Economic power is more important than and key to hard power – diminishing returns, perception, and long-term defense spending – it’s not reverse causal
Drezner, 13 – Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (Daniel, “Military Primacy Doesn’t Pay (Nearly As Much As You Think),” International Security, Volume 38, Number 1, Summer 2013, pp. 52-79, MIT Press)//eek
For the past generation, U.S. military hegemony has been a concrete fact in world politics. The anticipated austerity of the defense budget has prompted concerns among some analysts that the costs of any reduction in defense spending outweigh the benefits to the U.S. economy. This article has assessed the merits and demerits of military hegemony for a superpower’s economy. Reasons have been put forward to describe how U.S. military supremacy rep- resents a net economic gain: the inculcation of geoeconomic and geopolitical favoritism, and the generation of greater benefits from global public goods un- der the shadow of military primacy. The empirical record suggests that many of the hypothesized benefits have been overstated. The private sector responds positively to a country’s military capability, but only up to a point; military primacy is hardly a prerequisite for attracting trade and investment. Geopolitical favoritism does occur, but only during periods of bipolarity. Economic exchange is actually less correlated with security ties under conditions of unipolarity. Finally, military primacy does appear to be an important adjunct to the creation of an open global econ- omy and the reduction of militarized disputes and security rivalries, but military supremacy is only one component of unipolarity. A decline in the hegemon’s economic power undercuts many of unipolarity’s posited benefits. Both the public goods and geopolitical favoritism arguments have some valid- ity, but both rely on the hegemon’s economic might as much as its military might for the causal pathways to function. To be clear, nothing here should suggest that military predominance does not confer signiacant political and diplomatic benefits on the hegemon. Mili- tary preeminence can translate into a force multiplier for other forms of statecraft, including the use of economic sanctions. As Barry Posen notes, com- mand of the global commons “allows the United States to exploit more fully other sources of power, including its own economic and military might as well as the economic and military might of its allies.”119 It also seems clear that full- spectrum unipolarity does yield signiacant benefits. Still, the argument that military preeminence alone produces signiacant economic gain appears to be exaggerated. The results presented in this article are preliminary—greater and deeper dives into the data must be made. Nevertheless, if these results hold, there are signiacant implications for both international relations theory and U.S. foreign policy. For theorists, these andings have implications for the role that military power plays in world politics. Over the past forty years, there has been a running debate in international relations scholarship regarding the relative fungibility of power. Some realists have argued that force is a fungible tool of statecraft; critics argue that power resources are harder to deploy across issue areas.120 The arguments presented here suggest that the fungibility of military power is more circumscribed than advocates of military primacy contend. Military power is essential in a wide variety of cases, but the argument that an overseas military presence pays for itself, or heavily defrays the costs of deep engagement, does not hold up. Only full-spectrum primacy yields the hypoth- esized benefits that allegedly flow from military hegemony. There are also clear implications for U.S. foreign policy and ascal policy. The lesson from this analysis for U.S. grand strategy is that an overreliance on mili- tary preponderance is badly misguided. Again, it is not that military power is useless; it is that the law of diminishing marginal returns has kicked in. The United States would proat more from investing in nonmilitary power re- sources than in military assets. An excessive reliance on military might, to the exclusion of other dimensions of power, will yield negative returns. With- out a revived economy and the associated global recognition of a renaissance in American economic power, the United States runs the risk of strategic insolvency.121 The United States needs to focus primarily on policies that will rejuvenate economic growth, accelerate job creation, and promote greater in- novation and productivity. If the U.S. economy is perceived to be rebounding, then the biggest economic benefits that have been hypothesized to flow from military predominance will be preserved. Furthermore, over the long run, eco- nomic growth is the strongest driver for growth in defense spending.122 Short- term cuts can lead to long-term growth in defense spending. As policymakers weigh the choice between maintaining a large military and taking steps to- ward economic revival, the results in this article point strongly toward deeper cuts in defense expenditures.