, “We protect countries, and take tremendous monetary hits on protecting countries.” This is his reasoning for pulling out of nations like Japan, South Korea and Germany if they don’t agree to take on a greater share of the costs. America doesn’t have the money to maintain foreign bases, he says, but apparently it does have the money to increase military spending in America. Already, the Trumpet has reported on the consequences of America’s withdrawal from the world. Europe is defenseless against Russia without the U.S., so Trump’s election led the European Union to speed up the process of creating a unified European army. Without American backing, Southeast Asia would be unable to defend itself against Chinese expansionism. These massive geopolitical shifts do not seem to concern Mr. Trump, even though the savings to America would be minimal at best. n 2016, the U.S. defense budget was $585 billion—a staggering amount of money. However, it only costs $5.5 billion to maintain its forces on Japan, $2.7 billion to maintain its forces in South Korea, and $4.4 billion to maintain its forces in Germany. Much of those costs are personnel costs, which would have to be paid regardless of where the soldiers were stationed, so the costs of maintaining a foreign presence decreases even more. Is it worth disengaging from these crucial regions to save only a couple billion dollars a year? Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to have a problem increasing defense spending by tens of billions of dollars, as long as it’s being spent on America. But spending that money to defend other nations is unacceptable to him. Mr. Trump’s “America first” policy reveals a muddled approach to foreign policy that will lead to disaster. A stronger military, gained through more deficit spending, is of no value if it just sits in America. Many are worried that his policies will lead to American isolationism. Mr. Trump may see strength in that. After all, the strategy worked in the early 1900s, for the most part. But in the 21st century—with intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, long-range bombers and cyberwarfare—isolation from the rest of the world no longer guarantees safety and protection. Mr. Trump reasons that a stronger military will deter people from attacking America. But what if American disengagement leads to a geopolitical shift that causes Europe or Asia to become more powerful than the U.S.? M
(b) A strong Con argument can be made that even if the above (a) were not true, we should not provide Trump with more military power because he ran a racist campaign and members of his administration, particularly Steven Bannon ( ), Michael Flynn (National Security Advisor), and Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) are racists or have at least empowered racism.
Democracy for America, 11-17-16, Democracy for America to Democrats: Stop Playing Footsie with Trump’s Bigoted Agenda
.Democracy for America’s Executive Director, Charles Chamberlain, responds to increasingly disturbing reports that congressional Democrats are “constructing an agenda to align with many proposals of President-elect Donald J. Trump“: “Since last week, Donald Trump has offered a top White House position to a white supremacist, mocked the tens of thousands of Americans exercising their first amendment rights in response to his campaign of hate, and allowed a spokesperson to defend his proposed illegal registration program of Muslim Americans by citing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two. “Right now, in the United States, people are openly discussing what they can do to hide their friends and neighbors when Donald Trump orders federal agents to rip apart families to deport millions of undocumented immigrants or force Muslim Americans to register with the government. “That’s not America. These are not normal times. If making Government work means scapegoating, imprisoning, or deporting millions of people across the country then Democrats in Congress absolutely must have no part in making that happen. “Democratic leaders from Chuck Schumer down need to stop playing footsie with Trump and pretending we can find common ground on some issues without also legitimizing Trump’s bigoted, hate-fueled, un-american agenda. “We stand with Democratic leaders from Harry Reid in the Senate to Ruben Gallego in the House who demand that Trump repudiate his policies of fear and remove the advocates of hate from his inner circle, before Democrats can even consider working with the Trump Administration. “We expect Democratic leaders to join us in our efforts to defeat Donald Trump’s agenda whole cloth, and, while we know Democrats are strongest when we work together, we also will not hesitate to burn down and salt the earth beneath Democrats who chose to aid and abet Trumpism instead.” — Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, made a similar, though more through argument in the December 1st Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/12/01/kareem-abdul-jabbar-how-boycotts-could-help-sway-trump/?utm_term=.99165bf16089
Finally, the most toxic and symptomatic advisers, Stephen K. Bannon and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sessions is Trump’s pick for U.S. attorney general, even though his nomination to the federal bench was torpedoed 30 years ago over accusations of racism. He’s also been accused of retaliating against two black officials whom he believed interfered with that nomination. Those two men accused him of referring to one of them as the n-word, while Sessions’s black deputy in the U.S. attorney’s office said Sessions called him “boy,” and warned him to be careful how he spoke to white people. He was also accused during those 1986 Senate hearings of calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “un-American.”
Racism gets the companionship of misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia with the selection of Bannon as Trump’s chief political strategist in the White House. This is the man whom fellow conservative Glenn Beck referred to as a “nightmare” and who has been compared to Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist. Bannon’s “news” site, Breitbart.com, runs slanted reporting and provocative headlines that keep the dream of white male supremacy alive. A recent headline proclaimed, “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” and another, “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” Bannon’s site’s campaign against trans people includes headlines like “World Health Organization Report: Trannies 49 Xs Higher HIV Rate” and “Big Trans Hate Machine Targets Pitching Great Curt Schilling.” These people and their contra-constitutional views are a clear and present danger to America, and it is our responsibility to keep our country’s most sacred values intact. Placing them in positions of responsibility and power sends a message that the assault on “political correctness” is code for an assault on nonwhite, non-straight, non-male, non-Christians. It emboldens hate groups toward violence and justifies further marginalization of these people. “Waiting and seeing” risks all that defines the United States as a land of freedom. In his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. argued that it was a “tragic misconception of time” to believe that waiting to see will provide favorable results. “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability,” he said. It comes through “the tireless efforts” of people seeking social justice. “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” We need a new civil disobedience in the American tradition of Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau and King. Our efforts must be organized, focused and coordinated with each other.
In the context of military power, people like Flynn may argue for its deployment against Muslim populations. Here is a quote from Flynn:
Donald Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, called Islamism a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people” that has to be “excised” Flynn, who has called Islam as a whole a “cancer” in the past, made the comments during a speech to the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Video of his speech is available on YouTube and was reviewed by CNN’s KFile. [CNN]
Jerediah Purdy, November 30, 2016, The Atlantic, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/donald-trump-steve-bannon-peter-thiel-214490
To understand Bannon’s outlook, the best source we have is a remote address he gave in 2014 to a conference of the Human Dignity Institute, a conservative political group with right-wing Catholic ties, which was being held at the Vatican. In the talk, recently published by BuzzFeed, Bannon laid out a strikingly coherent picture of his worldview, which has a few fundamental elements.
First, the United States and Europe are at the beginning of “a very brutal and bloody conflict” against “a new barbarity that’s starting, which will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years,” unless “we” defeat it. This is “jihadist Islamic fascism.” The “river of blood” that the Islamic State promises “is going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom.” (Bannon seems to be just the leading edge of this clash-of-civilizations theme in the Trump administration. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has called radical Islam an “existential threat” and suggested that Islam itself is “a cancer” of an ideology rather than a genuine religion.)
So, yes, increased military spending is likely to be deployed against Islam…
(A) an (B) together are obviously quite powerful.
Status Quo Military Spending and Increase Proposals
Proposals for increases are not from zero but rather are from significant amounts.
To give you a sense of perspective, today’s defense budget is approximately $600 billion. That’s less than the late Bush and early Obama years, but it’s higher than military spending during the Cold War, even adjusted for inflation.
Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Defense Analyst, July 2016, US defense strategy and the defense budget, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/OHanlon_FINAL.pdf
Today’s U.S. defense budget, nearly $600 billion in round numbers, is down substantially from the peak of some $750 billion a year that characterized the late Bush and early Obama period. But it is up considerably from the $400 billion level at the turn of the century—and even from the $500 billion average of the Cold War decades. (Again, all these figures are expressed in 2016 dollars; they include Department of Energy nuclear costs and Defense war costs—but do not include Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, or foreign aid and security assistance spending.)
[And it was very recently increased to $619 billion:
The 375-34 vote in favor of the $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act followed intense, bipartisan talks between House and Senate leaders to overcome a threatened veto by President Barack Obama, who has expressed concern about signing a bill that would bust the federal budget and squish civilian entitlement spending. Lawmakers also stripped out some controversial measures in the defense bill, including a push to force women to register for a potential draft and legislative language that some critics believed would be used to let military contractors discriminate against homosexual workers. “The battles we were going to have between the Republican Congress and President Obama went away when the majority realized that there was no point in fighting him when they could wait a few months for a President (Donald) Trump” to jointly pursue certain goals with them, said Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, a member of the select bipartisan committee that brokered the compromise deal. San Diego Union Tribune, December 2]
Obama hasn’t indicated whether he will sign this latest version of the measure.
This is (approximately) how it is currently spent:
Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Defense Analyst, July 2016, US defense strategy and the defense budget, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/OHanlon_FINAL.pdf
Defense’s total active-duty uniformed personnel number some 1.31 million, with a planned further reduction to about 1.275 million by 2020 (even if sequestration-like cuts can be averted). These totals are down from late Cold War totals of more than 2 million, and from Clinton-era figures around 1.4 million. Another 815,000 reservists and 775,000 full-time civilian employees of the Department round out the official workforce (not counting contractors). The 2020 Army will have some 450,000 soldiers and 30 brigade combat teams in the active force (it will have 27 more brigade combat teams in the National Guard). The Navy’s 330,000 activeduty sailors will maintain a fleet of 304 ships then, including 11 large-deck aircraft carriers and 14 ballistic-missile submarines. The Air Force, with its 310,000 active-duty airmen and airwomen, will operate 49 squadrons of aircraft (including reserve units) and about 100 bombers as well as 450 ICBMs. The Marine Corps, at 182,000 active-duty uniformed strength, will continue to maintain three divisions and three associated air wings. Of the requested $534 billion in base budget for 2016, some $210 billion was planned for Operations and Maintenance, nearly another $140 billion for Military Personnel compensation, almost $110 billion for procurement, and $70 billion for Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (with small amounts for construction and housing). Broken down a different way, that $534 billion was allocated as follows: $161 billion for the Navy (including the Marine Corps); $127 billion for the Army; $153 billion for the Air Force (including many intelligence-related expenditures, since the U.S. intelligence budget of some $70 billion is hidden throughout the defense budget); and almost $95 billion for defense-wide activities or organizations.
O’Hanlon proposes a modest increase.
Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, and David Patraeus, Chair, KRR Global Institute, September 30, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/research/americas-awesome-military/
Today the United States budgets just over $ 600 billion a year for its national defense. That is a great deal of money. It is roughly the right amount, however. And in fact, it should increase modestly under the next president— with budget authority totaling about $ 650 billion, and outlays or spending remaining near 3 percent of GDP. (By way of comparison, in 2016, national defense spending represents 3.2 percent of GDP and in 2017 it is projected to total 3.1 percent, but under President Obama’s 2017 budget request it would drop to 2.7 percent in 2020 and 2.6 percent in 2021). 1 O’Hanlon, Michael E.. The $650 Billion Bargain: The Case for Modest Growth in America’s Defense Budget (The Marshall Papers) (p. ix). Brookings Institution Press. Kindle Edition.
He makes a similar point in an article he wrote with retired general David Patraeus, currently under consideration by Trump for Secretary of State
Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, and David Patraeus, Chair, KRR Global Institute, September 30, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/research/americas-awesome-military/
The United States has the best military in the world today, by far. U.S. forces have few, if any, weaknesses, and in many areas—from naval warfare to precision-strike capabilities, to airpower, to intelligence and reconnaissance, to special operations—they play in a totally different league from the militaries of other countries. Nor is this situation likely to change anytime soon, as U.S. defense spending is almost three times as large as that of the United States’ closest competitor, China, and accounts for about one-third of all global military expenditures—with another third coming from U.S. allies and partners. Nevertheless, 15 years of war and five years of budget cuts and Washington dysfunction have taken their toll. The military is certainly neither broken nor unready for combat, but its size and resource levels are less than is advisable given the range of contemporary threats and the missions for which it has to prepare. No radical changes or major buildups are needed. But the trend of budget cuts should stop and indeed be modestly reversed, and defense appropriations should be handled more rationally and professionally than has been the case in recent years.
He does, however, note that some, such as the National Defense Panel (quoted at the beginning of this essay) support higher levels of military spending.
Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, and David Patraeus, Chair, KRR Global Institute, September 30, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/research/americas-awesome-military/
My recommended increases are not as large as some reputable scholars, and a notable recent commission, have advocated. By way of comparison, the independent and nonpartisan 2014 National Defense Panel favors a force that could cost $ 675 billion, in constant-dollar terms. So would some of the 2016 presidential candidates. Indeed, by way of illustration, it is quite reasonable to make a case for at least two defense initiatives that would each raise the steady-state annual defense budget by $ 5 billion to $ 15 billion more than I have proposed (in other words, leaving it permanently higher by that amount). First, the size of the active-duty U.S. Army could be restored to closer to its 1990s levels; that would amount to a roughly 5 percent increase in size and cost relative to today (and 10 percent greater than currently planned Obama administration levels for later in the decade). Second, U.S. Navy shipbuilding might be increased by, say, half to two-thirds— from an expected average of about nine ships a year to around fifteen or so. That would also restore the Navy to 1990s levels by the end of the next president’s would-be second term. It would increase the U.S. lead over China’s navy, at least in terms of fleet tonnage, and thus further undergird the military requirements of the so-called Asia-Pacific rebalance concept of President Obama. O’Hanlon, Michael E.. The $650 Billion Bargain: The Case for Modest Growth in America’s Defense Budget (The Marshall Papers) (p. xii). Brookings Institution Press. Kindle Edition.
This chart from O’Hanlon’s book identifies the differences:
Trump, on the other hand, has proposed significantly more spending, perhaps $500 billion to $1 trillion more:
Charles Tiefer, November 9, 2016, Forbes, President Trump is likely to boost US military spending by $500 billion, http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2016/11/09/president-trump-is-likely-to-boost-u-s-military-spending-by-500-billion-to-1-trillion/#488d8f484108
In his campaign, Trump called for 90,000 more Army soldiers, a 350-ship Navy, 100 more fighters, and strengthened nuclear and missile defenses. That sounds like detail, but it leaves out quite a bit. The best pre-election analysis of the expected Trump budget came from William Hartung, a veteran and insightful analyst, who is at the Center for International Policy, drawing on Ross Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies: What we do know is that Trump has been drawing many of his defense proposals from the National Defense Panel and the Heritage Foundation. Both of these organizations have advocated for returning the defense budget to the levels proposed in the FY 2012 budget request (the so-called Gates budget). Without any other details from the Trump campaign, I think this is a good ballpark estimate for what Trump is aiming for in terms of the defense budget. The FY 2012 request is about $800-900B higher over ten years than the most recent president’s budget request.” The call for a 350-ship Navy gives a concrete clue. Cost figures on such a naval buildup are elusive. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has compiled studies of the different kinds of ships in a 350-ship navy. They don’t come cheap. There would be increased spending on aircraft carriers and a big increase in attack submarines. In December 2008, the Navy signed a $14 billion contract with General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman to supply eight Virginia-class attack submarines. In round figures they might cost, in years to come, at least $2 billion apiece. The CRS study said that going to a 350-ship navy would mean 11 more of these. That’s $22 billion just on these subs. Congressional hawks – numerous and powerful – will pressure Trump to go that way….Buckle your belts for a steep climb of defense spending. My rough estimate is it means an additional $500 billion to $1 trillion.
Daniel R. DePetris is an analyst at Wikistrat, Inc., a geostrategic consulting firm, and a freelance researcher, November 1, 2016, National Interest, Trump Wants to Revolutionize the Military. Will Washington Let him? http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-wants-revolutionize-the-military-will-washington-let-18474?page=2
Companies like Lockheed and Raytheon have something to celebrate, at least insofar that Trump’s campaign rhetoric about a bigger, bolder, less fiscally restrained U.S. military correlates with what his actual defense policy will be once in office. On the campaign trail, Trump delivered several speeches that could just as well have been written by congressional defense hawks like Sen. John McCain, Rep, Mac Thornberry, and Rep. Mike Turner. Indeed, the talking points and policy plans that Trump offered in those speeches were essentially copied verbatim from lawmakers on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees who continue to make the case that the 2011 Budget Control Act and the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester are the most dire threats to the U.S. military today. Trump wasn’t especially specific with his plans, but he outlined a series of benchmarks that certainly made those members of Congress who are vehemently anti-sequester get closer and closer to popping the champagne; an influx of ninety thousand additional soldiers for the Army, seventy-five new ships for the Navy, a repeal of the sequester cuts that have been the law of the land for the last five years, and another eighty-seven fighter aircraft to the Air Force.
The particulars listed in the last sentence all constitute strong specific Pro ground.
Trump’s proposal includes increased funding for cyber security, reversals in sequestration, more fighters, and increase in troop strength, and 80 more ships for the Navy.
Bill Bartel, November 14, 2016, Military.com, Trump’s military expansion plans could be boost to Hampton roads, http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/11/14/trump-military-expansion-plans-could-be-boost-hampton-roads.html
The president-elect has proposed a military buildup that would include enlarging the Navy’s fleet to 350 ships from today’s 270-plus. He wants to grow the Marine Corps to 36 battalions from today’s 24 and increase the Army‘s troop strength to 540,000, an increase of about 65,000. He would add at least 1,200 fighter aircraft to the Air Force, increase the number of missiles and upgrade cybersecurity. Trump also promised to end the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that were set in motion three years ago after Congress failed to settle on a plan to reduce deficit spending. Roughly half of $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years are aimed at military spending. Congress and President Barack Obama have found ways to use adjustments to dodge or reduce cuts for a few years, but haven’t agreed on how to stop them.
As noted, cybersecurity is a great case area.
“In order to better respond to international conflicts”
In my mind, this is the only part of the resolution that is rather weak. The reason it is weak is that it is ambiguous: What does it mean to, “better respond to international conflicts”?
There are a few important points worth making —
(a) There are many existing “international conflicts” – North Korea/South Korea (not currently at war, Russia/Ukraine, Syrian civil war, India Pakistan, etc.
(b) A “conflict” doesn’t have to be a war. For example, there are tensions and conflicts between Russia and NATO, China and Taiwan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, China and Japan. These conflicts are not currently, “wars,” but if the US doesn’t “better respond” then they could turn into wars.
© It’s not as though “better respond” is a term of art. How might the US “better respond”? In the context of military spending it would involve increasing military deployments and strengthening ties with allies. Backed by this hard power, the US and its allies would be in a better position to use diplomacy to put pressure on their adversaries. Military spending has two purposes: to deter war and to fight if deterrence fails. Both of these are how the US would “respond” to international conflicts.
(d) I have no idea why this is in the resolution, as there is no other real purpose of military spending. I think that you should just focus on arguing about whether or not the United States should increase military spending and target your arguments either about deploying military power abroad or having it available to deploy abroad. If you do that, you will be debating the resolution.