President Biden recently announced the withdrawal of all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 2021, signaling the end of the so-called “War on Terror”.
Why, then, did he also propose a $753 billion Pentagon budget for 2022 that’s $13 billion more expensive than the last budget enacted under the Trump Administration?
A dangerous bi-partisan consensus is converging in Washington to ramp up a new Cold War and arms race with China based on unfounded fear-mongering and racist stereotypes to justify unlimited U.S. military budgets.
As former President Jimmy Carter stated, “While the United States has been at war for 20 years, China has instead invested in 21st-century infrastructure and in its own people, lifting 800 million of them out of poverty.” We can’t allow unlimited U.S. military budgets to become the new normal. We must begin the critical task of moving money from the Pentagon to urgent domestic needs and invest in a 21st Century “Peace Dividend”.
What is a Peace Dividend?
A peace dividend is an economic boost a country will get from peace that follows a war. At that time the government should reduce military spending and reallocate the money to other policy priorities.
At the end of the Cold War, former senior Pentagon officials told the Senate Budget Committee that U.S. military spending could safely be cut by half over the next 10 years. That goal was never achieved, and instead of a post-Cold War “peace dividend,” the military-industrial complex exploited the crimes of Sept. 11, 2001 to justify an extraordinary one-sided arms race. Between 2003 and 2011, the U.S. accounted for 45% of global military spending, far outstripping its own peak Cold War military spending.
Now the military-industrial complex is counting on Biden to escalate a renewed Cold War with Russia and China as the only plausible pretext for further record military budgets that are setting the stage for World War III.
We must oppose a new Cold War with China
As we finally withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration wants to use the escalation of a new cold war with China to justify endless military spending.
Rather than an end to America’s “forever wars,” which was one of Biden’s stated campaign promises, what we are seeing is a massive transfer in U.S. military power from the Middle East region to the Asia-Pacific region that began with the Obama-Clinton administration’s “Pivot to Asia.” This build-up of military aggression towards China is all in an effort to contain and destabilize an emerging China.
Instead of funneling more money into a potential conflict with China—the global consequences of which would be drastic and irreversible—the Biden administration should redirect those funds toward social safety nets, solving the housing and climate crises, and repairing the economic and social damage of the COVID-19 pandemic at home. China is able to address the needs of its people, whether that be through poverty alleviation or COVID-19 containment policies, in part because it doesn’t waste trillions of dollars engaging in constant interventionist wars outside its borders like the U.S. does. U.S. citizens deserve that same people-centered approach from its leaders.
We need to reduce the Pentagon budget and instead invest in a peace dividend now!
Defund the Pentagon, Demilitarize the Economy:
China is Not our Enemy with Tobita Chow:
From Arms to Renewables, a conversation with Investigative Journalist Taylor Barnes: