Part One Of A Book Report
I have read about half of Donald Trump’s book, Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again. Thus far, I have gotten through Chapter 5, which is about our failing education system. However, this post is mostly about Chapter 4, “Foreign Policy: Fighting for Peace.”
I did not especially like what I saw in Chapter 4. What concerns me is Trump’s determination to get the “best deal.”
There is another way to pay to modernize our military forces. If other countries are depending upon us to protect them, shouldn’t they be willing to make sure we have the capability to do it? Shouldn’t they be willing to pay for the servicemen and servicewomen and the equipment we’re providing?
Depending upon the price of oil, Saudi Arabia earns somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars every day. They wouldn’t exist, let alone have that wealth, without our protection. We get nothing from them. Nothing.
It’s time to change all that. It’s time to win again.
We’ve got 28,500 wonderful American soldiers on South Korea’s border with North Korea. They’re in harm’s way every single day. They’re the only thing that is protecting South Korea. And what do we get from South Korea for it? They sell us products — at a nice profit. They compete with us.
What Trump is suggesting is that if we are going to be the world’s policeman, the world ought to pay us. That’s a very bad idea. Do we really want our soldiers to be mercenaries?
Because they are just human beings like us, our allies will never be perfect. Therefore, when we station troops in another country or come to the defense of another nation, we must set aside our prejudices. We must objectively consider what is in our own nation’s best interests. Did Donald Trump? No.
An Aside On Immigration Policy
What is it that blinds Trump? Is he blind? I don’t know. I just see a pattern developing, and it is about silly things. Before we continue, let’s briefly consider another example, from Chapter 3, “Immigration: Good Walls Make Good Neighbors.” Trump wants Mexico to pay for the wall. Why would we want Mexicans to pay for the wall? To screw them? Because their leaders have encouraged their poor and their troublemakers to go north? That’s laughable!
Our problem is that our politicians won’t enforce our immigration laws. That is our fault, not Mexico’s, but Trump does not want to pay the bill. He refuses to admit we are at fault. So in addition to passing the bill for the wall to Mexico, he wants to pass the blame. Yet it is our own corrupt politicians — American politicians — who control who crosses into the United States and who stays here, not corrupt Mexican politicians.
Working With Our Allies
Trump did not even bother to consider the contributions our allies already make. He just looked at the bill and suggested someone else ought to pay.
- South Korea has a strong military force (see North Korea v South Korea: How the countries’ armed forces compare). Our presence in South Korea, while not insignificant, represents our commitment to South Korea’s defense; it is not South Korea’s defense. South Korea spends 2.7 percent of its GDP on its military. South Korea’s own armed forces provides the bulk of its defenses.
- Saudi Arabia spends over 10 percent of its GDP on defense. Even though it is a desert land with a small population, Saudi Arabia has a credible military force (Saudi Arabia: The Gulf’s Best-Equipped Military).
The Unintended Consequences
As far as I can tell, Ted Cruz has not proposed a scheme to get other nations to help pay for our military forces (see American Resolve: Rebuilding America’s Military). Why not? I can only guess, but consider what would happen if other nations actually were to give us money for the use of our soldiers, regular payments for services rendered. Consider how too many of our politicians look upon money. Are they not always ravenous for more to spend?
Currently, Congress looks upon military spending as a grim necessity. From the
perspective of corrupt politicians, military spending doesn’t have much bang for the buck. That is, there are much more efficient ways to buy votes However, if other nations suddenly realize they can pay for the use of the world’s finest…..
When so many of our leaders already believe they exist just to spend other people’s money and as much money as they can spend, do we really want to let them use our nation’s armed forces as an excuse to solicit funds from other nations?
The Grim Necessity Of War
The United States Armed Forces exist to protect the vital interests of the United States. That is, military service is supposed to be about duty, honor, and country. Hence when we station our military forces in another nation, we should be doing so only for these three reasons:
- Duty. We have may a valid commitment. We have a moral or legal obligation that requires our forces to be in that nation.
- Honor. In addition to treaty obligations, there are crimes and atrocities we cannot honorably ignore. When we have the capacity to stop a mass murder, we should seriously consider doing so.
- Country. Few Americans long to be stationed for years, especially to fight, in faraway lands. Yet our soldiers volunteer to do so. They know it is far better to fight in a faraway land than it is to watch their own people suffer in their own country.
So what is the true cost of our armed forces? Is it money? No. We must always keep at the forefront of our minds what our nation’s soldiers have signed up to do, risk life and limb for us. Therefore, when we deploy our armed forces, we should always remember it is not about money. It is about duty. It is about honor. It is about country. It is about our friends and neighbors going into harm’s way for our sakes.