Looking at the Biden administration, you would think that Uncle Sam has no care in the world. Washington is pouring more money into Ukraine, preparing to defend two more European countries, planning a trip to Asia to boost US alliances, sending troops to fight Somali Islamists and urging the new UAE ruler to serve the United States better.
Yet the United States is effectively bankrupt. National debt already stands at 100 percent of GDP, close to post-World War II records. The deficit will be around $ 1 trillion annually, even if Covid is reduced. Democrats continue to pressure the administration to expand the federal soup line, including writing off a huge student loan. And baby boomers continue to retire, which will turn into a red ink tsunami in the coming years.
Despite the seemingly chaotic and conflict-ridden world, America is surprisingly secure. There are no serious security threats in the Western Hemisphere. The challenges that the United States has faced from disliked governments, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Mexico, are simply more bothersome than those in other countries, including those on Uncle Sam’s naughty list.
In fact, the Biden administration acknowledged this when it sent a delegation to Caracas to discuss the possibility of easing sanctions and returning Venezuelan oil to the market. The United States has been unable to overthrow Maduro’s dictatorship, but most Americans have not. The lack of a competing power, let alone the great power nearby, frees U.S. policymakers to intervene around the world.
Africa is a continent of many promises and tragedies. Somalia is a shell of its predecessor, damaged by fighting between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. President Joe Biden is sending American military personnel back to the remnants of that nation. Its purpose is to confront al-Shabab Islamic militia and its leadership. The withdrawal of the US at the behest of President Donald Trump was long overdue. Alas, Biden’s decision has been mentioned New York Times By Charlie Savage and Eric Schmidt, “Open America will revive the anti-terrorism campaign that has turned into a slow war through three administrations.” Which is not a plan for success. Washington should leave the conflict in the hands of Somalis and their neighbors, who are already involved through the African Union.
Worse, and of course more embarrassing, is the curiosity of the administration towards the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Washington has spent decades serving as U.S. royal bodyguards. There were reasonable arguments during the Cold War, when the Carter administration feared that the Soviet Union might try to reduce oil supplies to the West. That vague possibility, not too serious, has long since disappeared.
Defense is one thing, but the United States has armed and supported the Saudi leadership, the United Arab Emirates has supported the brutal war against Yemen, and American officials have been implicated in endless war crimes. Outraged, the administration has apologized for not acting quickly enough to protect Abu Dhabi from Yemeni retaliation for killing thousands of civilians. And no state is returning the favor of the United States in the past, rejecting Washington’s desperate begging to increase oil production.
The United States should be advised that Saudi and Emirati monarchs use their expensive weapons to defend themselves instead of committing crimes. In fact, the biggest threat to this regime right now is internal — how many emirates or saudis want to die for the royal elite? Let these regimes work together and with Israel, or better yet, to balance Iran. Way of life Allows Sunnis and Shiites to live together in peace.
The president and Congress have brought in $ 40 billion for Ukraine, almost as much as Russia spends a year on its military, and European countries other than France, Germany and the United Kingdom spend more annually. This is much more than the Europeans have given Kiev, although their collective economy is almost as large as that of the United States, and they have long refused to take their own defense seriously. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is clearly more important to them than the United States. In the so-called military awakening of the Europeans, they should be led to support Kiev. So far, at least, the crisis that is expected to boost European military spending is costing Americans much more.
And it will only get worse with Finland and Sweden applying to join NATO. Both have not been threatened by Moscow, which is stuck and at risk of losing the war with Ukraine. Finland already has an efficient force, and Kiev has shown Europe the way to defend itself by devoting serious resources to regional defense. Europeans should focus on their safety, not travel outside the region, as they did in Libya a decade ago.
Neither Stockholm nor Helsinki is vital to the United States, which should be Washington’s primary criterion for providing security guarantees. This is why the United States and the rest of Europe refuse to include Ukraine in NATO, despite multiple promises to do so. No one was ready to go to war in Kiev with nuclear-armed Russia. There is no better reason than to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia over Finland or Sweden.
And that would be primarily an American burden. If Russia invades Finland along its 810-mile border, it is not Montenegro, Spain or Italy that will send troops. Germany, northern Macedonia or Greece will not respond if Moscow uses nuclear weapons. Adding two new countries to NATO would once again expand the American military burden. President Eisenhower warned Washington against behaving like “modern Rome, guarding its distant frontier with our armies.” If Europe does not realize this when it feels a serious military threat, when will it do so?
And of course, there is Asia. The president is also keen to restore the US alliance there, which naturally costs more. He invited ASEAN members – representing Southeast Asian states – to the United States and then traveled to Asia for a summit with members of the quad, as well as the new South Korean president. The best response to China is that friendly regional powers are cooperating to limit the People’s Republic of China.
However, this will require them to spend more money on the military and take responsibility for day-to-day security. After decades of relying on the United States for heavy lifting of military power, Japan is now apparently ready to spend more than one percent of its military on GDP. The ruling party is pushing for a two-percent increase, but that is unlikely to happen until Washington makes it clear that the United States is no longer the custodian of stations in the region. If anyone protects the uninhabited but competitive Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands from the PRC, it should be Japan.
South Korea too. This carries a larger defense burden since the potential threat is larger. The Republic of Korea has about 50 times its GDP, double its population and a huge technological lead compared to North Korea. And the ROK came through the Covid epidemic when the North faced a potentially catastrophic infectious tsunami as the Omicron variant violated its sealed boundaries. Why should an army division be set up on the Washington Peninsula? Why shouldn’t ROK units be created and deployed to fill the gaps currently covered by US forces?
Foreign and military policy should reflect the situation. A larger U.S. role was needed during the Cold War when friendly nations were recovering from World War II and both the USSR and the PRC presented serious military challenges. That world ended long ago.
This does not mean that there are no security challenges in Washington. They are different, of course. Most importantly, friendly nations can do much more for themselves and their territories. Instead of risking American lives more and in the long run and expanding America’s debt more and more, President Biden should shift the responsibility of protection from the United States to his defense welfare recipients.