Washington Babylon — February 9, 2009, 7:42 am

Will Defense Get Cut?

From Stephen Walt:

Obama’s plan to cut the Department of Defense’s budget request by roughly ten percent is a step in the direction of a more sensible foreign and defense policy. But as one would expect, the proposal has some neoconservatives up in arms, insisting Robert Gates be given the full budget he requested and predicting the worst if he doesn’t get it…

Strategy is about relating means and ends. From that perspective, it doesn’t make sense to spend as much as we did when the economy seemed to be healthy. Nor does it make sense to pursue the overly ambitious and misguided foreign policy that we tried (unsuccessfully) to pursue under President Bush. Given the results of those policies and our current financial plight, this stubborn defense of the budgetary status quo has a head-in-the-sand quality that would be laughable if the issues weren’t so important.

A prominent example is Robert Kagan’s recent warning against any attempt to cut the U.S. defense budget. He opposes any trimming even though the United States spends almost as much on defense as the rest of the world put together and even though the U.S. economy is facing its biggest crisis since the Great Depression.

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