Donald Trump’s wretched national security inheritance for President Joe Biden included some low-hanging fruit that is being addressed. Biden’s speech to the Munich Security Conference last week reasserted the importance of the transatlantic alliance, particularly the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the U.S. commitment to mutual security. Biden’s delayed discussions with Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu and his warning to Saudi Arabia indicate that the United States considers the renewal of the Iran nuclear treaty a top priority, and that Jerusalem and Riyadh must not get in the way.
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More Bloat For Bloated Defense Spending
The justification for additional defense spending is reminiscent of traditional Cold War justifications. The Senate’s defense authorization act even empowers the Pentagon to establish a “strategic competition initiative” for the U.S. African Command, which would lead to an expanded U.S. military presence in Africa. The United States has already trained leaders of coups in Mali and Guinea, and provided aid to repressive regimes in Uganda and Niger. The Pentagon can’t even provide an accurate inventory of the military equipment it has provided to African countries.
American Exceptionalism: Our Gun Culture at Home and Abroad
There is an insidious and unspoken connection between our gun culture at home and abroad. U.S. politicians and pundits believe that huge defense budgets provide international security for the United States, and many Americans believe that personal weapons provide safety at home. We don’t question the use of deadly weaponry in unnecessary wars overseas; Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the most recent examples. At home, there are more guns than people — 120 guns for every 100 people. The United States is exceptional because some of the same weapons designed for war are available to teenagers fighting their personal demons.