Whatever one thinks about Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, there are no denying two things: Russia has invaded a European country and U.S.-led NATO will not respond militarily.
President Biden’s reason for not intervening is technically that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. But the United States and NATO have launched military interventions in plenty of countries that are not members.
The real reason the U.S. won’t engage Russia to defend Ukraine is Russia is a nuclear power and nuclear powers cannot fight a war that isn’t destined to end with the possible extinction of the human race.
Thankfully, both President Biden and President Putin are keenly aware of this. That’s why you also won’t see Putin expand his military operation beyond Ukraine.
This begs the question: why are U.S. taxpayers paying for a worldwide standing army built to fight First World powers that can never be used?
The U.S. has over 50,000 troops deployed in Europe, not counting the over 9,000 in the United Kingdom. These troop levels were maintained or increased after World War II as a deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When the Soviet Union dissolved, American taxpayers were promised a “peace dividend.”
The peace dividend would naturally be centered around bringing home those troops deployed to Europe. But over time, the story eventually evolved that Russia under Vladimir Putin – elected by the Russian people as a direct reaction against the disrespect Russia had been shown by the U.S. and NATO – was a threat that necessitated keeping those troops there, now thirty-one years since the USSR dissolved and almost eighty years since the end of WWII.
The events of the past two weeks just proved this was all either a delusion or a lie. Push has come to shove and those troops are not going to be sent into action against Russia. Some have been moved to the borders of NATO countries, but this is merely for appearances. Putin will not breach NATO, not for fear of tens of thousands of U.S. troops deployed in Europe, but because he doesn’t want to risk nuclear Armageddon any more than Joe Biden does.
So, why keep the troops there?
Ditto the 56,000 troops warehoused in Japan. These are ostensibly a deterrent to rising power China, but they are never going to fight the Chinese army for the same reasons U.S. troops in Europe will never fight the Russian army. If they do, it won’t matter much who wins.
Russia’s military budget is somewhere between $61 billion and $150 billion per year, depending upon which source you consult. Somehow, Russia is able to maintain a larger nuclear arsenal than the United States and conduct a full-scale war in Ukraine on anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent what the United States spends on “defense.”
North Korea and Iran, also perennial boogeymen, manage to threaten the whole world on less than $20 billion per year.
The $750 billion per year (not counting military spending hidden in other departments) American taxpayers have been fleeced for produced a military that couldn’t defeat the Taliban.
As I wrote eight years ago, conventional warfare is largely obsolete in the nuclear age. The days of generals like Patton triumphantly marching into enemy capitals and accepting their counterparts’ surrenders are over. No nuclear power is going to let that happen without firing its nukes first.
If war is truly a last resort, only justifiable when one’s country faces an existential threat, then nuclear weapons are always justified before surrender. When they aren’t, the war wasn’t justified in the first place.
American taxpayers are going to be regaled with propaganda about the need to increase military spending in reaction to Putin’s invasion and accede to even more troops deployed overseas. The logical conclusion to draw from all this is precisely the opposite.
U.S. military spending should be cut drastically, and its overseas deployments ended as obsolete relics of a bygone age. America’s nuclear deterrent, air force, and useful portion of its navy could be maintained at a fraction of the gargantuan rip off currently being perpetrated against American taxpayers.
Since this bloated military won’t ever be used against a First World power and has already demonstrated its inability to defeat a Third World one, we have nothing to lose but runaway deficits and a massive debt that will eventually destroy our currency and way of life.
While we’re in cost-cutting mode, it’s time to clean house at the U.S. State Department and within the “intelligence community,” too, rooting out all the career “foreign policy experts” who get us into so much trouble around the world.
Call it “American Taxpayers First.” Someone ought to run for high office on that.