Military Welfare

January 8, 2008

Here’s another gem from Mark Steyn’s book America Alone:

The United States has the most powerful armed forces on the planet.  The fact that Washington’s responsible for 40 percent of the planet’s military spending pales in comparison to the really critical statistic: it’s responsible for almost 80 percent of military research-and-development spending, which means the capability gap between it and everyone else widens every day.

As for America’s “friends,” there’s another paradox of the non-imperial hyperpower: the United States garrisons…its wealthiest allies, thereby freeing them to spend their tax revenues on luxuriant welfare programs rather than on tanks and aircraft carriers…  Like any other welfare, defense welfare is a hard habit to break and damaging to the recipient.  The peculiarly obnoxious character of modern Europe is a logical consequence of America’s willingness to absolve it of responsibility for its own security.

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