By Hussein Atawi:
The strength of any country, politically or militarily, is usually measured by its economy. Through history, the rise of major Empires which grew to dominance and control was mainly due to their respective economic strength. Equally so, was the gradual weakness and eventual downfall of these Empires. It wasmainly due to the decline in their corresponding economic strength, which negatively affected their military might and political influence. This was the case with the British Empire, which shrank and receded with the decline of its financial capabilities. The same thing applies to the French Empire, the Ottoman Empire and before them the Roman Empire, etc…
Today, more and more facts and data are emerging in front of our eyes showing that the US Empire is walking the same line and would most probably meet the same fate. Its economic might is declining. This would prompt a similar decline in its military power, because it would not be able to meet the huge spending costs it needs to fund its troops, as it used to do. This also means that the US would increasingly find it more and more difficult to secure necessary funds to wage costly wars. This explains why the US foreign policy is so confused and inconsistent. The US constantly changes its stances towards so many hot-spots around the world from the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea, to several Latin American countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and others, to the Ukraine in Europe and finally in Syria and Iraq.
The most significant of these facts and data are those mentioned by the US Foreign Policy Magazine, which is known for having accurate information derived from reliable sources. The Foreign Policy Magazine explicitly noted that the US Defense budget has become the most major concern for policy-makers in Washington. They do not hide their concern over the worrying indicators resulting from the Defense budget cuts. According to them, the defense budget has got too small to meet the United States global commitments, entailing thereby the following consequences:
First, this has negatively affected the US Army’s readiness to fight. Back in June, the US Secretary of Defense James Mattistold the House Armed Services Committee that having returned to the military after four years of retirement, he was shocked by the poor state of readiness to fight. To explain why Mattis was so shocked, the Foreign Policy recalled what Defense analyst Dan Goure has written earlier. According to Goure, “ the Army has only three brigade combat teams out of more than 50 fully manned, equipped and trained for major conflict. Due to the lack of spare parts, and insufficient maintenance dollars, only half of Navy and Marine Corps front line fighters are currently available for combat.”
Second, in its 2018 Index of US Military strength, the Heritage Foundation rated the US Military posture as ‘marginal’ and as trending toward ‘weak’. Heritage analysts rated the Army and Marine Corps as ‘weak’ and the Navy and Air Force as ‘marginal.’
Third, the Foreign Policy view those trends as alarming, especially when ‘we see America’s rivals – including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea rapidly building up their arsenals.’
These are dangerous developments that threatento unravel the post 1945 Pax Americana (established in the post-WWII era) and leave the United States and its allies vulnerable to aggression, the Foreign Policy said, considering it as the key problem.
These ‘alarming’ indicators about the US Military budget cuts, which cause sucha deep anxiety in the Pentagon are not some casual administrative decisions willfullytaken by policy-makers who “suddenly” opted to re-think the US policies. These measures are a mandatory policy the Former Administration of President Barak Obama was forced to take and current President Trump has no choice but to keep it in place. This is due to the decline in US financial capabilities. The burden of debts is surging to some 20 trillion dollars and counting and the Federal budget suffers from a deficit estimated at over 650 billion dollars. Consequently, the US, which finds itself moaning under the heavy burden of accumulated debts and exhausting interests, has little, if any, choice but to keep borrowing to make up for the budget deficit. It has to take some austerity measures, to cut spending, to reduce the military budget and to abandon costly wars.
Obviously, the huge debts, the deficit and the consequent cuts in military spending are symptoms of a chronic ailment in the US economy, which experienced a full burst out in 2008. This crisis can be attributed to so many different factors, primarily the slackness in growth rate due to the fierce competition on global markets, which ended the hegemony of the US and the West in general over the global economy and shifted the economic center of gravity from the West to the East.
Translated from Arabic into English by Syrianfacts