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Once again, Jack Kelly's column ("Obama's Insecurity Team," Jan. 13) leaps into the absurd, not a long jump for him, a Marine who has never experienced combat but who rattles sabers like he's General Patton.
One big reason Mr. Kelly lists for wanting Washington to continue its current outrageous levels of defense spending is what Mr. Kelly perceives as the threat posed by China's increased military spending. Just Chinese defense spending! Not, mind you, any real threats posed by Chinese policy or by any historic Chinese precedent of aggression, but merely threats implied by their level of spending!
Like all knee-jerk militarists, Mr. Kelly fails to share with the reader information that would counter his argument, in this case the fact that Chinese defense spending, even with growth, is approximately six times smaller than the U.S. defense budget.
Moreover, Mr. Kelly also fails to explain that there is little in the history of China to suggest it will soon play the role of an aggressor. Indeed, more often than not, the Chinese have been invaded and occupied by other nations trying to exploit its resources. If any nation has a historic reason to increase defense spending, China does.
Even more egregiously, Mr. Kelly fails to suggest a reason a nation as potentially wealthy as China would want to choose war over trade.
The U.S. today has more than enough men and munitions to defend against all imaginable threats to its existence, except one. And that one threat comes from paranoid old men like Mr. Kelly whose fears are grounded not in reality, but in tunnel-vision and defective thinking.
After World War II, U.S. militarists like John Foster Dulles and James F. Byrnes turned a manageable threat from the USSR into a costly, 50-year Cold War. I pray we can be smarter this time.
First Published January 20, 2013 12:00 am