If there is any advantage to the sequester and the discussion it's stimulating, it should be about the overall direction of our Defense Policy. Until we have a meaningful discussion of what the aims of our Defense Policy is, there is no way we can make sensible and reasonable, and, I would argue, necessary cuts in Defense spending.
So long as we're welded to the idea that the United States, as the sole superpower, must be the "world's policemen," we are doomed to waste too much of our precious blood and treasure doing so. And by so doing, we are starving our economy of the necessary investments we should be investing in our infrastructure, our energy grid, the education of our children, and in research & development in a world that is changing at a dizzying rate.
My argument is this: we are better served as a country and a people if we stop making it a national priority to project force outwards and instead concentrate on making our country energy independent; which would the biggest boost to our national security and defense we could possibly make.
Are we better served if we spend $25 billion on wind turbines, thereby reducing our need for imported oil, or if we spend the same $25 billion on state of the art battle tanks that end up being mothballed in a desert?
What is the cost of building a new supercarrier like the USS Ronald Reagan? It runs at least $5 billion, and if you figure in the costs of the associated air wings and other ships in the battle group, you could be looking at $25 billion per battle group.
How many wind turbines and solar panels and high-speed railcars would that buy?
I don't know--I'm neither an economist or a military affairs specialist or an energy scientest, but perhaps it's time to ask some fundamental questions.
What's the purpose of these very expensive battle groups? To project force and to keep our sea lanes open. We must bear the cost of keeping our sea lanes open so long as we have to keep importing oil. If we are discussing the products that a nation like China wants to import into this country, let them bear any costs of their keeping their sea lanes to us open.
As long as we have ten carrier battle groups, we will have the annoying tendency to stick our noses into situations that we might be better off ignoring completely or letting someone other than us, in the affected region, to deal with it.
If not for Mideast oil, do we have a greater national interest in peace in that region than the nations that make up that region? Do you see the European nations or anyone else contributing to a fund that keeps these supercarriers at sea protecting the world's sealanes? If not, why not?
This nation would be best served by spending $25 billion on alternate energy and an improved infrastructure than wasting it on keeping these battle groups at sea or building the lastest, greatest armored tank while we have 3000 Abrams M-1 battle tanks mothballed in the Arizona desert.
Does anyone honestly think we're going to fight Russia on the plains of Europe in some climatic tank battle to end all tank battles? That idea ended with the death of the USSR, so why do we insist on building expensive and unnecessary tanks for a battle that will never be fought? Is that money not better spent on making us energy independent. And if these are green energy sources, we are tackling two very important issues at once. We are lowering our carbon emisions at the same time that we are improving our energy independence. That is a win-win situation to anyone with an ounce of common sense.
These are hard choices to be made. We have the money to do one or the other. These very expensive weapons systems are most likely never going to be used in battle and will end up rusting at a pier or in the desert.
In the meantime, we could have built thousands of wind turbines and solar cells and ended our dependence on foreign oil once and for all.