The internatianal value of the US military
In a recent article by Orson Scott Card (I know… I’m obsessed), he talks about how our civilization can fall. Not just the United States, but the international economy and in turn, society as we know it. He makes some interesting points concerning the value of the US military.
In the aftermath of WWII, once again America was the economic cushion — only this time the portion of Germany under western occupation was included in the economic recovery, as was Japan.
The result, over the past sixty years, has been a pax Americana covering much of the world. And the world has prospered fantastically wherever the American military sustained it.
Let me say that again: As with Rome, the American military has been the wall behind which a system of safe trade has allowed an extraordinary degree of specialization and therefore mutually sustained prosperity.
America has not been imperial — we have not been stripping other countries. On the contrary, those nations that were able to sustain the internal peace necessary for production, and that have joined the economy presided over by America, have all been able to join in the prosperity as equals.
We don’t tax them — quite the opposite. We have taxed ourselves to pay for the military protection that maintained the safety and perception of safety that allowed the European community and Japan to flourish. Their welfare economies are only possible because they did not have to pay for their own defense at anything like the levels we have paid.
People talk about America’s enormous defense budget as if it were a menace to the world. But our enormous defense budget has allowed Japan and Europe — and Taiwan and South Korea — to thrive without having to invest much of their gross domestic product in defense.
So is this an accurate assessment? Can we (as Americans) claim to actually be the police of the world and the catalyst to the global economy?
I know our military does a lot for countries which have a US military presence, but claiming to have such a large impact on all those countries economies is quite bold. That being said, all his points seem valid to me. Can someone provide evidence otherwise?
By the way, I’m sure this is an article to bring more attention to his new book, “Empire”, as it about a near future American Civil War (review still to come).