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US Arms Budget, Gone Through The Roof? – OpEd

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By Arash Zahedi

The US is the worlds’ biggest military spender. With over 700 military bases in 130 countries, the military spending by the US government is almost as much as that of the rest of the world put together.

The country had a budget of USD 698 billion in 2010, spending more on weapons than the next seventeen nations on the biggest military spenders list combined, online sources report.

Although it seemed the US would roll back its military expenditure at the end of the Cold War, what happened in reality was of a different nature. America prevented the NATO disintegration and instead has helped to expand it ever since. It has also vividly indicated its domineering policies, aiming to become the police of the world. A fact justified by the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which, as well, guarantees America’s hegemony of the Middle East’s energy sources.

But perhaps to better understand the state of the US’s today military spending and where it is heading, one needs to look at where it comes from.

The US emerged as a new colonialist power after World War II. It was not surprising since it had the chance of fighting far from home, a luxury not shared by the European parties whose lands were devastated as a result of the war.

It then entered a Cold War with the former Soviet Union during which both sides made thousands of nuclear warheads. Experts said the warheads could destroy the whole world a number of times!

US Private sector military companies enjoyed a great deal of development and influence during the Cold War era. They have a great lobbying power even today among the Democrats and especially the Republicans. It would be impossible for any one politician in America to become the US president today without the help, consent and support of these lobbies that work closely with the Zionist lobby.

As a matter of fact America’s today “Occupy” protests are against these lobbies that constitute the 1% wealthy against the remaining 99% of the population.

These lobbies are paid directly from the US taxpayers’ pocket as the government has to sign unimaginably large contracts with them to secure their benefit both internally and in the international markets and that is how America becomes the largest military spender in the world.

But how does that compare to the spending elsewhere?

Israel, for instance, has a very large military spending though much smaller in size than the US. It was around 16 billion dollars according to Rickety.US, which gives it the 18th position in the standings in 2010. This is in addition to America’s all-out support for Israel and providing it with endless military assistance. In 1986, former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction, revealed details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British press. He said Israel possesses around 300 nuclear warheads in its Negev desert south of Dimona. It is Ironic why then the West accuses Iran of seeking military domination in the Middle East?!

And let’s bear in mind that Iran is located in a very strategic part of the world that experts call the “heartland.” It faces too many security challenges and even has a history of an imposed 8 year war with Iraq.

The 2nd largest spender is China. It had a military budget of more than USD 100 billion in 2010, Rickety.US says. However, it should be noted that with a population of more than a billion, China is the most populous state in the world and providing security for this huge population in part explains the country’s rather large military spending.

Further contributing to this comparison is Russia’s military spending figure for 2010. America’s former Cold War era rival spends around 1 thirteenth of the US’s military budget these days!

Some experts are skeptic about the US figures however; arguing they are in fact much too higher. They say officials have made these figures public only to whitewash the real larger than life numbers.

Now the question that remains to be answered is if these numbers, can guarantee the US will be able to maintain its world police role if not image? But before answering that, let’s review the following facts as revealed in an article by endofamericandream.com. Some of them may change the way many, even Americans, see the answer.

Today the US military has over 700 bases (some say it is actually over 1000 bases) in 130 different countries around the globe. It is estimated that it costs about USD 100 billion a year to maintain these bases. Washington’s military spending is greater than that of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined. The Pentagon currently gobbles up 56 percent of all discretionary spending by the federal government. Together, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost more than USD 150 billion a year. Up to this point, it is estimated that the US government has spent over USD 373 billion on the war in Afghanistan and over 745 billion dollars on the war in Iraq. Since 2001, the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan breaks down to USD 3,644 for every man, woman and child in the United States. The total price tag for each F-22 fighter jet is approximately USD 350 million.

There is no way the US is going to be able to continue to police the world. The truth is that the US government has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from China, Russia and other strategic enemies in recent years – thus putting its national security at risk.

The US national debt is 13 times larger than it was just 30 years ago. Some American economists say “we have now reached a point where an economic collapse seems virtually inevitable. In fact, unless our military spending becomes far more efficient and far more focused on the real threats we may not be able to protect our own nation if need be.”

Press TV

Press TV is a 24-hour English language global news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran. Press TV carries news analysis, documentary talk shows and sports news worldwide with special focus on West Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

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