Scaling Down the US Military

 


 

John Horgan: The United States is an extremely militaristic culture right now and we are armed to the teeth and we are very aggressive in pursuing our interests violently around the world.  Until recently we were in two major armed conflicts.  We just withdrew our troops from Iraq.  That’s a very good thing.  I hope we don’t go back in and we still have troops in Afghanistan.  Barack Obama has pledged to bring those troops home.

Our military is also gigantic.  It more than doubled since 9/11 and there are no signs that it’s going to be reduced appreciably any time in the future.  Barack Obama has talked about maybe a 10% reduction over the next 8 or 10 years, which is trivial compared to how big our budget really is.  The United States military budget is roughly the size of all other nation’s military budgets combined.  If we cut our military in half just in terms of the annual defense budget it would still be much bigger than China’s and Russia’s combined.  I’d like to also see us take the lead in getting rid of our nuclear arsenal.  There is absolutely no use for nuclear weapons anymore and it’s very difficult for us to make the case to a country like Iran, “no, you’re not allowed to have nuclear weapons”, when we still have about 8,000 nuclear warheads in our own arsenal.  I think it’s hard for us to tell other people that they should respect the rule of law when we are carrying out these illegal assassinations in other places and are answerable only to ourselves.

I think that our militarism helps to perpetuate the kind of fear and insecurity around the world that unfortunately will make armed conflict more likely.  I think our hope of course is that other people are too scared ever to engage in any sort of violence or we will retaliate.  I don’t think it’s going to work that way.  So I see this period as an enormous opportunity for our country, for the United States to show some real leadership because we are so powerful and we of course like to think of ourselves as a peaceful, just, very moral people and I think we have a right to feel that about ourselves.

So I'm hoping that we have the kind of leadership someday, maybe even Barack Obama in his second term that will seize this opportunity and help convince Americans and the rest of the world that now is the time when we can really move passed this period of militarism and war and take those resources and use them to solve some of the other problems that often lead to conflict.


 

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
  • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
  • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
Keep reading Show less