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Yet Another Anon

The USA is a very rich country, not the richest in the world, but those countries that have a similar wealth per capita or higher are far smaller.

Then the world's largest populations of China and India are still way behind in terms of wealth per capita although rapidly advancing. As their wealth per capita reaches even only a quarter that of the USA they will be comparable as military powers and they do have manpower advantages - China and India have a huge advantage over the USA when it regards anything needing vast numbers of infantry, so it isn't all a matter of military advantage for the USA, but rather depends a lot on the required resources for the situation.

Simon Newman

I don't think the 'aircraft carrier' figure is comparing like-with-like; US supercarriers are huge, more like floating military bases - no one else has anything comparable. They're probably among the best-value parts of the American war machine, along with the AH10 'warthog' anti-tank planes. A lot of US military expenditure goes to expensive technology of little utility in current warfighting environments, but it may be that you need to buy a lot of crud to get the occasional gem.

I'm surprised the UK is the second highest military spender; I guess force projection capability doesn't come cheap.

Yet Another Anon

I'm surprised the UK is the second highest military spender
It does depend how the figures are calculated - for example are these figures including paramilitaries who may have a police role - the UK has far fewer of these than countries such as France? France's economy is smaller than that of the UK, but even so I think the figures given above are not including things such as gendarmerie that France would include in it's own figures.

Countries such as Japan and Germany spend a tiny proportion of their GDP on Defence because of historical associations between an active military and the Nazi regime, the Kaiser and the control of the Generals in Japan in the 1930's and 1940's that led to disaster. Japan has been flexing it's muscles a bit more and boosting it's spending, but both they and Germany have also been having to deal with severe structural problems in their economies and this has held back their military spending as well as social attitudes to the military.


My comment on the Economist's view of the war in Iraq being worse now than in the (past?) is disagreement. Its different. Its been a major dynamic of force change. This cannot be understated yet its significance is hardly understood or reported by the MSM. To grossly simplify: as time continues on more of the population has accepted, not only our troops presence but the need for their continued efforts. This includes (former) Sunni insurgents. Why? They recognize who really wants their destruction: al-Queda. And who is putting their lives on the line for them, Americans and to a lessor extent Brit and Coalition soldiers.

There is quite a bit coming out of Iraq, on the ground with those in the know. Here's some just today in a rare print from Reuters: WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) - Sunni militias that once fought U.S. troops are now seeking to join them, frustrated by al Qaeda's influence in parts of Baghdad, a U.S. commander said on Friday.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, said working with the militias compensates for insufficient Iraqi police presence in some neighborhoods.

"Some of them who have previously been fighting us have come to us as we've spoken with them and they want to fight with us," Fil said.

"They are tired of al Qaeda and the influence of al Qaeda in their tribes and in their neighborhoods and they want them cleaned out and they want to form an alliance in order to rid themselves of this blight."

My opinion on much of the remainder of the Economist's article is maybe it would be best for Americans to go with more of a 'fortress America' mentality. Stay the course with Iraq, stand by Israel... but f ck South Korea, NATO and 'world opinion'. Yes I know that's not realistic but its a pleasant thought to stop all efforts other than our most immediate and let the rest of the world deal with it. We're damned if we do damned if we don't, so let's don't and watch everyone else's inspiration unfold, of course into something other than damnation.


Depends on how much you pay your soldiers and what costs of accommodation are. Volunteer armies in USA and UK cost more than conscript armies.

The USA also holds the record on spending on Secondary Education and Health Care...the Uk has the record on Primary Education spending.

For all the huge expenditure by the US it is still stretched in Iraq and needs to use National guard units, and Britain is stretched deploying a mere 10.000 men.

It probably suggests that given their cost base the Uk and Us are spending too little of Defence relative to tasks.....the US has the advantage o using itse defence budget to subsidise the It and electonics and aircraft industries,. Britain does not

Mary Fernandez

Steevo - Absolutely agree. (I'm a CPT, U.S. Army)

Frogg, USA

It might be worth it to read another related article:

To Be, or Not to Be . . . an Empire
By Gary J. Schmitt
Friday, June 22, 2007

My own thoughts, as an American, is that America, in general, would prefer to be an isolationist country. Live free, be happy, and let others take care of the world.

We are a force in the world more by 'default' than 'design'. There seems to be a vacuum out there that no one wants to fill.

It seems US, UK, and Australia carry much of the core weight for global security.

If not us, then who?


Frogg you've got good insight, a good man and with sober judgment... but who cares, right? ;-)

Did read the article and it is interesting. It gives me more reason to question presumptions I've held for quite a while. Indeed the future remains to be seen.

Yet Another Anon

Sunni militias that once fought U.S. troops are now seeking to join them, frustrated by al Qaeda's influence in parts of Baghdad, a U.S. commander said on Friday.
Most of the Sunnia Militia's are for the simple reason that there is little support for Al Qaeda in Iraq and most of Al Qaeda fighters are coming in from other countries notably Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States.

There were always uneasy relations between Al Qaeda and on the other hand Iraqi Arab Nationalist Groups and the Iraqi Ba'ath Party because Al Qaeda are entirely negative - they don't want to rebuild Iraq, they are quite happy to sacrifice Iraq and to sacrifice anything in their quest for a Global Islamist Caliphate.

The Iraqi Government has majority support among Iraqi's whereas the Ba'ath Party always represented a tiny minority that was overwhelmingly Arab and was intolerant of nomads and generally of devout Muslims.

The Iraqi Security Forces are growing in strength by the day and with Non Al Qaeda Insurgents whether Sunni or otherwise mostly turning on Al Qaeda the prospects for Iraq are better than at any time since the formation of Iraq in the 1920's.


Frogg, that is also how our forefathers intended us to be. Many politicians claim that for us to go back to being isolated would hurt us or be dangerous. But being that way to begin with is what made us prosperous. It was from WWII on, that things gradually began to go downhill because we've spread ourselves around so much. And because of that, more countries began hating us for getting involved in world affairs, becoming our enemies and causing the domino effect of events we have today. If the world wants us to mind our own business, maybe we should give them what they wish for. And you know the old saying, "Careful what you wish for. You just might get it."


It was from WWII on, that things gradually began to go downhill because we've spread ourselves around so much

Britain had exactly the same problem....once the most powerful mpire in world history with a huge trading bloc and navy and the world's major currency it was hobbled by Germany and the desire of the USA to replace the British Empire as top dog.

The USA could follow Britain's example and withdraw from its global role and merge into a regional trading bloc - in our case the EU...in your case NAFTA and the North American Union, and then an American Federation with capital in say Caracas......



It was from WWII on, that things gradually began to go downhill because we've spread ourselves around so much

Britain had exactly the same problem....once the most powerful mpire in world history with a huge trading bloc and navy and the world's major currency it was hobbled by Germany and the desire of the USA to replace the British Empire as top dog.

The USA could follow Britain's example and withdraw from its global role and merge into a regional trading bloc - in our case the EU...in your case NAFTA and the North American Union, and then an American Federation with capital in say Caracas......


Simon Newman

Re American imperialism, I think there's a happy mean between 1920s isolationism and neocon 'invade the world/invite the world' aggression.

One thing America could profitably do would be to return to the Cold War era approach of pretending to be just one nation among many; so that whatever rules of international behaviour apply to other nations apply to America also. This includes things like no wars of aggression against major nations like Iraq; other nations are willing to overlook the occasional invasion of small Caribbean islands, but not of large countries on the other side of the planet.


Simon Newman, the US never pretended to be one nation among many, especially not during the Cold War. What other nation divides the globe into military commands and has stationed its troops across the world to ensure it can project its power anywhere?

Actually, the US will never submit itself to the laws of some international government, because such a surrender of sovereignty is unconstitutional.

The remaining choice is clear. Isolationism or continued liberal intervention. I prefer liberal intervention, because Europe has shown itself to be unable and unwilling to defend itself and its values (hahah.. what values? My mistake).

But should the world force us to become isolationists, then after North Korea has invaded South Korea, China has attacked Taiwan and Japan, Russia has reacquired its satellites in Eastern Europe, the troubles in the former Yugoslavia re-emerge, and the Middle East explodes... then I guess everyone will decide that the world is finally at peace and the US is no longer the sole threat to global stability that poll after poll shows.

Sometimes I am left in awe at the genius of the "international community."


As an American arriving at a point of consideration toward a more isolationist disposition, there is motivation with some sweet 'I told you so' justice. Problem is its not really sweet because many in the anti-American community won't bear consequences, at least in the near future.

"International community" and any implied justice is a copout crock. Witness the unbrainwashing of Iraqis glad their tyrant is gone, wanting a chance to fulfill their own aspirations: freedom. And witness those opposed in West, even toward current efforts by the 'agressor' America.


JF, "But should the world force us into isolationalism..." exactly what I was getting at. There may really be a danger in us becoming isolationist but I guess the world prefers that danger to us. After all, America is a monster, you know. Who could be worse than us, right?

And as for the US merging into a North American Union, heck no. Government these days is big enough and has enough control over people's lives. I would rather die than for us to be like the EU. The last thing we need is a one world government. I realize from a Christian perspective that it's probably going to happen someday anyway but I would like to postpone it as long as possible and will do ANYTHING in my own power to prevent that as long as I am alive. And anyone who thinks the EU is exactly what the current US is, they're terribly wrong.


Denise: I completely agree.

Frogg, USA

Simon Newman's post said, "This includes things like no wars of aggression (by America)against major nations like Iraq;"

That is exactly why your thinking is off.

Who's aggression, again?

Don't you mean Iraq's aggression against Kuwait?

America was simply enforcing the cease fire agreement that Saddam signed but refused to fulfill after America/coalition defended Kuwait (from Iraq's aggression).

It's a game Tyrants and/or Islamists play with the world....to turn the illusion around so that their own aggression somehow makes them the victim; and the defender becomes the aggressor.

Frogg, USA

And, for a light hearted article:

Confessions of an Isolationist Wannabe


Here again tho possibly in vein, any who may cherish hope and justice over their twisted hatred of America as teh evil agressor, more news the BBC etc. will not tell you. A quickie update in Baqubah, Iraq, from Michael Yon:

"Baqubah has gone quiet. Very little fighting. There might be more to come, but overall the people have turned against al Qaeda and are pointing them out day by day. The people are pointing out the bombs. Baqubah received its first food shipment in 10 months just a few days ago, even while light fighting was still on. I was there for the food distribution and am writing a dispatch on it. The primary object now is to start to restore a sense of normalcy in the city. Remember Ramadi? That crazy city of death and fighting? Writers hardly want to go there any more because it's quiet. I am very curious if Baqubah will go that way. So far so good. There are serious sectarian issues here in Diyala Province, but with al Qaeda on defense instead of offense, the people in Baqubah have a chance to do what those in Ramadi and other cities are doing: reclaim their lives."

Frogg, USA

Steevo, I have a running thread of the surge updates if you are interested at:


There is some major stuff happening over there. Did you read Michael Yon's latest post?

Troops entered a small farming village. They couldn't figure out where everyone went. al Qaeda had slaughtered many of them and even beheaded the children (found in shallow graves). They even shot their livestock.

America is not the problem. People who go around cutting off the heads of children are the problem.


But you see, Frogg. They only cut off heads. And Saddam only put people into shreaders and gased his people. No big thing. But some American soldiers, on the other hand, put panties on the heads of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib, made them pose naked for pictures, humiliated them and probably HURT THEIR FEELINGS!! I mean that's REAL torture! ;-)


Frogg, that's an email he sent to Glenn Reynolds today. Thanks for the link :-)

Good point Denise... how true, we do have a new definition of the word... and we'll always be reminded by those showing how much they really care.

Da Coyote

I read that article too, and I must disagree.

The United States military is only "stretched" because it has been forced to occupy two nations nearly five times as large as Great Britain in addition to all the other commitments throughout Europe, Asia & Africa.

The United States armed forces are not designed to conquer and occupy an enemy country. Our fighting corps is designed to destroy aggressive military and paramilitary forces- something our boys do very well. The arguement that our military is "stretched" assumes that we must continue the ludicrass policy of occupation and reconstruction of our vanquished enemies.

Those analysts that assert we are unable to fight North Korea, Iran or Venzuela because the army is stuck policing the streets of Iraq are going to have a rude awakening should push come to shove. We don't have to use one million dollar a shot cruise missiles to subdue an enemy, carpet bombing B-52's can destroy the target just as easily. And once the military threat is subdued there is no reason we can't just leave a smoking ruin as an example to the whole world:

You want to play it soft, we'll play it soft.

You want to play it hard, we'll play it hard!


Actually, Da Coyote, our big problem is that it isn't politically correct to play it hard anymore. Our military is always ready and raring to go. But our politicians are too busy trying to appease certain groups and certain governments. They expect our military to be tough and do their job but at the same time they tell our soldiers they can't do this or that. They have to be really nice to the ones they capture and interrogate. That's no way to win a war.

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