The United States has, by far, the largest military establishment in the world. Our expenditures are roughly equal to the next fourteen world powers combined. China and Russia, together, spend only 30% of what we spend.
That level of expenditure might be justified if our military actually accomplished anything, but it really hasn't been good for much lately. Some may argue that "lately" goes back half a century or so, but let's start by looking a lot more "lately" than that.
Not even factoring in all the lost lives, and the contributions they might have made to our society, Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to add up to $4 trillion — when you add in the costs of caring for the injured and disabled, and the interest on the debt we accrued to fight in those countries. Hell, we're still paying the social and psychological costs of Vietnam — and we lost that one too.
Yes, that's what I said. We lost.
Iraq's Shi'a government — thoroughly corrupt, aggressively purging Sunnis, hostile towards the Kurds, and not even remotely recognizable as democratic — looks like a good bet to become Iran's closest ally. Afghanistan, as any student of history might have predicted, will return to it's natural condition of tribal-warlord-dominated-failed-state-locked-in-perpetual-civil-war. Nobody even can guess what will transpire in Pakistan, but it doesn't look too hopeful for the USofA. Great job, America!
Then there's Syria — not to mention Libya, Egypt, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and an host of other severely challenged not-quite-states — places where even the most ambitious American generals fear to tread. And, no, we can't get away with invading Venezuela or Bolivia or Peru, and our military is useless against provocations by Russia or China (despite our commitments to Japan, Georgia, and the Philippines.) What good is a huge, bloated military if you can't even use it?
(Okay, Clinton managed to get the Balkans back to where they were, more or less, before World War I — but, as you may recall, that "balkanized" region was where World War I started. All Obama does is launch drone attacks, which is kind of like using laser beams against the flies buzzing around those starving babies' eyes.)
Does global capitalism need a powerful army to protect its interests around the world? It seems to think it does — but why in hell should you and I pay for it? Let global capitalism hire Eric Prince and whatever he's calling Blackwater these days — and pay for the protection, extortion, and intimidation without putting it's grasping tentacles in our pockets.
Oh — and, yeah... Happy New Year.