A $492 Billion Bet

By Ferguson, Niall | Newsweek, November 28, 2011 | Go to article overview

A $492 Billion Bet


Ferguson, Niall, Newsweek


Byline: Niall Ferguson

Congress is poised to slash defense spending. Great idea--as long as China remains our buddy and the Middle East embraces brotherly love.

Fort Leavenworth in Kansas is the perfect place to go to think about the U.S. defense budget. The Combined Arms Center is the brain trust of the Army. All the Army's majors pass through it. Its alums include all the five-star generals of modern times: Arnold, Bradley, Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Marshall. Its former commanders include David Petraeus. To meet its officer-students--nearly all of whom have seen action in Iraq or Afghanistan--is to see what is best about the American military today.

So should we slash the budget that pays these exemplary men and women? Only if you believe the currently fashionable arguments that mankind is getting ever more peaceable, the Middle East is entering a happy new era of democracy and peace, and China does not pose a strategic threat to the U.S.

First, the case for cuts. The U.S. remains a formidable military power. The Department of Defense has total military personnel of 1.4 million, about a fifth of whom are deployed abroad. The U.S. defense budget is larger than those of the next 15 countries combined.

The wars the United States has fought in the last 10 years, in Iraq and Afghanistan, have not come cheap. Since September 2001, lawmakers have provided $1.283 trillion in budget authority for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, a huge financial crisis has blown a hole in the nation's finances that urgently needs to be filled. Even if interest rates stay at their current low levels, the growth of the federal debt means that within less than a decade interest payments are likely to exceed the defense budget.

For all these reasons, many in Congress thirst to slash defense. Already this year it has been cut by approximately $465 billion. The president, too, is in a hurry to wind down American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last month he announced that only 150 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq after the end of the year, down from nearly 50,000 today, ostensibly because of the unwillingness of Iraqi lawmakers to grant U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A $492 Billion Bet
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.