Cuts in Defence & Security: a mistake?

The Battle (detail) by Albrecht Altdorfer

In several nations, left wing disciples tend to request severe cuts in defence budgets, as a solution to budgetary disequilibrium.
For some reason, investing in defence and security is looked at with suspicion (as if freedom and liberties were at risk) so that funds can be channelled to what is viewed as more pressing issues - i.e. social benefits.

The military, military intelligence, the secret services, federal agencies and security forces (in general) employ, directly, a lot of people. These forces also indirectly employ another whole lot of individuals through defence-related businesses, through companies supplying those businesses and so forth.
People employed, nation secured. Taxes paid, nation wealthier. Military R&D, nation secured, trading and wealthier...
This being said, investing in defence can help solve some social and economic issues; therefore, politicians that use defence as a tool of demagoguery (and actually succeed in leading governments to cut in defence) are simply not thinking it through.

Is it wise to cut in defence & security (D&S)?
Decreasing expenditure in D&S may present two disadvantages:
  1. Offer the impression of national vulnerability (ex: terrorism, both internal and external). 
  2. Give the impression of social permissiveness (ex: delinquency, anarchy, riots). 
In economic crisis, it is easy to yield to the temptation of wanting to make defence cuts; however it is not logical (nor safe) to do so, since economic distress leads to social discontentment, which in turn augments the probabilities of uprisings, criminal activities and terror attacks (not to mention that cuts may equal to layoffs [in all departments and in industries related to defence], which would worsen the social crisis). A proper D&S will help to tackle any activity that may throw us into economic, social and political upheaval.
In days of prosperity, D&S should have a comfortable budget so that it can set up R&D labs, in order to produce goods to either improve itself or to sell (as a means of self-finance; contributing, thus, to a decrease in government deficit) and, to prepare itself (i.e. logistics and strategy) for an eventual warfare .

A nation like Israel cannot afford to decrease its defence forces budget. A nation like the US cannot afford to have its military budget cut. A nation like Portugal (a NATO member, devoid of proper military technology and destitute of R&D) should feel embarrassed for not investing more on defence. Should India make defence cuts (now that it seeks modernization of its armed forces to tackle its security issues and cement its strategic position)?

Not having a solid national Defence is detrimental to Homeland Security and to Political Strategy.


What do you think; cuts in defence and security: a mistake or not?

Comments

  1. I won't say much on this topic, except that I don't like the US being the world's policeman. Europe's socialism is partially paid for by American taxpayers who cover the defense.

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  2. Max, Europe should invest more in defence. The members of the EU invest very little in defence and the proof of this was the NATO intervention in Lybia: if the US hadn't participated the operation wouldn't have probably be sustainable for this long.
    Perish the thought, but imagine that Europe is invaded once again by a lunatic, do we (Europeans) expect the US to come and rescue us once again? Have we not learned the necessary lessons? We cannot expect Britain to do everything alone, and God knows we cannot trust the French (history has also taught us that. Plus, France today is always on the wrong side of the political equation...haven't they learned anything either?).

    The way this is going, Europe might have to rely on Israel to save its butt cause the US will eventually stop being the world's fire-fighter.

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  3. Hi Looney :D!

    "I won't say much on this topic, except that I don't like the US being the world's policeman."

    I know where you are coming from; but truth be told: no one forced the US to be the world's policeman. It kind of put itself in that position (for its own reasons and political interests). Nevertheless, I would agree that many countries took advantage of the US military power and willingness to help, to remain militarily idle (to say the least).

    "Europe's socialism is partially paid for by American taxpayers who cover the defense."

    Indeed. A restructure is urgently needed...

    Looney, thank you so much for your much appreciated input :D.

    Cheers

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  4. Hi Ana :D!

    "Max, Europe should invest more in defence."

    It should.

    "The members of the EU invest very little in defence and the proof of this was the NATO intervention in Lybia: if the US hadn't participated the operation wouldn't have probably be sustainable for this long."

    If I recall correctly, this was part of the dispute between Secretary Gates and Europe, wasn't it?

    "Perish the thought, but imagine that Europe is invaded once again by a lunatic, do we (Europeans) expect the US to come and rescue us once again? Have we not learned the necessary lessons? We cannot expect Britain to do everything alone, and God knows we cannot trust the French (history has also taught us that. Plus, France today is always on the wrong side of the political equation...haven't they learned anything either?)."

    Europeans do need to prepare themselves (militarily speaking; because in terms of intelligence, they are not bad) because there will come the time when the US will shift its military policies and, then what?

    "The way this is going, Europe might have to rely on Israel to save its butt cause the US will eventually stop being the world's fire-fighter."

    LOL LOL that would be the day...Europe (that usually works against the Jewish State) asking Israel for military help. But that is one good thought, Ana...let's see what the future holds.

    Ana, thank you so much for your super input :D.

    Cheers

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  5. I don't think defense of our country should be cut, although I agree with Looney that it is not our country's responsibility to defend the rest of the world. I don't like the cuts in military and in nuclear weapons. And this is way off topic, but I also am upset by cuts to the space program.

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  6. Looney and Max, I wish that the USA had been an impartial policeman on my patch of green. For us it will be suicidal to cut our defense budgets because of our friend and ally of the USA, on the one hand and the dragon on the other. I honestly think that we do not spend enough on our defense.Compared to China's 7 percent and Pakistan 5 percent, India's defence budget continues to be low as a proportion of GDP at just below 3%.

    You can get a better idea here: http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/mar/02/defence-budget-in-need-of-direction.htm

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  7. Olá Max!

    Pacifists would read this post and say that if we lived in peace, surrounded by love, we would have no need for defense costs and that those funds should be wisely applied in education, health care and aid. Pacifists don't know human nature and their socialist ideals are repugnant.
    Portugal has an immense sea and very few vessels to protect it, why? Because it yields to the leftist hysteria - it's that simple. the disciples of the left (like you called them) would spend all our tax money on unsupervised social programs if they could, cause the national wealth should be equally redistributed - a total illusion.

    I read Looney's and Delirious' comment and, really, America polices the world because it needs and it wants to. How many billions does policing the world generate to the military industry? How much political influence does America maintain because of its defense policies? What saddens the world is the alliances the US makes in the name of American National Interests...look at Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia (just to name a scandalous few).

    It is a huge mistake to cut on defense and a huge humiliation not to invest on defense (i.e. Portugal).

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  8. Hi D! :D

    "I don't think defense of our country should be cut, although I agree with Looney that it is not our country's responsibility to defend the rest of the world. I don't like the cuts in military and in nuclear weapons."

    Like I told Looney, defending the world was convenient to the US (they chose to do so, as a political and economic strategy). But yes, the US should not police the whole world and perhaps one day it will stop doing so, who knows.

    "And this is way off topic, but I also am upset by cuts to the space program."

    Oh but it is not so off topic: the space program is part of Defence (with the intelligence they gather and all). And I am not so sure either if space program cuts are that healthy.

    D, thank you so much for your excellent input :D.

    Cheers

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  9. Hi Rummy :D!

    "I wish that the USA had been an impartial policeman on my patch of green."

    Indeed...

    "For us it will be suicidal to cut our defense budgets because of our friend and ally of the USA, on the one hand and the dragon on the other."

    True. India must be attentive to Pakistan and China at all times (despite their diplomatic and trade relations).

    "I honestly think that we do not spend enough on our defense.Compared to China's 7 percent and Pakistan 5 percent, India's defence budget continues to be low as a proportion of GDP at just below 3%."

    There are political analysts who say that if India doesn't make some deep political reforms, it is pointless to increase its defence budget: do you agree?

    Rummy, thank you for this link (I will read it attentively); and thank you so very much for your superb comment :D.

    Cheers

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  10. Olá Celeste :D!

    "Pacifists would read this post and say that if we lived in peace, surrounded by love, we would have no need for defense costs and that those funds should be wisely applied in education, health care and aid. Pacifists don't know human nature and their socialist ideals are repugnant."

    LOL don't you just love pacifists? They can be so cute in the way they see things so linearly.

    "Portugal has an immense sea and very few vessels to protect it, why? Because it yields to the leftist hysteria - it's that simple. the disciples of the left (like you called them) would spend all our tax money on unsupervised social programs if they could, cause the national wealth should be equally redistributed - a total illusion."

    I'd say Fascism and then the Revolution of '74 blinded Portugal - it acts as if it were traumatised or something. But what traumatises me is the fact that Portuguese leftists ignore the concept of secret services - they openly speak about it, they demand public lists of secret agents's names, they also demand severe cuts in intelligent services (so that the Portuguese may have more social benefits)...it makes no sense at all *nodding*.

    "I read Looney's and Delirious' comment and, really, America polices the world because it needs and it wants to. How many billions does policing the world generate to the military industry? How much political influence does America maintain because of its defense policies?"

    Yesterday I watched a fascinating documentary about Mr. Kissinger: it was quite an eye opener...
    But yes, it suited the US (so far) to police the world.

    "What saddens the world is the alliances the US makes in the name of American National Interests...look at Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia (just to name a scandalous few)."

    Pakistan was quite a slap in the face (and to think of all that money given to them). Egypt is on the brink of disappointing me (I just hope there won't be a civil war, cause the Islamists are aiming at power there - did you see Erdogan there?). Saudi Arabia...don't get me started.

    "It is a huge mistake to cut on defense and a huge humiliation not to invest on defense (i.e. Portugal)."

    Agreed.

    Celeste, thank you so much for your superb input :D.

    Cheers

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  11. I am in total agreement with that proposition and would add that further liberalisation of the economy quickly is also desperately called for.

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  12. Hi Max,

    In a time when many countries are on tenterhooks, and looking over their shoulders for the big one, cuts in defence don't make sense.

    Since the U.S. has lost sight of $70 billion sent to Afghanistan, American taxpayer dollars are vulnerable to winding up in the pockets of insurgents. I think that may be why some people say "cut spending."

    In order to keep our nation safe, we really can't afford to cut spendng to protect ourselves. As anything, with spending also comes waste. Unfortunately there is no black and white answer.

    Great topic.

    Wishing you a happy weekend my friend.

    Spend On Max Weekend Cheers!

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  13. Rummy,

    I read that link you shared with us: extremely interesting material (thank you).

    "I am in total agreement with that proposition and would add that further liberalisation of the economy quickly is also desperately called for."

    I see what you mean...

    Have a great weekend, my friend!

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  14. Hi Lady A :D!

    "Since the U.S. has lost sight of $70 billion sent to Afghanistan, American taxpayer dollars are vulnerable to winding up in the pockets of insurgents. I think that may be why some people say "cut spending.""

    I see...

    "In order to keep our nation safe, we really can't afford to cut spendng to protect ourselves. As anything, with spending also comes waste. Unfortunately there is no black and white answer."

    True. As for waste: if it exists it is because it interests someone or some interests.

    "Great topic."

    Thank you *bowing*.

    "Wishing you a happy weekend my friend."

    Oh darling, obrigada...and have yourself a merry weekend as well :D.

    Lady A, thank you for your most valuable comment (loved it) :D.

    "Spend On Max Weekend Cheers"

    LOL that was a good...

    Top Weekend Cheers

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  15. I would try to accommodate both the points of view here. If we see from the micro point of view, indeed a high defence spending is definitely needed to always be on the toes and match with the hostile country, but
    a risk-cost analysis should also be done since I see so many countries whose defence spending is disproportionate to the actual risk element in that country.

    From a macro point of view and our societal and more human angle, a broader consensus needs to be developed among the nations at large to ease the hostility as much as possible. We see poverty stricken third world countries, who are dependent mainly on external aid but they channelise the entire resources towards defence spending. Now this should stop, if a nations resources are not for the benefit its own people at large and the majority struggle for survival, I don't know atleast for the benefit of the people maybe defence should be given the next priority.

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  16. I nice topic to glean on with...but I hate wars...so whether we would increase D&S or not, war would just come...in our country, the defense department is just as sick and corrupt and i hate it!

    Max am back in my original blog, do visit...:)

    Missed you Max and all your scholarly views of life!

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  17. Hi Kalyan :D!

    "If we see from the micro point of view, indeed a high defence spending is definitely needed to always be on the toes and match with the hostile country, but a risk-cost analysis should also be done since I see so many countries whose defence spending is disproportionate to the actual risk element in that country."

    I see what you mean...and it is also a good point. However, preparing a nation for any eventuality (in today's world, where physical and intellectual mobility is much easier) costs money despite its risk level - who would have thought that Norway would suffer a domestic terrorist attack? Security forces seemed unprepared exactly because the country invested more on other fields (since they didn't consider themselves at risk).

    "From a macro point of view and our societal and more human angle, a broader consensus needs to be developed among the nations at large to ease the hostility as much as possible."

    To ease hostility - well said; because you know it will never end.

    "We see poverty stricken third world countries, who are dependent mainly on external aid but they channelise the entire resources towards defence spending."

    I'd say they waste money on the military (to protect to the utmost their seat in power); not in defence as a whole.

    "Now this should stop, if a nations resources are not for the benefit its own people at large and the majority struggle for survival, I don't know atleast for the benefit of the people maybe defence should be given the next priority."

    I am inclined to agree with you.

    Kalyan, you brought some excellent points to the discussion and you complemented this article in a superb way: thank you ever so much for the treat :D.

    Cheers

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  18. Hi Amity :D!

    "(..) in our country, the defense department is just as sick and corrupt and i hate it!"

    Oh my...that bad, eh?

    "Max am back in my original blog, do visit...:)"

    I am glad and I shall do :D.

    "Missed you Max and all your scholarly views of life!"

    Thank you *bowing*. I missed you too, darling!

    Amity, thank you so much for your input :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete

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