March 29, 2022
On Monday local time, US President Joe Biden submitted to Congress the president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2023, in which the proposal of $813.3 billion in defense and national security spending have attracted public attention. This is “among the largest investments in our national security in history,” as Biden called it. In his address to introduce the proposed budget, Biden emphasized, “we’re once again facing increased competition from other nation states – China and Russia – which are going to require investments to make things like space and cyber and other advanced capabilities, including hypersonics.” He also noted, “America is more prosperous, more successful, and more just when it is more secure.”
People cannot help but wonder, what exactly is enough for the US to be “more secure?” Having no formidable enemy both in its south and north is not enough. Enjoying the natural geographical advantage of being located between two oceans is not enough. Having the most powerful military force in the world is not enough. The $813.3 billion defense budget, which accounts for about 40 percent of the global military expenditure, is certainly not enough either. The US is on the path of pursuing absolute security. For that, there is no “most secure,” but only “more secure.” In the US, where society is divided, political parties are confronting each other, ruling elites share almost the same attitude toward the increase in military spending.
The $813.3 billion isn’t the final figure. Congress is likely to raise the number again. There seems to be some kind of “trend” – that the approved figure is more than requested. In Donald Trump’s final year in office, his administration’s defense budget request of $752.9 billion was already seen as a record, but Congress authorized a $25 billion increase, ultimately landing at $778 billion for fiscal year 2022.
The latest budget request is a 4.1 percent increase from fiscal year 2022 amount, and a 9.8 percent increase from fiscal year 2021. Some analysts predict that it will be sooner or later that the US military budget exceeds $1 trillion. Such a scale is enough to rank among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of GDP. What’s more, the US GDP accounts for about 20 percent of global GDP, yet military spending is nearly half of the world’s total military spending, about the sum of military spending of more than 100 countries. Even so, the US still feels “insecure.” It has to be said that the US is sick.
It is worth noting that although the Russia-Ukraine conflict has become an excuse for the US to increase military spending, Washington is still clearly pointing at China, which it identifies as the “most challenging strategic threat.” For Washington, the Ukraine crisis is more like an episode while the theme song is to contain China, its biggest “imaginary enemy.” It has been actively building various military security mechanisms in the past two years, from strengthening the alliance of “Five Eyes” to peddling the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, piecing together AUKUS, a trilateral security pact, and tightening bilateral military alliances. It is a discharge of the “5-4-3-2” formation in the Asia-Pacific region. Washington’s pursuit of military expansion is like a car running out of control on the highway, driving wildly in the direction of militarism.
Playing the “China card” has become a necessary excuse for the US to increase military spending and expand its military power, leading politicians in Washington to be eager to compete with each other to see whose “threat theory” are more frightening and whose proposed defense budgets are more “shocking.” Almost no one in the US dares to talk openly about drastic cuts in military spending today, despite the US’ claim to have the best “democracy.” But Washington’s lies will eventually fall apart. US GDP per capita is six times that of China, but military spending per capita is 31 times that of China. Isn’t it clear who the threat and challenge is?
The US political elites have become obsessed with military budget hikes. What they care about is their political interests, rather than people’s livelihood. When Republican lawmakers complained that the 7.9 percent inflation has squeezed the military budget increase, American people are suffering multiple blows ranging from rent increases to soaring gas prices. When the military-industrial complex has benefited greatly from the military budget hike, US taxpayers can do nothing about rising national debt. It’s even more ironic that Democrats jettisoned the pandemic aid package to ensure the passing of broader spending legislation.
When the fullest extent is reached, waxing is necessarily followed by a decline. The US needs to understand that in today’s world, no country can base its own absolute security on other countries’ absolute insecurity. If the US doesn’t get rid of its hegemonic myth and security delusion, it won’t feel enough no matter how huge its military budget is, because people with common sense all understand that infinite hegemony and absolute security doesn’t exist in this world.