Guest Column by Kevin Kyle
Recently, President Obama released his new plans for the future of the U.S. military. This includes a much smaller military, with cuts totaling close to $487 billion over the next 10 years. Many people are asking if this puts our national security at risk.
Multimillionaire and presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney describes Obama’s policy as “dangerous.” Many right wing politicians see the turmoil in Iran as a clear sign that military spending cannot be cut and think the president may be putting U.S. lives on the line with these types of cuts.
I don’t believe this could be any further from the truth. The U.S. spent more than $687 billion in 2010, which was $573 billion more than the next highest military spending country.
The enormous amount of money spent on the military is completely unnecessary and makes us appear as a country set upon imperial domination in the eyes of other countries. By decreasing the amount we spend on the military, we may in fact be making ourselves safer in the long run. Yes, I said safer in the long run.
If the cuts go through like Obama has planned, an entire shift in foreign countries’ perceptions of us will undoubtedly be forced to change. If we are spending amounts similar to other countries around the world, this will make other countries view us as a more peace-seeking nation, instead of one bent upon invading foreign nations and going into wars that we do not belong in.
For too long, other countries have looked at the U.S. as a country to attack first and ask questions later. Hopefully this downsizing of the military will mean not only a shift in others’ perception of the U.S. but how we actually deal with foreign policy. This shift in foreign policy has been evident with the Obama administration, whether it is pulling troops out of Afghanistan or demanding that we look for diplomatic solutions to the heightened threat Iran is bringing to the rest of the world.
With these cuts to the military, we will be able to reinvest in areas our country needs direly. First off, our country’s infrastructure is far from where it should be. Roads and bridges are falling apart, putting our citizens at risk even when driving to work.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to spend billions protecting our country from those overseas when our country’s own critical infrastructure is deteriorating, putting our own citizens at risk. Investing in our infrastructure would not only help to make our roads and bridges safer, but it would also put people to work. No exact number is available but with unemployment around eight percent, any new jobs would certainly help.
On top of the failing infrastructure of our country, our education system is in dire need of reform as well. One example of how the Obama administration has demonstrated its commitment to education reform was when the Obama administration announced that nine states (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington) would receive grant awards from the $500 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Fund last December.
These grants were created to support states in creating systems of high-quality early learning and development programs, developing new approaches to raise the bar across early learning centers and closing the school readiness gap. Cuts in the military will allow for more funding of programs like these and make our educational system competitive once again on the global scale with countries such as Finland, Denmark and Australia.
Many Republicans and Democrats view cuts to the military as a direct threat to our national security and way of life. I believe if you look deeper at what is actually going on, these cuts will allow our country to regroup, change our global image and once again establish an excellent educational system.