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Actually, $2,300 is the average Americans pay for our military. I pay more. The total for all of us is more than $700 billon a year, which is, as Chris Preble of the Cato Institute pointed out on my TV show, "more than we spent at the peak of the Cold War ... fighting the Soviet Union."
The danger was greater then, when we had a nuclear Soviet Union threatening to "bury us."
Much of America's defense spending goes to defend our allies in Europe and Asia. They spend less because we spend more.
"We are suckers," said Preble. "I don't blame them. If I were in their situation, if someone else was offering to pay for my security, I'd let them do it."
And it's not clear that we do what we do efficiently. The U.S. Department of Defense is prone to the same sorts of inefficiency that plagues other parts of government. The department's brownie recipe is 26 pages long.
Military officials say al-Qaida has been weakened. Iran (someday) may build a nuclear bomb, but we managed to deter China and Russia when they had thousands.
Some people want the U.S. military to police the world: Contain China, transform failed states, chase terrorists, train foreign militaries, protect sea lanes, protect oil supplies, stop genocide, protect refugees, maintain bases in allied countries, police our southern border, stop drug trafficking and spread good through humanitarian missions. The list is endless, which is the problem.
The U.S. military can't be everywhere. And we can't hand the government unlimited power and unlimited money every time a potential crisis looms.
We must remain on guard against threats. But bankruptcy may be the greatest threat.