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Economic collapse causes war

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Economic collapse causes war

Mead 09

[Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, “Only Makes You Stronger,” 2009]

Bad economic times can breed wars. Europe was a pretty peaceful place in 1928, but the Depression poisoned German public opinion and helped bring Adolf Hitler to power. If the current crisis turns into a depression, what rough beasts might start slouching toward Moscow, Karachi, Beijing, or New Delhi to be born? The United States may not, yet, decline, but, if we can't get the world economy back on track, we may still have to fight.

Debt Add-On

Withdrawal now solves national debt

Paul and Frank 10

[ Rep. Barney Frank D-Massachusetts Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Rep Ron Paul R-Texas, “Why we must reduce military spending” 7/6/10,]
By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts. For decades, the subject of military expenditures has been glaringly absent from public debate. Yet the Pentagon budget for 2010 is $693 billion -- more than all other discretionary spending programs combined. Even subtracting the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending still amounts to over 42% of total spending. It is irrefutably clear to us that if we do not make substantial cuts in the projected levels of Pentagon spending, we will do substantial damage to our economy and dramatically reduce our quality of life. We are not talking about cutting the money needed to supply American troops in the field. Once we send our men and women into battle, even in cases where we may have opposed going to war, we have an obligation to make sure that our service members have everything they need. And we are not talking about cutting essential funds for combating terrorism; we must do everything possible to prevent any recurrence of the mass murder of Americans that took place on September 11, 2001. Immediately after World War II, with much of the world devastated and the Soviet Union becoming increasingly aggressive, America took on the responsibility of protecting virtually every country that asked for it. Sixty-five years later, we continue to play that role long after there is any justification for it, and currently American military spending makes up approximately 44% of all such expenditures worldwide. The nations of Western Europe now collectively have greater resources at their command than we do, yet they continue to depend overwhelmingly on American taxpayers to provide for their defense. According to a recent article in the New York Times, "Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism. Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella." When our democratic allies are menaced by larger, hostile powers, there is a strong argument to be made for supporting them. But the notion that American taxpayers get some benefit from extending our military might worldwide is deeply flawed. And the idea that as a superpower it is our duty to maintain stability by intervening in civil disorders virtually anywhere in the world often generates anger directed at us and may in the end do more harm than good. We believe that the time has come for a much quicker withdrawal from Iraq than the President has proposed. We both voted against that war, but even for those who voted for it, there can be no justification for spending over $700 billion dollars of American taxpayers' money on direct military spending in Iraq since the war began, not including the massive, estimated long-term costs of the war. We have essentially taken on a referee role in a civil war, even mediating electoral disputes.

Debt Kills Heg

Seib 10

[Gerald F. Seib, assistant managing editor and the executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, “US status, security weakened by deficit” 2/3/10, lexis]
THE US federal budget deficit has graduated from pressing national concern into a fully fledged national security threat, as the US government this year will borrow one of every three dollars it spends, with many of those funds coming from China. The budget plan released yesterday by the White House shows a $US1.6 trillion ($1.8 trillion) deficit this year, $US1.3 trillion next year, $US8.5 trillion for the next 10 years combined -- assuming congress enacts US President Barack Obama's proposals to start bringing it down, and that the proposals work. The numbers are seen as an economic and domestic problem but they have ramifications for the US's ability to continue playing its traditional global role. Experts warn the US government's heavy borrowing from foreign countries will weaken the US's standing and its freedom to act, while it strengthens China and other world powers including cash-rich oil producers. It puts long-term defence spending at risk and undermines the US system as a model for developing countries -- it reduces the aura of power that has been a great intangible asset for presidents for more than a century. ``We've reached a point now where there's an intimate link between our solvency and our national security,'' said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior national security adviser in both the first and second Bush presidencies. ``What's so discouraging is that our domestic politics don't seem to be up to the challenge. And the whole world is watching.'' The classic, narrow definition of national security threats already has expanded in ways that make traditional foreign policy thinking antiquated, with the list of US security concerns now including dependence on foreign oil and global warming, for example. But the budget deficits also threaten Americans' national security as they make the US vulnerable to foreign pressures. The US has about $US7.5 trillion in accumulated debt held by the public, about half of that in the hands of investors abroad. Each American next year will chip in more than $US800 just to pay interest on this debt and the situation means the US government is dependent on the largesse of foreign creditors and subject to the whims of international financial markets. A foreign government, through the actions of its central bank, could put pressure on the US in a way its military never could. Even under a more benign scenario, a debt-ridden US is vulnerable to a run on the US dollar that begins abroad. Either way, Mr Haass says, ``it reduces our independence''. Chinese power is growing as a result. A lot of the deficit is being financed by China, which is selling the US many billions of dollars of manufactured goods, then lending the accumulated dollars back to the US. The IOUs are stacking up in Beijing. So far this has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, but it is slowly increasing Chinese leverage over American consumers and the US government. At some point, the US may have to bend its policies before either an implicit or explicit Chinese threat to stop the merry-go-round. Just last weekend, for example, the US angered China by agreeing to sell Taiwan $US6.4 billion in arms. At some point, will the US face economic servitude to China that would make such a policy decision impossible? This year, thanks in some measure to continuing high costs from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US will spend a once-unthinkable $US688bn on defence. Staggering as the defence outlays are, the deficit is twice as large. The much smaller budgets for the the US's other international operations -- diplomacy, assistance for friendly nations -- are dwarfed even more dramatically by the deficit. These national security budgets have been largely sacrosanct in the era of terrorism. But unless the deficit arc changes, at some point they will come under pressure for cuts. The US model is being undermined before the rest of the world. This is the great intangible impact of yawning budget deficits. The image of an invincible US had two large effects over the last century or so. First, it made other countries listen when Washington talked. And second, it often made other peoples and leaders yearn to be like the US. Sometimes that produced jealousy and resentment among leaders, but often it drew to the top of foreign lands leaders who admired the US and wanted their countries to emulate it. Such leaders are good allies. The Obama administration has pledged to create a bipartisan commission charged with balancing the budget, except for interest payments, by 2015. The damage deficits can do to the US's world standing is a good reason to hope the commission works.

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