News Release

“Trump’s Empty Promise on War Savings”

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Military Budget proposals of at least $600 billion per year are working their way through Congress this week.

IVAN ELAND, ieland at independent.org, @Ivan_Eland
Eland is senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. His books include Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.

He recently wrote the piece “Trump’s Empty Promise on War Savings,” which states: “President Donald Trump has always had contradictions in his ‘tough guy’ national security policy. For starters, he has proposed a nearly 10 percent increase in defense spending, but also claims that his demands for U.S. allies to spend more on defense are producing results.

“And during his campaign, he alluded to the need to stay out of unneeded wars. If allies pay more and the United States stays out of pointless brushfire wars, the U.S. government could seemingly spend less, not more, on defense. …

“Trump has promised to overhaul a nuclear arsenal that he has called ‘obsolete.’ Barack Obama left him an expensive program — $1 trillion over 30 years — to revamp the nuclear triad of bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of that gargantuan program has already skyrocketed 20 percent to $1.2 trillion. …

“For decades, the Chinese wisely avoided getting swept up in the farcical nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They developed only a minimum long-range nuclear deterrent — enough long-range missiles to inflict enough atomic damage on other countries to deter them from attacking China with nuclear weapons. (This policy might change because the Chinese believe expensive and destabilizing U.S. missile defenses could begin to nullify this minimum deterrent.) China used savings from avoiding a nuclear arms race for economic development at home, which helped it to become a global economic powerhouse.

“The United States needs to do the same to effect a much-needed economic renewal. U.S. ballistic missile submarines are still the quietest in the world and are invulnerable to attack. After scrapping the unneeded bomber and land-based missile legs of the triad, more resources could be funneled into buying a new generation of such submarines. Also, the destabilizing new U.S. cruise missile could be cancelled.”