Posted on 09-10-2009
Filed Under (Current Affairs, Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Just how big a military is threat is Iran? Recent columns by Juan Cole raise this pertinent question as usual parties beat the war drums. With a military budget estimated around 7.4 billion dollars, the Iranian military is dwarfed by Israeli military expenditures of over 13-19 billion dollars. The American military budget is over 500 billion dollars.

Even the military budget of China which was projected as the next great military threat in the 1990s by the Cox report has a budget nine times smaller than the United States (at the official exchange rate). The current United States military budget is larger than the next 13 countries combined. With this in time it is time to give some perspective on the nature of the military threat the United States faces.  For a comparison chart of military budgets go here.

Commensurate with its expenditures, the United States does have global military obligations and some other powers like China and India have only regional aspirations. America’s actions as the gendarme of the world unfortunately have been encouraged by the post-cold war freeloading by the European NATO allies who showed themselves singularly incapable if handling their own backyard brawl in Yugoslavia and the Kosovo. The rest of the world (except for occasional French intervention in its former colonies and recent Nigerian assertiveness in West Africa) has failed to intervene in various African tragedies unless the United States took the lead.

The reality is that the United States has not been threatened conventionally by any power since the fall of the Soviet Union. This makes the overblown hype about the nature of the opposition in every war the America fought since 1990 more disturbing, particularly when the opponents have been repeatedly shown to have feet of clay.

Saddam Hussein’s million man army was useless against superior American firepower. The vaunted Yugoslav military folded once Clinton sent in ground troops. The build up to George W. Bush’s war in Iraq after 9/11 was even more egregious because Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities had atrophied after Desert Storm.

At this point no conventional opponent comes close to challenging the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

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