Letter: Defense needs a complete overhaul | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Defense needs a complete overhaul

I would rather be forced to ski Vail for the rest of my life than vote for Donald Trump, but he does have a point about NATO. According to NATO’s website, the combined GDP of it’s European members is greater than that of the United States, $17.34 trillion vs. $16.157 trillion in 2014. Yet they spend on average $449 per capita on defense annually, while we spend $1,917. The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia only exist at the whim of the megalomaniac in the Kremlin, and yet they only spend $130, $131, and $339 dollars respectively. That’s silly.

Granted we wouldn’t have to spend so much if we hadn’t been so busy destabilizing the Middle East chasing phantom weapons of mass destruction while simultaneously ensuring the safety of the shipping lanes in the pacific, so the People’s Republic can maintain it’s $600 billion trade surplus with the world. Nevertheless, the days of Uncle Sam flipping the bill are over. As The Donald keeps reminding us, we’re $20 trillion in the hole.

The almost daily news of lone wolf attacks makes it look as if fighting the asymmetrical threat of political Islamic terrorism will become the only security issue. Iraq’s recent success fighting ISIS on the ground only led to more terror attacks. This is a new kind of conflict where traditional military means are superfluous. We have yet to figure out how to protect ourselves from this menace. My guess is that when we do, it is going to be really expensive. We can no longer afford to be the “arsenal of democracy” for the world.

European leaders pronouncements that this level of terror is the new normal will be met with pink slips from the voters, as they should be. Our own leaders must begin a complete overhaul of our defense strategy and expenditures, or they will meet the same fate.

John Dysart


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