The Instigator
nivac817
Con (against)
The Contender
Moelogy
Pro (for)

The American Defense budget is excessive

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
Moelogy has forfeited round #3.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
00days00hours00minutes00seconds
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/15/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 517 times Debate No: 103205
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

nivac817

Con

I have already posted this debate a few weeks ago, but i wanted to do it again. I would ask that the person i debated last time please not accept out of respect, simply because i think it'd be more fun to debate someone new.

Hello, I am a Sailor in the USN, and a proud patriot of the United States. One of the most common debates about the American government is our very large defense budget, of hundreds of billions of dollars, which is larger than the next several countries combined. While often criticized for being excessive i hope to prove that it is necessary to safeguard our interest.

First Round- acceptance (no arguments here)
Second Round- Opening statements, and arguments
Third Round -Rebuttals
Fourth Round- Additional arguments
Fifth Round- Rebuttals to the fourth round and closing statements.

I would appreciate if you stick with this format. Please no Ad hominem attacks.

Also, one more thing. Since i have started on this website about half of my debates have ended with my opponent forfeiting, and never posting an argument on their turn. Because of this I have set it where you must have completed at least one debate to accept this. If you accept my debate, i would ask that you have the intention of finishing it. There are no other restrictions.

Thank you, and i look forward to the debate.
Moelogy

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
nivac817

Con

Thank you for accepting.

Before we start this debate, i want to begin by introducing some tough questions.
-What is unique about the American Military, compared to other countries?
-Why is our budget so large, and where does this money go?
-And most importantly, do we benefit from this budget more than we are hurt by it?

I hope to prove my argument, by answering these questions, and others like it.

One thing I've always found interesting, when i researched any data on the US military is how unique the American Navy and Air force are compared to other countries. For instance if we compare the US, China, and Russia's capabilities, to each other we get some interesting numbers.

Fighter jets by country [1]
Russia-806
China-1,271
USA- 2,296

The US has more than both countries combined. We see similar numbers with nearly every aspect of Naval/Air warfare

Destroyers by country [1]
Russia- 15
China- 35
USA- 63

Aircraft Carriers by country [1]
Russia-1
China-1
USA- 19

However something interesting happens when you look at land systems...

Tanks by country [1]
USA-5,884
China-6,457
Russia- 20,216

Russia has almost 4 times as many as America.

Self propelled artillery by country [1]-
China-1,710
USA-1,934
Russia- 5,972

I would like to encourage you to look at my source [1]. In this source i think it is clear the United States prefers to have very specific capabilities, when it comes to the military. The United States dominates our adversaries in nearly every category of Naval, and Air warfare. There are only a few areas where are adversaries beat us, and that is mostly in frigates, mine warfare, coastal patrol craft, and corvettes. However it should be noted that all of these ships are designed specifically to operate near coastlines, and the United States has intentionally chosen to invest very little in these types of ships. Regardless it is clear that a large bulk of American defense spending goes to these branches.

The reason you see these differences is simple. The United States hopes to have something called "Command of the Commons". This is effectively when one country has substantial control, and influence over the worlds trade and economic areas. This also explains why the United States has such a large international presence. While this is also very controversial, it is well known the United States has a substantial number of overseas bases. [2] [3]

What's interesting to think about though, is that there are only two types of countries that have any significant number of American Soldiers.

1.) Bases in Countries we frequently trade with, such as Germany Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom various Eastern European Countries, etc.
2.) Countries near "Naval Choke points" such as Turkey, Bahrain, Italy Spain, Japan, South Korea, etc.

When you think about it .... the United States doesn't have a substantial military presence in poor countries. (Other than Iraq/Afghanistan for obvious reasons.) We do have some soldiers in various African and South American countries, but this presence is very small. This is because we want to protect our trade partners. After all if our trade partners are attacked... would that not hurt us? Economically speaking in our increasingly globalized world, we need to protect our trade partners.

Now you may be wondering why do we have bases in areas with Naval choke points? The answer to this is also tied in with trade. 90% of the worlds trade is done by ship. Cargo Ships are easily the cheapest form of transportation available offering many cheap goods. However, Naval choke points often have very high levels of ship traffic. By controlling these areas, we can better defend our economic interest on a global scale, and in times of war, hamper our enemies trade. [4]

This is precisely the reason the United States invests so heavily in our Naval, and Air Force. (Especially our Navy). So we posses the ability to strike, and defend our economic areas anywhere in the world. Anywhere that posses a large quantity of trade, you can be sure the United States has a presence there. (Obviously China/Russia are the exception to the rule, as they are our adversaries)

During the Iran-Iraq war only a few decades ago, numerous merchant ships from various countries were attacked and sunk by both sides. This had such an effect on the American economy, that US warships were sent to the Persian gulf to escort Allied merchant ships. This was known as "The Tanker War". By the end of the conflict hundreds of ships were sunk including two American ships. [5]

Another good example could be the German U-Boats which threatened to cripple the UK, simply due to their attack on Britain's cargo ships.

You see countries like Russia, and China do not have these global capabilities. They simply can't afford them. China's GDP is half the size of America's and Russia has a GDP smaller than California. This puts them at a significant disadvantage. If such a conflict such as the Tanker War were to happen again, they would struggle to do anything about it. Especially if it was far away from their own country, or against a powerful Navy such as the US.

Now i know you may be thinking that i spent too much time talking about where our military is, or why we do what we do, and not enough about money itself. But that's also my point. Our military logistics capabilities far exceed that of any other country, allowing us to protect our economic interest on a global scale. But we also have to be able to pay the bill. Because defending the United States doesn't always mean protecting our soil. It also means protecting our assets . It means protecting our economy.

The United States and our Allies have collectively put ourselves in a very powerful position. A position to safeguard our economic interests for many many years. It is expensive... yes. But honestly ask... can we afford NOT too?

[1]
http://www.globalfirepower.com...
[2]
http://edition.cnn.com...
[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]
https://business.un.org...
[5]
https://www.usni.org...
Moelogy

Pro

I whole-heartedly believe that the american defense budget is out of line and needs a severe cutback.

Contention 1: Imbalance of priorities in the american budget

Perhaps the biggest problem with the american budget is that it creates an unjustifiable imbalance of priorities. A Quick scan of the 2017 American budget (http://federal-budget.insidegov.com...) will demonstrate my point.
The defense portion of the budget will receive a considerable total of 543 billion dollars. To put that into a greater context, Education, employment and training services COMBINED are only receiving 94 billion. Do you not think it is more worthy to provide quality education and employ the 1.6 million Americans out of work (https://data.bls.gov...).

Veterans are only receiving 159 billions and that is still not enough because we see unemployed and homeless veterans like this (https://media.licdn.com...) all the time (http://www.newsmax.com...). The Hundreds of billions of dollars used to recruit soldiers should be used to care about the returning soldiers who deserve our honor and respect and not living in the streets.

Transportation services receive the tiny sliver out of the budget of 88 billion, a mere less than a fifth of the defense budget . Do you not think it would be a better investment to fix and renovate the rat-infested and filthy underground subway systems of major american cities like this (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...) (http://cdn.newsday.com...) (http://nycsubway.org.s3.amazonaws.com...) instead of going to bomb another city or kill another child in syria or Iraq?

Other programs like housing and police services and firefighting services receive 63 billion dollars COMBINED. This is TEN TIMES smaller than the national defense budget. Do you not think it would be a better investment to fix the almost third-world like cities in america (http://www.wnd.com...) than to go and attack third world countries in the middle east? Is it not ironic that the US claims to improve the middle east and lift it out of its third-world country status but in the process of doing so has neglected its own cities that ended up being third world like (Chicago, detroit, etc.) Do you not think that keeping peace in your own country is more worthy thvn keeping peace in other country? Why send soldiers to keep peace in other countries when cities in your own country has cities with a 2,000 / 100,000 murder rate (https://www.forbes.com...)? Do you not think it is a better investment to bring police forces to those war-torn cities than to send troops to other war-torn countries? Just look at the condition of some of your country's cities (http://media.gettyimages.com...) ( https://lebbeuswoods.files.wordpress.com...) (http://craigswilson.com...) (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...)

Your country should be spending its money on better stuff than war. Your country should fix itself before it goes to fix others.

Contention 2: Budget Deficits + Cost of interest

Your country can not afford to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in national defense due to the simple fact that the US is currently in 17 trillion dollars of debt. The estimated deficit for this budget is 443 billion dollars (http://federal-budget.insidegov.com...). Do you really think it is reasonable to place your country in more debt than 17 trillion dollars and to increase this number by 443 billion dollars each year just because you would like to maintain the largest army in the world that is not used for anything now other than bomb children in Syria?

The truth is my friend your country is spending 267 billion every year to pay interest on current loans and it has not even dug into the principal yet meaning that your government will be burning 267 billion every year because of its debt. Do you really want to increase the amount of money burned on interest?

If the US cut its military budget in half and paid this towards your country's principal, it could pay all its debt in 60 years. Think about that if you cut the country's military budget in half, you can get rid of all the 17 trillion dollars in debt america has and save yourself 200 billion dollars PER YEAR to spend on important things like science, education or nasa.

The bottom line is your country is paying 543 billion dollars to defense every year but your country's debt is 17 trillion dollars (which means your country can not afford it) and if you keep spending that much money on the military, you will keep increasing the debt because of a 443 billion dollar annual deficit. Keeping the military budget as it is right now will result in your country burning more than 300 billion dollars in interest every year. If this trend continues, you will reach a point where your government will be burning as much money in interest as it pays for its national defense.

Your country's government is like the average american who is running a deficit (443 billion dollars every year) and has massive amounts of debt (17 trillion dollars) but irresponsibly wants to buy a new speedo-boat every year ( 543 billion dollars a year).

Contention 3: Not needed (Nato)

The cornerstone of my case is the fact that your country does not even need to spend that much on its military because Pax-Americana is over. Pax-Americana was a period of relative military tensions after WW2 because no country was thinking it would be safe of invasion from a foreigner (especially after the Nazis took over most of Europe during WW2). There was no "global police" during that time back then so the americans gratefully took on itself this role of maintaining world peace (relatively). The thing is with the rise of military alliances in the west like nato, the americans do not need to spend that much money on maintaining a large military anymore. Now the US does not have to serve the role of the global police since the nato fills that role.

Nowadays, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Germany, etc. (and the US) all act as the world police and maintain world peace with the signing of Nato. The US is no longer needed to be the world police or to maintain world peace because Nato can do so much better and much much more efficiently. The US no longer needs a gigantic military and a huge Defense budget because as of now the Nato oversees world peace. In fact the US does not need a huge military to protect itself either because under nato (which the US is part of) "an attack on one is an attack on all", so in case the US gets attacked, Nato can pretty much go in and push out all the invading or attacking forces.

Please be noted that I do not support that the US army should be dissolved or that the defense budget should be down to 0. I support the idea that the defense budget should be drastically cutback as well as the size of the military of america.
Debate Round No. 2
nivac817

Con

Thank you for your post. If you don't mind though, i notice you keep saying "your country". If you don't mind me asking, what Country are you from? I understand if you don't wish to answer, however, I'm simply curious, and I feel it may add to the debate in later rounds.

For my third round i will provide Counter Arguments to the three main contentions you made in round 2.

Contention 1: Imbalance of priorities in the American budget

You argue here that the American budget is too heavily invested in the Military, when that money could be spent elsewhere. While it seems like a good argument, I personally feel this is a logical fallacy.

You state, and i quote "The defense portion of the budget will receive a considerable total of 543 billion dollars. To put that into a greater context, Education, employment and training services COMBINED are only receiving 94 billion.". Throughout most of your first contention, you continue to compare the budget of various organizations, to the military, all of which were significantly smaller than the militaries budget. This is true. I will not deny that. But you do not address the simple question, how much do we NEED to spend on schools? How much do we NEED to spend on transportation, or police? Schools are much cheaper to run than a military. Police forces are much cheaper to operate than a Military.

I'm going to particularly focus on education here, since you seemed to focus on that most. You may be surprised to hear that per-student the United States already spends a very large amount on education. [1] The United States spends $11,483 per student every year (if you look at primary to non-tertiary spending). The only countries in the OECD to surpass this were Austria, Norway, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. The United States also spent more than Countries such as Germany, the UK, and France.

I don't wish to sound rude by saying this, but that is why i feel your argument is a fallacy. Militaries are very expensive compared to schools. When you look at major expenses, all a School requires is a building and some staff. A military requires bases that stretch for several miles, spread out across a country, filled with state of the art equipment, and highly trained professionals. Not to mention food, housing, salaries, and health care for hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Of course a military would cost more than education.

You also brought up fire departments, police departments, the VA, and transportation services. But once again, how much money do these organizations really need? What major expenses must they pay?

Near the end of your debate you brought up how certain American cities also have very high violent crime, and murder rates. However the problem i have is you nit pick the worst cities and the compare them to entire countries. I do not believe that is fair representation of a Country as a whole. You should compare Countries to Countries. Not to mention you state incorrect information. You state Detroit has a homicide rate of over 2,000 per 100,000 people. I believe you may have misread your own source [2]. That is not Detroit's homicide rate but Detroit's rate of violent crime. Detroit's actual homicide rate is 40 times lower than than at 43.8 per 100,000. [3]This is still meaningless however as we are looking at the worst city in America, instead of the Country as a whole.

Contention 2: Budget Deficits + Cost of interest

This is one of the most common arguments made when discussing defense budgets, and i admit, America has a debt problem. The United States has more debt than any other country in the world. But... the United States also has a higher GDP than any other country in the world. And you see that's the problem with this argument. If the United States suddenly acquired $50 million dollars worth of debt, then comparatively to our GDP of nearly $18 Trillion, $50 million worth of debt is a fairly insignificant amount of money. Tuvalu on the other hand has the worlds smallest GDP of $38 million. If they were to acquire $50 million worth of debt, their country would most certainly suffer. [6]

This is why we must look at the Debt to Ratio. [4] The United States has a Debt to GDP ratio of 106%. No small amount, but when compared to other Countries 106% looks quite meager. Above the United States is Portugal with 130%, and Japan with a shocking 250%.

Debt is a problem yes. But so long as our economy grows with it, we will be able to manage it. Personally i find it hard to believe the Japanese economy will collapse on itself. And i don't think there is any reason to assume the American economy will either.

And besides the Military budget (according to your own source) only takes up 13% of the federal budget. Why should we make cuts here? And even then, if we need to tackle debt there are other approaches, such as a raise in taxes.

Contention 3: Not needed (Nato)

Now you make a good argument here. However at the same time many Americans have also begun to question NATO's strength. Now i do not know what Country you are from, and I hope if you are from a NATO country you do not take my next argument offensively. But many Americans Left, and Right wing, Liberal and Conservative, have cast doubt onto our NATO allies and their commitment to defense. Many Americans question how well "Mutual defense" is truly being upheld.

While in office, Presidents Bush, Obama, and currently Trump, have all pushed for our NATO Allies to spend more [7]. Both Democrats, and Republicans feel our Allies are not pulling their fair share. I would strongly encourage you to look at my next source [8] where a study found the America spends roughly the same on it's military, as every other NATO country combined, times three.

You stated, "In fact the US does not need a huge military to protect itself either because under NATO (which the US is part of) "an attack on one is an attack on all". The defense pact is true. However at the same time let's be realistic here. If tomorrow America was invaded, there would be no Hungarian army to assist us. If tomorrow America was invaded, Italians would not be rushing for war. The only countries that would send any meaningful number of Soldiers would be the UK, France, and Canada.

If you don't believe me look at [9]. A poll done by pew research found that there were only TWO NATO countries where a majority of the population supported going to war to defend a NATO ally. You wanna guess what Countries those were? The United States, and Canada. That's it. Even the French and British seemed unsure. [9] Americans do not feel we can rely on NATO.

Most NATO countries are too concerned about their own borders, or can't maintain a large enough army. I don't blame them for this. I understand why it has to be this way. And i would support America going to war to defend any NATO country. But what i said is true. The US can not depend on our Allies the same way they can depend on us.

And even if what i said about NATO wasn't true. The US still has goals of it's own. As stated in my Round 2 argument, the US has interests far beyond Europe. Our strategy is to protect global trade and economic areas. A strategy that literally pays for itself.

Anyways i hope this wasn't too much information. I spent well over an hour on it, so i hope you find it informational. I look forward to your next post and the next round.

[1]
https://data.oecd.org...
[2]
https://www.forbes.com...
[3]
http://www.city-data.com...
[4]
https://tradingeconomics.com...
[5]
https://www.google.com...
[6]
http://statisticstimes.com...
[7]
https://www.nytimes.com...
[8]
http://www.businessinsider.com...
[9]
http://www.pewresearch.org...
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by nivac817 1 year ago
nivac817
Come on ... in my very first round i explicitly said if you were gonna accept my debate you should have the intention of finishing it.
Posted by nivac817 1 year ago
nivac817
Hey just wondering.....are you planning on finishing this debate? Cause there's only about a hour and a half left to post your next argument.
Posted by nivac817 1 year ago
nivac817
I just posted my round 3 arguments, and i just wanted to clear one thing up. My [8] and [9] sources only included the Countries with the largest defense budgets. As a result countries with very small budgets were not represented. However at the same time i don't feel that changes the argument i gave.
This debate has 4 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.