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Judi Lynn

(161,363 posts)
Wed Jun 12, 2024, 03:48 AM Jun 12

Conservatives Are Gearing Up for a Major Military Expansion Under Trump 2.0 [View all]

JUNE 5, 2024

When I dipped into the 195-page section on “The Common Defense” in Project 2025’s Mandate for Leadership, my first question was how even the most hawkish of hawks could be disappointed with a Pentagon budget that is now soaring toward $1 trillion a year—hundreds of billions of dollars more than at the height of the Vietnam War or the peak year of the Cold War. I was particularly intrigued because the author of its chapter on the Pentagon is Christopher Miller, who, after a brief stint as acting secretary of defense under Donald Trump, wrote a memoir in which he asserted that our military is “bloated and wasteful” and argued that we could “cut our defense budget in half and it would still be nearly twice as big as China’s.”

Unfortunately, Miller the budget cutter is nowhere to be found here. Instead, Miller calls for expanding the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force and increasing the funding for nuclear weapons, missile defense, and offensive weapons in space. Perhaps that’s because, according to a number of veteran Pentagon watchers, he is the current favorite to serve as secretary of defense in the unfortunate event of a second Trump administration.

Miller conveniently fails to mention how much all of his proposals will cost. At a minimum, they would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the Pentagon’s spending plan for the next five years—and they would do so at the expense of everything else we need to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people of America and the world, from promoting public health to addressing climate change to rebuilding basic infrastructure to reducing poverty and hunger.

The central component of Miller’s ultra-muscular approach to “defense” is to double down on efforts to create a military that can beat China in a potential conflict. “By far the most significant danger to Americans’ security, freedoms, and prosperity is China,” he warns, adding, with some redundancy, that “U.S. defense strategy must identify China unequivocally as the top priority for U.S. defense planning.” Far from ensuring this country’s safety, however, a military-first approach to China increases the prospects for a war between nuclear-armed powers that we should be doing everything in our power to prevent. (For more on Project 2025’s plans for the US-China relationship, see Jake Werner’s “A New Exclusion Act” in this issue.)


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