Rank Country Spending ($ Bn.) % of GDP
1 United States 597.5 3.3
2 China 145.8 1.2
3 Saudi Arabia 81.8 12.9
4 United Kingdom 56.2 2.0
United States Spends 597.5 Billion On Our Military
As in most countries, in the US the military is revered. We hold our service members in esteem, and it is continuously mentioned positively by our politicians to build support for themselves. Let’s remove ourselves, momentarily, from the social and political fervor that surrounds our armed services and analyze it objectively.
Why do we pour so much energy, time, and money into the US military?
Well, it depends on who you ask. All U.S. Governmental institutions, including most politicians agree that it is to defend our country and our interests against attacks. While this is true, it is a totally incomplete answer.
When you wake up in the morning what are the biggest threats against you? Are you more concerned about putting gas in your car, paying bills and paying off loans, violence perpetrated by burglars and police, or are you more concerned with what AQIM or ISIS or AQAP are plotting on the other side of the world? The threats that the vast majority of Black Americans struggle with are not what affiliates of Al Qaeda are planning, but are with threats to their economic livelihoods and social and political rights that are coming from Capitol Hill, the State House, or City Hall.
Of course Hawks and other pro-government and pro-military supporters will maintain that we feel safe precisely because of our military, but believing them is an exercise in faith. "For security reasons" the public has no concept of the real international threats against us, or how military operations have stopped any real threats. I have heard that some information or other is classified for my own good one too many times, without any semblance of proof, to continue to have blind faith in a Government that will clearly lie and mislead for their own benefit. (Like the WMD allegations in Iraq and the "enhanced interrogation techniques are not torture" talking points as two well known examples.)
We have the largest, most well-funded military in the world, and it is just to be able to say that we do. We are not afraid to flex and remind everyone of this fact as often as possible, and the reason is purely economic. Until 1973, the U.S. currency was backed by gold. Now it is backed by faith in the stability of the United States. We have a completely overblown military to prove to citizens of the US and to citizens of the world that our money isn’t total bullshit. And as long as we all believe that it is more than just very carefully printed paper, then it will survive. We just have to enforce that social contract with as much force as possible, to bolster our legitimacy.
As psychologically problematic as that is, it isn’t inherently harmful. What is harmful is the terrifying amount of injury and loss to human life, of Americans and others, that results of our flawed strategy. The military continues to have one of the most successful recruitment strategies of all time with economic incentives, education and health care benefits, and guarantees life insurance and retirement benefits. This is not to mention the rhetoric that offers the chance to help others and become a hero.
For Black Americans, this is not the most potent chance to help the community, it is a chance to help CEOs of weapons companies, Multinational Corporations that depend on a strong dollar, and politicians who will use your dedication to help themselves raise money and retain power. To cause true change, we need to focus on supporting each others businesses, investing in property, educating ourselves and promoting education to younger and future generations, and coalescing real political and economic power to change problematic institutions, not joining the most problematic of all institutions.
Get The Black Mind Right
Power & Control
How Our Military Spends More Money Than Any Military In The World