“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Eisenhower’s warning holds true today as it did in 1961. The price of being the world’s greatest superpower is not cheap. The world now seems to be entering an era of conflicts around the globe and the US should be prepared for that. There is no question that the US is the biggest military superpower. We have the charts to prove this:
There are currently over 800 US military bases in 160 countries. These bases don’t really protect the continental United States from direct attack. In contrast, they often encourage resentment from foreign nations. The US military bases overseas are often seen in the eyes of the locals as a modern way to impose colonialism. In the past months over 65,000 residents of Okinawa protested in the streets against the US presence there. Most of the terrorist also use this as an excuse to bomb western countries. (This is not the core cause of Islamic terrorism, I will write a different piece about that.)
Moreover, they often help support dictatorship. The not so famous one being the regime of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. Karimov was famous for massacres and widespread torture. The US also supports the regime in Bahrain, which regime cracked down on peaceful protesters with gross human rights violations.
The US spends more than $156,000,000,000 on overseas bases. That’s over 25% of the total US military budget. Technology has largely made them obsolete. Some lobbyist argue that bases allow quick military reactions to acts of aggression against the US, however modern technology has significantly reduced the problem of new weapons covering long distances.
To summarize, over $156 BILLION dollars of tax payer’s money goes to costs of supporting military bases overseas, that we might not actually need. This is probably what old Ike was warning us of back in 1961.