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What if the US de-militarized and pulled aid?(5 posts)

What if the US de-militarized and pulled aid?DougSloan
Jul 17, 2002 7:02 AM
This sounds like a dumb question, but I'm curious about opinions of what would happen if the US just decided, "You know what, we are tired of being the world's police. We are pulling out of every place on the planet except within our own borders, and will do nothing except defend the homeland. We'll cut our military spending by 90%. Futher, no foreign aid of any kind. The world spits on us, so we are taking our toys and going home. Deal with that, world."

What would the world say? "No, please keep the dollars and food coming... but take your military" or, "never mind our belly aching, we thought about it, and just keep doing as you were." Does the world want it both ways (our help, but no influence)?

Doug
the world would still hate usmr_spin
Jul 17, 2002 7:44 AM
I'd love to try it.

But what are we going to do with all that extra money? The government would never give it back to the taxpayers, so hopefully they would use it to repair roads and bridges, improve education, get rid of slums, clean up toxic waste, etc., etc. In short, make this country better, stronger, faster than before.

That would piss off people who hate us even more.

There is one flaw in your suggestion, however. Some of that foreign aid never leaves the country. It's paid to farmers and other food producers to buy their crops to send overseas. Arms sales, too. There are a lot of "subsidies" in foreign aid that go to Americans.
re: What if the US de-militarized and pulled aid?MJ
Jul 17, 2002 10:22 AM
Mr Spin has some good points

it's an interesting question - and that's the problem with being top dog - everybody knows how you can do it better -damned if you do damned if you don't (see my post below to somebody about Rwanda etc.)

ultimately US involvement is linked to global economics - you just can't ignore the world or reverse the clock - if you do so you do it at your own peril (I think that's what they're doing in North Korea...)

anyways - aid (and trade) prevents conflict - more aid and trade equals less war/peacekeeping/military - it's a virtuous circle
No such thing as a dumb question.Steve98501
Jul 17, 2002 12:03 PM
Nations have interests; nations do not have friends. Our foreign aid investments and military interventions are not about friendships; they are all about serving our interests, of which we have many. If we did as you hypothetically suggest, the world would continue to criticize us, only differently than at present.

I think you would find that bringing all our military back within our borders wouldn't reduce military spending by anything close to 90%, BTW.

Clearly, we are more likely to get involved sooner and more deeply when strategic interests are at stake, as in the case of the middle east, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan to a degree, etc. We're a lot slower when the purpose is humanitarian and the potential payoff is political goodwill or even less, such as Somalia and Bosnia. Another perspective is that we are far more responsive when $ profit is involved to influential American corporate interests. War machinery and exercise has a far higher profit margin (at least in the short and near terms) then foreign investment in health, education, and agricultural aid. That is, I believe the long term payoffs to the US and the world are greater from investments in the latter, but it is not particularly profitable in the short and near term to the most politically influential elements of our country. Consequently we invest heavily in military aid and intervention because influential people make more money, and they make it right away. This could feed some sarcastic and cynical comments that I'll withold.

The real upshot is that the US would be working against its own interests - strategic, $ (short, near, & long term), natural resource needs, market development and penetration, environmental, social welfare,(& likely others I'm overlooking) - if we backed out of all foreign aid and military assistance and intervention. We do the things we do, with good, bad, and mixed results, because it ultimately serves our own interests to do so. It's not that we wish to be the world's police. As a nation, we don't much care about improving the quality of life in some developing nation (although many individual Americans care very much about it), but we care nationally about eventually developing markets there to peddle our goods and services. So we send health care, education, and the Peace Corps to help their agricultural development, etc.

It's a crazy world, but it's still the only one we have. So we struggle to do the right things most of the time in all the right places via decisions by imperfectly informed leaders who get their information from competing self-interests masquarading as the public interest or global interest, as if there actually was any such thing.

Well, you asked for opinions. We all got 'em.

Steve
people in the less developed countries would rejoiceweiwentg
Jul 19, 2002 4:57 AM
I would wager that Muslim countries and Latin America are sick of US interference, real (often enough) or imagined (sometimes). they would be quite glad, for the most part. the 'send the dollars and food and keep the military' scenario is more likely.
you may know that there is a dissident movement that says that US aid is mainly aimed at the wealthy, the corporations, etc. the common man in whatever 3rd world country you care to name might not suffer as much as you'd think (although there would be exceptions).
of course, then you'd have Europe, China, Russia, and perhaps some Muslim countries vying to fill the vacuum. short term, Europe wins. medium term, China would win. long term, China would still win, but Russia might get its act together.
would this be bad? initially, China would be militaristic and interventionalistic in much the same way as the US was when it was 'younger'. I would wager that China would not intervene (or interfere) so much with foreign states, but would throw its weight around its kin, eg Taiwan, Vietnam (which are currently antagonistic to some degree).
as we all know, power corrupts; at the very least, those who have it want to hold on to it. so, China (or whoever won the power struggle) would dictate the terms of international discourse, trade, etc.