The president has proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending, which he said would be “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”
But to what end? Past administrations have also increased military spending, but those endeavors were done in order to fulfill a specific military mission, points out this article in the New York Times. For example, Jimmy Carter wanted to expand operations in the Persian Gulf, and George W. Bush staged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11.
Trump, however, has not outlined a new mission that would require a military spending increase; it seems to be a case of military expansion for expansion’s sake. Or is it?
In this article, the Times tries to get inside the president’s head by taking a closer look at what his proposed upgrades could mean for nuclear weapons, naval power, air power, and the country’s 1.3 million active-duty and 865,000 reserve troops.
In the case of, for example, air power, the article’s authors conclude: “… it is difficult to know what problem Mr. Trump is trying to address by adding 100 fighter aircraft.”
As for nuclear weapons, it notes that the president told a talk-show host at MSNBC in December: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
Or it simply could be a matter of ostentiously displaying plenty of tangible pieces of hardware that symbolize strength—as Trump Tower is to Manhattan real estate.
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