Excessive Military Preparedness.
As nations mature into international relevance, the pressure to consider defense and military strategy in foreign policy grows. These modern tensions have made contemporary countries orient themselves to be more militaristic, embracing international affairs and dedicating themselves to armed preparedness with varying degrees of fervor. While most industrialized nations have acknowledged the necessity of a robust military, all but one restrict their buildup to a reasonable level.
America consistently outranks its international rivals in terms of defense budgets, the purest example of exorbitant militarism in existence. China takes second place, but its military spending needs to be added to the next six countries on the list to match Uncle Sam. Supporting investment in the military is bipartisan in America, almost all politicians have some constituents relying on the military industrial complex. Militaristic investment has become the primary way the government interferes with economic downfalls, contracting equipment manufacturers or weapons research and development.
Presidents from both parties since World War Two have actively participated in countless military interventions spanning the entire globe. Today, over seven hundred bases have been established quite literally everywhere, costing American taxpayers billions just for routine maintenance. Nevertheless, the public remains convinced that these foreign interventions are in the name of defense and the spread of democracy, not aggression and imperialism. No wonder Bush invoked divine blessings while intruding upon the dynamics of the Middle East, it easily cultivated popular success while everyone ignored his Vice President’s new defense contract and the fact that most of the interventions would occur in areas of evident economic (oil) interest. Despite many questionable historic military actions such as the overthrow of democratically elected governments that interfered with our business interests in South America, senseless genocide against native Asian populations because of an ideological dispute with the Soviet Union, or the pestering of the Middle East with ceaseless lethal drone attacks, American citizens still maintain that we act morally to uphold peace and democracy.
America remains in a state of perpetual war. National policy has holistically embraced a Hobbesian worldview — one where life is solitary and trying, a justification for our excessive individualistic approach to defense. In the end, we can only rely on ourselves. This interpretation of militarism contrasts starkly with the way European countries have evolved since world war two. Devastated by the environmental carnage sustained throughout the international conflict, Europe, acting communally as an entire continent, dedicated itself to perpetual peace. While the amounts European nations set aside for military spending are dwarfed by American, Chinese, and Russian defense budgets, the types of investments they make drastically stand out. Instead of pursuing technological advancement and developing better ways to kill other people, the European Union has focused on cooperating with the abilities of other nations to implement humanitarian interventions. Beside spending less overall, Europe proportionally allots noticeably fewer funds for defense than other nations. Since Truman, American military spending comprised over half of all proposed federal budgets, matching other heavily militarized nations such as Russia in consistently using around four percent of its gross domestic product to maintain a stylish rate of militarization. European countries only put forward half of that, focusing their government spending on social welfare and foreign aid, hopeful in their fellow man instead of virulently poised to defend themselves against him.
Where America would destabilize a region through bombing or CIA operatives, the EU sends financial assistance in the hopes of fostering a healthy future relationship. This perfectly exemplifies a plethora of cultural differences between the US and the EU. Americans firmly hold onto a Hobbesian worldview. They practice cowboy diplomacy, where it’s them solo against the world. Even in the alliances America has formed, NATO, for example, they greatly outspend all the other nations. This mentality stems from the origins of the nation, just like the cooperative attitudes and commitments to peace widespread among Europeans come from the painful memories left behind by World War Two. Born on the frontier and nursed to adulthood with politicians consistently reiterating a divine mission to spread democracy, Manifest Destiny, Americans have predictably become obsessed with and complicit in an extensive militarism, even one that at times intrudes on civil liberties and undermines the sanctity of democracy at home.
P.S. This was the final paper for my favorite class this semester (only three 750 essays and 4 units, learned the most from it). Will edit after getting feedback from graders. Mostly pulled from Rifkin’s European Dream.