That’s an interesting philosophical question that I would have to answer no to. Though this is by no means the common opinion. Both before, but especially after WWII America had developed a plan for how they’d like the world to be. However, to achieve these goals we must have and remain the largest military power. We supply aid generally only if there is some monetary or political gains to be made. We’ve taken over after the Romans, and the British, and empires before them, unfortunately ruling empires of their time do not generally rule with an open hand.
No. NO. No.
This sounds kind of like a rhetorical question. I like the Eisenhower quote.
I think that this trend exists because of a kind of snowball effect. As the US grew into a world power, we built our huge military for all kinds of reasons (mostly periodic involvement in large-scale wars). And rather than making the military smaller, we end up making all kinds of committments and sticking our thumbs in pies all over the world (although I’m not sure that a war zone deserves to be called a “pie”), and we just keep having to expand.
Also…think about all the FEARMONGERING. There’s always some new threat of terrorism or nuclear warfare or…communism! What decent American would want to decrease our military when there are so many threats?!
…I’m going to go ahead and answer this from a political perspective, though I don’t philosophically agree with the outcome, so please keep that in mind before reacting.
From a realist perspective, which is the dominant one in international relations theory, military is absolutely more important than aid for foreign countries. Aid isn’t given for the purpose of charity- it’s actually not rational to do that, as states don’t have a need for self-gratification (realism would posit that charity is the result of humans wanting to feel better about themselves or improve their social standing, rather than help others). As a result, states only provide aid, from a theoretical standpoint, for reasons of political obligation or other ulterior motives. No noblesse oblige or any of that, as much as I believe in it.
Military spending, however, is a rational means of deterrence. Realism basically explains the international system as anarchical, with countries ultimately doing things however they choose. Culture is irrelevant- the only thing that stops a country from attacking you is basically being of relative strength or being significantly stronger. Nuclear weapons provide the same sort of deterrence without actual use. Showing massive figures in military spending basically shoves other countries back down and forces them not to rise against you. Or that’s the idea, anyway, I find it incredibly narrow minded, but that sort of thinking basically won the Cold War, so although it is a bit outdated it is proven to be effective historically.
There’s also the whole military-industrial complex within the economy that basically requires the spending to function at maximum capacity.
Ideologically, it seems very wrong, and personally it makes me rather uncomfortable, but doing things that way is apparently very effective.
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