Robert Kagan: Fiscal Crisis Puts Our National Security at Risk

Wednesday, 14 Nov 2012 08:15 AM

By Michael Kling

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Our fiscal crisis puts our national security as well as our economy at risk, writes Robert Kagan, a foreign policy expert and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, for The Washington Post.

The fiscal cliff coming at the start of 2013 includes massive cuts to the defense budget plus cuts to foreign aid at a time when we should be spending more, not less, due to problems in the Middle East and elsewhere, he writes.

For example, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, outcomes of Arab revolutions are uncertain, the Syrian Civil War threatens to engulf the entire region, terrorists are hard at work and China's military strength is growing.

Editor's Note: 'It’s Curtains for the US' — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist.

While Democrats think the United States can save money and prevent tax increases by cutting defense, they are mistaken, Kagan warns. The stable global economy is structured around U.S. power, and that stability has in turn helped create our own prosperity. Turning our backs on the world would prompt instability, and restoring stability needed for a prosperous global economy would be more expensive than maintaining it.

We should remember the 1920s and 1930s when an economic calamity prompted us to turn inward to address domestic problems and ignore the rest of the world, he argues.

“The result was disastrous both at home and abroad,” he writes in The Post.

Our continuing failure to solve the crisis and stabilize the economy is "a serious foreign policy problem," Kagan asserts.

Unable to address our own budget problems, we will be unable to inspire confidence overseas, he warns, noting that our political dysfunction hurts our esteem abroad.

A budget agreement will probably include cuts to defense spending, which has nearly doubled over the last decade to about $500 billion, not including costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.

"If you can't get in there and start getting stuff out of there when you have a defense budget of $740 billion bucks - and the defense budget of every major country on earth, 17 of them, including Russia and China, is $540 billion combined. Who is joshing who," said former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., according to the AP.

"That's madness, madness."

Editor's Note: 'It’s Curtains for the US' — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist.

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