Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Posted: 12/5/2007 1:24:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 1:59:48 PM EDT by Combat_Jack]
We spend a little less than 4% of our GDP on defense every year. We spend more on defense than the net half of the world... combined.

At the same time it has been pointed out that the Department of State has fewer people than the various military bands.

So what I'm thinking is maybe some of the money that we funnel into the DoD year after year would be better spent on public diplomacy, language training from kindergarten through college, and on reducing dependence on imported energy.

Think of it as a way to head off war before it becomes necessary.

Any thoughts?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:26:41 PM EDT
We should spend whatever it takes to make ourselves totally energy independent. Then, the middle east can go fuck itself.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:32:07 PM EDT
I'm all for less government spending, and defense is as good a place as any to make some cuts. FWIW, we have more to defend than "the next half of the world" does, so the expense may not be completely out of line.

4% of GDP seems high. I wonder what percentage of taxes collected go to defense? What percentage of the entire federal budget is defense spending?

I'd prefer that gov't spending were cut across the board, but I am especially not excited about our foreign aid spending.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:37:46 PM EDT
We spend little on defense compared to entitlements. But I think some kinds of foreign aid and a better system of public diplomacy are also a good defense investment.

The language thing would also help a lot with trade.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:39:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
We spend little on defense compared to entitlements. But I think some kinds of foreign aid and a better system of public diplomacy are also a good defense investment.

The language thing would also help a lot with trade.


IF we based foreign aid on the country being a friend. It CHAPS MY ASS that we give BILLIONS to people who hate us.

SCREW `EM!

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:39:57 PM EDT
According to NationMaster, we spend 2.4%
www.nationmaster.com/graph/mil_exp_dol_fig_pergdp-expenditures-dollar-figure-per-gdp
I figure that is a bargain.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:40:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
We spend a little less than 4% of our GDP on defense every year. We spend more on defense than the net half of the world... combined.

At the same time, both SecDef Gates and Gen. Petraeus have pointed out that the Department of State has fewer people than the various military bands.

So what I'm thinking is maybe some of the money that we funnel into the DoD year after year would be better spent on public diplomacy, language training from kindergarten through college, and on reducing dependence on imported energy.

Think of it as a way to head off war before it becomes necessary.

Any thoughts?


I think you sound like Hitlary or Obama Bin Laden's campaign managers. Yes, by all means lets beat our swords into plows...The world is a safe place
Although I agree spot on with your comments about energy independence the rest is a pile of steaming horse manure.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:44:34 PM EDT
Fuck that noise. Spend whatever it takes on defense and gut the State Department---all those assholes ever do is give away any advantage we get.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:48:01 PM EDT
My thinking here is that at 4% or 6% or more we won't be able to fight our way out of all the wars we have available.

We need to be a little more choosy.

That means building a diplomatic and intelligence service that actually, I don;t know... works?

As for language training, I think there are a couple million a year floating around for college students to learn critical languages.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:49:16 PM EDT
That's funny, I thought I sounded like the SecDef!
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:49:31 PM EDT

...the Department of State has fewer people than the various military bands.


I find that hard to believe. The little bit that I've read about the State Dept. paints it as a huge bureaucracy.

Not to mention, it certainly isn't the Cabinet level bureaucracy that employs the fewest people of all of the Cabinet departments. I'm willing to bet that Condi is leading a huge staff.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:49:41 PM EDT
We need more effective intelligence and diplomacy. Not necessarily more.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:50:46 PM EDT
Patton, google it again.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:54:37 PM EDT
We need to spend more, MUCH more to increase the size/capability of our military. The current operational tempo is very hard on troops, and they are deployed longer and more often than is healthy, especially the Reserves and NG. Military power takes years to build, so it's not like we can just decide to spend the money if and when a threat comes up. I would rather spend money on the military than on welfare.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:57:51 PM EDT
By Kilcullen:

At present, the U.S. defense budget accounts for approximately half of total global defense spending, while the U.S. armed forces employ about 1.68 million uniformed members. By comparison, the State Department employs about 6,000 foreign service officers, while the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has about 2,000. In other words, the Department of Defense is about 210 times larger than USAID and State combined—there are substantially more people employed as musicians in Defense bands than in the entire foreign service.


Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:01:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
We need more effective intelligence and diplomacy. Not necessarily more.


Any ideas on how to make it better?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:03:54 PM EDT
State Department folks don't want to go where the action is, so give it to the Salvation Army and turn them loose on Canada or something.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:09:09 PM EDT
We do need to spend more on the Department of State - better foreign relations are a good thing IMHO. More money needs to be spent on teaching people languages too.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:09:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gkieser92: We need to spend more, MUCH more to increase the size/capability of our military. The current operational tempo is very hard on troops, and they are deployed longer and more often than is healthy, especially the Reserves and NG. Military power takes years to build, so it's not like we can just decide to spend the money if and when a threat comes up. I would rather spend money on the military than on welfare.
I would rather spend money on the military than on domestic and foreign aid... err welfare programs because those who cannot stand on their own are in no position to defend me.

The problem with the DoD is not the lack of funds but how they waste funds. They pay too much for the same exact item that you can pick up in the retail marketplace w/o the advantage of volume orders. The US Military is so behind the curve in comparison to the civilian sector that the brass brags every time they deploy a system derived from the civilian sector.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:11:56 PM EDT
We spend less on defense than we do on entitlement programs (medicare, welfare, social security, ...) by a large margin at this point. Maybe we should cut them first?


Beyond that, the military currently has a major deployment ongoing which in times past has more than doubled or even tripled the percentage of GDP spent. All the current deployment has done is push the percentage of GDP up from 3.6% to about 4.4%. This is opposed to 37.8% in WW2 and 9.4% in vietnam. Beyond that Saudi Arabia spends 10% of their GDP on defense and they don't even have a real army!

Get some newer and more meaningful reading material. (Stockhom Institute is an agenda club not a research institute despite what their name says.) Rush tore this whole mess apart a month ago and the rest of the talking heads (in the media and congress) beat it to death a week later.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:12:12 PM EDT
We spend half of the world's total defense money because we are the number one target of the entire planet. It has little to do with our diplomacy or lack thereof and everything to do with jealousy and hatred of number one.

Our beliefs are evident in our actions. Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, plagues: we are there every time for free. When communism could have taken over most of the western world we were there. When Russia was facing huge logistics problems fighting Hitler we were there. When Britain was alone on the western front we were there.

We do what is right and what will protect liberty. No one else even tries.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:13:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 2:14:35 PM EDT by KlubMarcus]

Originally Posted By ben72227: We do need to spend more on the Department of State - better foreign relations are a good thing IMHO. More money needs to be spent on teaching people languages too.
Why should we? The rest of the world is inferior to the USA and they are better off becoming more like us. Trust me when I state that the rest of the world SUCKS! I immigrated here with a whole of other people for several generations. Why should we waste money on foreign languages? Most of the world's languages are dying off and their speakers/writers do enough good to warrant their continuation via American effort and expense. Let's not waste OUR tax dollars to teach ourselves useless tongues. Everybody in the rest of the world speaks English anyway, I could speak and write in English long before I moved to the USA.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:15:32 PM EDT
If we were really serious, we could find a way to cut our use of foreign sources of oil by 75%.

However, I am of the opinion that we should use up all their oil first and then use our stuff.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:20:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
If we were really serious, we could find a way to cut our use of foreign sources of oil by 75%.

However, I am of the opinion that we should use up all their oil first and then use our stuff.



That was how we got tangled up with the Saudis in the first place. Using theirs to save out own.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:22:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
If we were really serious, we could find a way to cut our use of foreign sources of oil by 75%.

However, I am of the opinion that we should use up all their oil first and then use our stuff.



That was how we got tangled up with the Saudis in the first place. Using theirs to save out own.


Actually, we got involved with the Saudis to keep the Russian out.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:24:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
By Kilcullen:

At present, the U.S. defense budget accounts for approximately half of total global defense spending, while the U.S. armed forces employ about 1.68 million uniformed members. By comparison, the State Department employs about 6,000 foreign service officers, while the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has about 2,000. In other words, the Department of Defense is about 210 times larger than USAID and State combined—there are substantially more people employed as musicians in Defense bands than in the entire foreign service.




Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) =/= total state department employees

Basically the comparison (the article's comparison) really has no meaning anyway. Handpicking numbers to suit a point just shows a willingness to use inflammatory and inaccurate information when it suits an agenda. Maybe next time, they'll compare numbers of atoms to numbers of grains of sand.

A simple wiki search says that the State Department had of 30000 employees in 2004. I would guess that the State Department currently employs significantly more given its reliance on contractors which generally are not counted.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:28:44 PM EDT
You are correct. Of that 30K, most are low level paper pushers. About 1400 are DSS.

As for contractors, they are typically a short term solution to a short term problem, although right now they are a short term solution to a long term problem.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:30:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Cpt_Kirks:
We should spend whatever it takes to make ourselves totally energy independent. Then, the middle east can go fuck itself.



+1000

A huge and important front of the GWOT that is being 100% ignored.

In my mind energy independence is just as important a victory on the battlefield.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:37:35 PM EDT
Sorry Jack, I have to disagree with you there.

The threat of a US .mil arse-kicking is about the only thing thats stopping the world going to hell in a hand basket, and the non-stop bad news from Iraq is diminishing that perception.

A perfect historical model is Carter's drawdown after Vietnam. That scored us the Soviet invasion of A'stan and Desert One, and the British announcement that they were ditching their carriers and 'phibs got them the Falklands War. When a major power draws down on their military, its an announcement to the world that they are no longer care enough about events to forcefully intervene if they choose to. This leaves a power vacuum, which WILL be filled, and probably not to the liking of the US.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:42:13 PM EDT
Good point...

For the record, my tone in this thread was entirely to stir up shit.

I think the military needs to be continually modernized.

I also think we need a second army for use in small wars.

I also think we should achieve 100% energy independence in the next 10 years, and that the State Department should be expanded. And that all K-16th graders should be enrolled in a language class at al times.

Lert, what do you think of Kilcullen's success as a US advisor? Ya'll have a different way of looking at problems down there.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:42:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 3:04:30 PM EDT by FedDC]

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
By Kilcullen:

At present, the U.S. defense budget accounts for approximately half of total global defense spending, while the U.S. armed forces employ about 1.68 million uniformed members. By comparison, the State Department employs about 6,000 foreign service officers, while the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has about 2,000. In other words, the Department of Defense is about 210 times larger than USAID and State combined—there are substantially more people employed as musicians in Defense bands than in the entire foreign service.





That number is misleading. FSOs make up a vital but small number of the total personel at DOS. The overall DOS has tens of thousands of employees that are not FSOs, but still have a vital job to do.

Many people do not realize that the DOS has a huge LE responsibility that goes along with its traditional diplomacy mission. On top of that, there are the passport and visa responsibilities, american citizen services, the running of Embassies all over the world, ect.

The people that do those things are not low level paper pushers. They are career Foreign Service Specialists who have a difficult job that takes them into challenging environments where they "do more with less" on a regular basis.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:45:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 2:48:17 PM EDT by Combat_Jack]
Fed, as I said above, there are about 1400 DSS agents last I heard, will a goal of adding several hundred more. In fact, last time I was on the website it appeared the requirement for professional work experience or graduate school had been dropped, which may indicate a mass hiring in response to the Blackwater scandal.

When I said low level paper pushers, I was referring primarily to the large number of people I saw doing clerical work when I visited last year. And that doesn't mention the very nice old lady who does an excellent job of showing off the reception rooms.

My apologies for being flippant.

Nevertheless, that isn't a lot of FSOs to cover the whole world, particularly when you figure that they aren't all out there at once (and that lots of them are pussies).

Stay safe.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:52:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Fed, as I said above, there are about 1400 DSS agents last I heard, will a goal of adding several hundred more. In fact, last time I was on the website it appeared the requirement for professional work experience or graduate school had been dropped, which may indicate a mass hiring in response to the Blackwater scandal.

Nevertheless, that isn't a lot of FSOs to cover the whole world, particularly when you figure that they aren't all out there at once (and that lots of them are pussies).

Stay safe.


No doubt, there could be more personel across the board and that would be a big help but they are only one element in a complex machine.

The issue is that people don't function without the logistics and support that drives the train. If we want a more active DOS or even USG in general, there needs to be a lot of logistics and support to make it happen.

The US Mil has an expeditionary mindset where they deploy with the organic capability to provide their own support in the form of transportation, medical, commo, ect, and that makes them effective. They get the job done.

Other agencies in the USG could learn a lot from that. There is no substitute for being able to do what you need done right now and do it in house.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:01:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By dport:
We need more effective intelligence and diplomacy. Not necessarily more.


Any ideas on how to make it better?

Lots of them.

It starts with leadership.

The Defense vs State vs CIA culture has to go for starters.

There needs to be more joint work between the three to realize efficiencies and concentrate effort.

A second army to fight small wars is probably not in the cards, but I think a "joint" command between the three agencies to deal with small wars and post major conflicts should be.

That's just for starters.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:24:14 PM EDT
The language thing wouldnt help with trade as much as you think. english is the international language of business and everywhere i have been in the world from africa and the middle east to europe and the far east everyone in banking and commerce speaks english.

Spending on DoD programs has myriad trickle down effects in civilian technologies and economies of scale.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:46:58 PM EDT
Sounds like pussy talk.

More money for DoS cause they are oh so competent.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:41:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Good point...

For the record, my tone in this thread was entirely to stir up shit.

I think the military needs to be continually modernized.

I also think we need a second army for use in small wars.

I also think we should achieve 100% energy independence in the next 10 years, and that the State Department should be expanded. And that all K-16th graders should be enrolled in a language class at al times.

Lert, what do you think of Kilcullen's success as a US advisor? Ya'll have a different way of looking at problems down there.


I have to admit that I've never heard of Kilcullen. Given that I don't work in the field, I dont stay as current as I'd like to.

Having said that, I just skimmed his surprisingly comprehensive Wikipedia entry. He's a thinker who's been there and done that. I especially like his conceptualisation of the WoT as a global insurgency, and needs to be fought as such. Clausewitz still holds true: War is a continuation of politics by other means. This doesn't sit well with the American post- WW2 culture that has glorifies the large set-piece battles and is disdainful of mixing politics, diplomacy, business and military operations. It also doesn't sit well with the post Vietnam era generation that sees all war and violence as beyond the pale. Its an odd dichotomy in American political discourse that does you a great disservice, because the argument is always between "kick their ass" and "Kumbaya".

Anyone who helps to break that up that dichotomy I would see as welcome, and Kilcullen seems to be one of those.

A final point: The British Empire came to rule 1/4 of the Earth and 1/5th of its population with a vanishingly small military through much commerce, a lot of skulduggery and the occasional war, and did so for about 400 years. Rome was much the same, but with more war.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:46:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lert:
Clausewitz still holds true: War is a continuation of politics by other means. This doesn't sit well with the American post- WW2 culture that has glorifies the large set-piece battles and is disdainful of mixing politics, diplomacy, business and military operations. It also doesn't sit well with the post Vietnam era generation that sees all war and violence as beyond the pale. Its an odd dichotomy in American political discourse that does you a great disservice, because the argument is always between "kick their ass" and "Kumbaya".


This is the impetus behind my earlier post.

The US military divides the world into seven different geographic areas and we appoint a 4 star officer to handle the military affairs therein.

But most of that job isn't military, it's diplomatic. Why we don't have a joint DoS/DoD command for each of those areas run by someone who reports the the National Security Advisor, who reports the the CIC, is beyond me.

Why the CIA is not the DoS's intelligence arm, like the DIA is the DoD's intelligence arm is beyond me.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:54:14 PM EDT
DoS has analysts in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, but no collection capability.

It's going to be interesting to see how the DoS' work in Iraq and Afghanistan effects its culture. What with the need to live a hard life for long periods of time... something that a lot of them probably never figured on.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:07:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Lert:
Clausewitz still holds true: War is a continuation of politics by other means. This doesn't sit well with the American post- WW2 culture that has glorifies the large set-piece battles and is disdainful of mixing politics, diplomacy, business and military operations. It also doesn't sit well with the post Vietnam era generation that sees all war and violence as beyond the pale. Its an odd dichotomy in American political discourse that does you a great disservice, because the argument is always between "kick their ass" and "Kumbaya".


This is the impetus behind my earlier post.

The US military divides the world into seven different geographic areas and we appoint a 4 star officer to handle the military affairs therein.

But most of that job isn't military, it's diplomatic. Why we don't have a joint DoS/DoD command for each of those areas run by someone who reports the the National Security Advisor, who reports the the CIC, is beyond me.

Why the CIA is not the DoS's intelligence arm, like the DIA is the DoD's intelligence arm is beyond me.


Great an entirely seperate additional chain of command, seperate beaurocracy and asshattery.

We need to go back to the CinC system. One CinC per area. Controls all things US in said area. DoS, Over Seas FBI, Military etc.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:14:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Lert:
Clausewitz still holds true: War is a continuation of politics by other means. This doesn't sit well with the American post- WW2 culture that has glorifies the large set-piece battles and is disdainful of mixing politics, diplomacy, business and military operations. It also doesn't sit well with the post Vietnam era generation that sees all war and violence as beyond the pale. Its an odd dichotomy in American political discourse that does you a great disservice, because the argument is always between "kick their ass" and "Kumbaya".


This is the impetus behind my earlier post.

The US military divides the world into seven different geographic areas and we appoint a 4 star officer to handle the military affairs therein.

But most of that job isn't military, it's diplomatic. Why we don't have a joint DoS/DoD command for each of those areas run by someone who reports the the National Security Advisor, who reports the the CIC, is beyond me.

Why the CIA is not the DoS's intelligence arm, like the DIA is the DoD's intelligence arm is beyond me.


The old governor/proconsul model worked well for the Brits. He titularly be the head of all British govt organisations in their area, and report to the Colonial Secretary. For non-Brit possessions, the Ambassador took on that role in everything but open warfare. I would suspect that the US Ambassador did a similar thing before the age of "convenient" communication.

In the Brit case, the Governor was often a seconded or retired flag officer, so he understood military matters.

An excellent example of this sort of civ/mil diplomacy came last year, when CinCPac in a press conf suggested that the USN undertake anti-piracy patrols in the Straits of Malacca. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were so incensed at this slur against their sovereignty that they've been running vigorous anti-piracy patrols ever since. This would probably rank as one of the most cost-effective operations the USN has ever run
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:16:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Paveway_:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Lert:
Clausewitz still holds true: War is a continuation of politics by other means. This doesn't sit well with the American post- WW2 culture that has glorifies the large set-piece battles and is disdainful of mixing politics, diplomacy, business and military operations. It also doesn't sit well with the post Vietnam era generation that sees all war and violence as beyond the pale. Its an odd dichotomy in American political discourse that does you a great disservice, because the argument is always between "kick their ass" and "Kumbaya".


This is the impetus behind my earlier post.

The US military divides the world into seven different geographic areas and we appoint a 4 star officer to handle the military affairs therein.

But most of that job isn't military, it's diplomatic. Why we don't have a joint DoS/DoD command for each of those areas run by someone who reports the the National Security Advisor, who reports the the CIC, is beyond me.

Why the CIA is not the DoS's intelligence arm, like the DIA is the DoD's intelligence arm is beyond me.


Great an entirely seperate additional chain of command, seperate beaurocracy and asshattery.

We need to go back to the CinC system. One CinC per area. Controls all things US in said area. DoS, Over Seas FBI, Military etc.


We already have two chains of command, administrative and operational. I'm not suggesting to replace either. Rather I'm talking about building onto the operational chain of command and integrating the efforts of the politicians and the warfighters. After the experience in Iraq, it seems like the thing to do. The military was operating under the assumption that the Iraqi military would be reconstituted. The politicians decided to disband the Iraqi military at a critical time.

As for going back to the CinC system, we never left it. They were simply renamed to COCOM. They still do what they did before Rummy changed the name.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:19:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lert:

The old governor/proconsul model worked well for the Brits. He titularly be the head of all British govt organisations in their area, and report to the Colonial Secretary. For non-Brit possessions, the Ambassador took on that role in everything but open warfare. I would suspect that the US Ambassador did a similar thing before the age of "convenient" communication.

In the Brit case, the Governor was often a seconded or retired flag officer, so he understood military matters.

An excellent example of this sort of civ/mil diplomacy came last year, when CinCPac in a press conf suggested that the USN undertake anti-piracy patrols in the Straits of Malacca. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were so incensed at this slur against their sovereignty that they've been running vigorous anti-piracy patrols ever since. This would probably rank as one of the most cost-effective operations the USN has ever run


Whatever model proffered, what needs to be addressed is the disjointed efforts from two cabinet level organizations. Their operations are only marginally integrated. Partly because each is on their own damn program. That's got to stop.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:28:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 5:29:40 PM EDT by Beater9C1]
Im not totally convinced that if we lessen our dependence on imported oil that we would be any better off security wize.

Yeah you can make the argument that Chavez for example would be less impowered if he was not collecting a fat revenue source from crude oil. You could say the same for the Middle East. It MIGHT be more stable if we were not in their land.

The bottom line for me is, if we dont purchase and use the only thing that is worth a damn in that part of the world, how pissed would they be then.

"The great satan" found a way to get off fossil fuels to stick it to the muslims and make their countries poor.

Probally not a NYT headline but pretty close to a Al Jazeera topic.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:33:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Beater9C1:

The bottom line for me is, if we dont purchase and use the only thing that is worth a damn in that part of the world, how pissed would they be then.

"The great satan" found a way to get off fossil fuels to stick it to the muslims and make their countries poor.

Probally not a NYT headline but pretty close to a Al Jazeera topic.


You hit on a very important point. One I covered in a paper for my Energy class a year ago. Taking money away from those governments reduces their ability to control radical Islam.

The problem with reducing our dependence on oil from the ME is that radical Islam's ideology doesn't necessarily depend on revenue. In fact, it has developed tactics to fight their enemies with little funding.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:35:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
We spend a little less than 4% of our GDP on defense every year. We spend more on defense than the net half of the world... combined.

At the same time it has been pointed out that the Department of State has fewer people than the various military bands.

So what I'm thinking is maybe some of the money that we funnel into the DoD year after year would be better spent on public diplomacy, language training from kindergarten through college, and on reducing dependence on imported energy.

Think of it as a way to head off war before it becomes necessary.

Any thoughts?


"Department of Peace" ?

Kunnich anyone?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:38:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:41:07 PM EDT
Exactly

They hate us because we are infidels not because some of us drive trucks and some of us drive a Prius.


Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Beater9C1:

The bottom line for me is, if we dont purchase and use the only thing that is worth a damn in that part of the world, how pissed would they be then.

"The great satan" found a way to get off fossil fuels to stick it to the muslims and make their countries poor.

Probally not a NYT headline but pretty close to a Al Jazeera topic.


You hit on a very important point. One I covered in a paper for my Energy class a year ago. Taking money away from those governments reduces their ability to control radical Islam.

The problem with reducing our dependence on oil from the ME is that radical Islam's ideology doesn't necessarily depend on revenue. In fact, it has developed tactics to fight their enemies with little funding.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:43:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
....
So what I'm thinking is maybe some of the money that we funnel into the DoD year after year would be better spent on public diplomacy, language training from kindergarten through college, ...Any thoughts?


Yeah because talking to terrorists and violent tyrants has always worked so well in the past .

Jack, usually you got your head on straight, but in this case I think you should put down the booze and go to bed.


I think he's got a point. It's not a matter of talking to tyrants, it's a matter of creating national strategy and policies that prevent them from coming to power in the first place.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:43:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 5:45:56 PM EDT by Combat_Jack]
Forest, I'm stirring the shit with a giant wooden spoon tonight.

The oil funding problem isn't because it funds their operations. What it funds is the spread of Wahabbism. Most Wahabbis are harmless, but a few are a little too hardcore for their own good, or ours.

Of course, drilling our way to independence isn't possible because of fungibility.

Edit: Lert is correct. Although I'll say now that subtlety is necessary. And that is something that non-military organizations are better at.

As dport and Lert will gladly point out, US diplomacy is usually most effectively done by the military (especilly disaster relief). It can be argued that this weaken the military. Let State and USAID take some slack off.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:44:53 PM EDT
This could get ugly...

For starters, the DoD has a fundamentally different role to play than State - and all the diplomats in the world won't help if we can't secure 3/4th of the world's resources and trade for our economic engine - and that means several things: forward deployment of the Army in Europe, Japan and Korea and a world-wide presence (and therefore bases) for the Navy and Air Force.

All this armament is required to keep the 'front lines' of our economic-political-military position as far away from our shores as is practical. Had Cuba not gone commie we'd literally have kept the Russians out of the entire half of our part of the globe.

Sheer diplomacy has never defended us or kept the wolves at bay. Not that diplomats aren't useful. They are. But adding more of them to the demise of soldiers and sailors isn't wise.

Now it might have been better had the CIA not been given the green light to play politics in other countries, but perhaps this very disjointedness of the US system has back end benefits by giving other powers a very reasonable expectation that if they play nice, it'll be possible to diplomatically engage us and 'turn' us to their liking rather than resort to terror or armed confrontation.

As galling as the dimocrats and peaceniks are - useful idiots for the Soviets during the Cold War, they also served the Right in one spectacular way: they kept the Soviets from going 'hot' by holding out a serious prospect of them infiltrating us to the point of our capitulation to them peacefully.... so our very fractured political and governmental system might just help dispel potential confrontations by giving would-be enemies hope in 'playing us' (just as we always talk about playing their domestic 'moderates' against the 'hardliners').

If we were monolithic Republicans, Osama and others might have not pulled punches... just as we hesitate to bomb Iran out of fear of hurting the 'moderate majority' so too they might be holding back from wave 2 for fear of cementing our 'hardliners' in power...

It works both ways.

Finally about oil. We produce 7m barrels per day but need 20m. Most comes from Canada and Mexico NOT SA or Iraq. But inasmuch as it's an open market, more fields on line helps stabilize the costs.

Our technology will eventually make everything more efficient - but the growing economies of India and China are increasing faster than our efficiencies can keep up, so prices will rise in the foreseeable future even with huge finds like Brazil's.

It's not Peak Oil, but increased demand that will keep the prices high.

But big business loves predictability - so there are enormous interests involved in keeping the peace in oil bearing lands. Wars obviously inject unpredictability into a system heavily dependent on predictable logistics - so the middle east peace is vital not just for the moral sense of peace being better than war, but because a stabil economy is better than a global depression.

As much as we tend to lump all elites together in satanic cults bent on world domination and destruction, I think we miss the obviousness that most elites got there the hard way - earning it from the ground up, creating wealth and building on wealth - all of which presupposes order. Most elites don't want war and depression as it'd wipe out their wealth. So I'd say most Americans, from state to DoD to the oil business are pro-peace with strength and not pro-war.

I highly doubt we'll be going to war with Iran. But we will be an oil-based global economy until someone figures out how to do fusion.
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Top Top