64

This is a great question about both politics and history. It relates directly to the changing nature of what a "country" is. First, let me directly answer your questions: Given that France, Germany and the UK have larger economies than that of Russia, why do they spend less in defense than that of Russia and always seem to be scared of Russia? ...


63

The 2% goal for defense spending of all NATO countries originates from the Wales Summit of 2014. However, the people who made that commitment are heads of governments, many of which don't actually have the authority to make budgeting decisions. This includes the German Chancellor. The Bundestag (German parliament) which actually has that authority never ...


61

They don't need to be able to strike the US mainland directly. All they need to do is go to war with allies of the US in the region, and they have ample allies to hide behind Iran says it is not behind Saturday's attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia, denying accusations from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Tehran was responsible for "an unprecedented ...


58

The US public opinion is highly sensitive to casualties among US troops. They are much less concerned about casualties to contractors, especially if they are not US citizens. At times the US government has more money than available troops. At times deploying contractors is easier under domestic US law. Legal oversight is mostly designed with the official ...


56

Medical If your question is: Would the military be obliged to pay for the transition? Then the answer is yes. Prior to Donald Trump's tweets, the US Military had promulgated guidance on how it would support members transitioning. Following a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the Military member would be supported through medical treatments, to include ...


56

Chemical weapons give a casus belli for the Western governments to increase their presence on the ground That's true that the use of chemical weapons galvanizes the west against Assad, but, I think the best way to put it is like this. "They're going to hate me anyway, I may as well go all out". There's a body of people in the west who don't want war no ...


55

First, who is #2 is highly subjective, if you discount nuclear arsenals. Second, this question is like asking Compared to a Ferrari a Mustang outruns tons of Priuses, Civics and SUVs. And it costs a lot less. Does that mean a Mustang is anywhere close to a Ferrari in speed? The US is, by virtue of its spending, #1, no question. It deliberately has ...


50

Mostly true First claim: exaggerated In the three decades before Trump's election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds. On page 4 of this 1987 report(pdf) on NATO military spending, we learn that in 1987 they were globally spending 5.0% of their GDP on defense. More precisely: USA: 6.6% Canada: 2.1% (Western) Europe: 3.4% In 2016, i.e. year 1 before ...


48

The reason is the same for any country, not just the US. And it is rarely money. It can be roughly grouped like this: public opinion damage control: the population of a country cares about the death of their military personnel. This is especially true for the military conflict with no clear goal for a population (whom are we saving in the conflict in X?). ...


48

Iran doesn't pose any threat to the US or its allies. The US, Israel and some of the Gulf countries see Iran as a threat because Iran is supporting certain militant groups that can pose a threat in case of an armed conflict. That Iran would (and currently does) pose a threat to the US when there are military tensions is a completely normal situation that ...


48

Absolute and relative amounts Germany has come much closer to the 2% goal due to the COVID crisis -- the GDP went down, the defense budget stayed the same, so the percentage went up. Similarly, good years reduced the percentage without any defense cuts. Rejection of war as a means of policy. Germany has spent 40 years at the frontline of the Cold War, a war ...


46

A single missile delivering a nuclear payload can wipe out a city. Needing to deliver hundreds or thousands of bombs or missiles to "simulate that" is a much more difficult proposition, in terms of delivery. I could, with fifty cases of aerosol deodorant spray and thousands of matches, replicate a flame thrower's output. That's a lot of work, effort, and ...


45

Your basic assumption seems to be wrong, that countries are attacked because they're perceived to be threats. While this is sometimes the reason (e.g. the Iraq War was supposedly to prevent Saddam Hussein from making use of weapons of mass destruction -- although this is a gross simplification), it's not the only reason countries invade other countries. ...


41

In his farewell speech of 1961, Eisenhower warned of growth of the 'military-industrial complex' and the 'potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power.' It was a speech he began working on two years earlier and went through 21 drafts - which perhaps indicated the importance he placed upon this. Originally the phrase was 'military-industrial-...


39

It is impossible to understand Russia's preoccupation over seven decades with military power without understanding the country's experience in WW2. The war had a huge impact on the national psyche of all participants, including the US, Britain and France. But if you look at the cost in terms of lives lost, the western losses bear no comparison whatever to ...


39

Let me tell you a story as an example of why demilitarization is not an effective strategy. It's 1991. Ukraine had the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world following the fall of the USSR. However, they have very little else going for them, and immediately begin to fall into economic decline. This concerned world leaders, because a failing country ...


38

Eisenhower's speech isn't strictly about the military-industrial complex, I at least read it as a general warning of how great concentrations of wealth/power in a construct (in this case, he uses the military industrial complex as an example, but it also mentions academia infused with government directed research funds) can lead to that construct having ...


38

In a dissent in the case of Laird v. Tatum, Justice William Douglas argued tangentially that the creation of an air force is legal as per Article of 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: The Army, Navy, and Air Force are comprehended in the constitutional term "armies." Article I, § 8, provides that Congress may "raise and support Armies," and "provide and ...


35

First, They already have, and that is part of the reason for the conflict in the first place. What it seems like you are suggesting is that they go in and remove the existing inhabitants from Palestine all together. The truth is none of the other Arab nations want the Palestinians either. They are from Arab tribes that have a history of conflict with ...


35

TL:DR; Some states still do have militias. Realistically, in the modern era the U.S. states are not expected to require defense from the federal government, nor would such a defense seem possible if the entire U.S. military was willing to robotically follow unlawful or tyrannical orders (something which their oath to the Constitution forbids). At the ...


35

I have no experience in the Russian or US military, but my impression is that Russian weapons manufacturers face much greater pressures to charge lower prices. US weapons manufactures consider the Pentagon a bottomless pit of money and face no pressure to reduce prices. 200 TOW missiles? Let's add a 3 extra zeros to the bill. Raytheon can charge whatever ...


32

Bottom Line Upfront: If you don't allow the military to plan for maintenance, but keep them working, then it will cost more to fix them when you start giving them money. Part of it is most certainly about pandering to his base. 67% of Republicans believe too little is spent on defense. Though, there is room for universal appeal, where this could be an ...


32

Costs Yes the military provides health care for soldiers, which covers necessary medical treatment, including treatment for gender dysphoria (also including SRS if necessary). The costs to the military for this are negligible. RAND estimated the cost for transition-related care for trans people to be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually: The ...


31

The treaty you're thinking of is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (also known as the NPT or NNPT). The core of this treaty for non-nuclear weapon states is Article II, which says Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear ...


29

Part of the reason is purely domestic political (which, of course, a lot of foreign policy reasons boil down to, in many countries). In case of Trump and Assad, there were actually several independent domestic factors: President Trump's base is the same people who criticized President Obama over setting 'red line' for Assad over use of chemical weapons and ...


28

Yes and no. The War Powers Resolution (sometimes known as the War Powers Act) is supposed to limit it. The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a ...


27

The previous answer gave plenty of numbers, so let me focus on How true are Trump’s claims that the US is unfairly paying for Europe’s defense [...] ? Once upon a time, the US and their Western European allies were menaced by the Soviet Union and their Eastern European allies. The Group of Soviet Forces in Germany stood ready to roll through the Fulda ...


26

Israel does not want to be in charge of those areas, and has already given most of the area to Palestinian sovereignty. Before 1993, Israel was in control over the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza. This was a result of the Six Day War. To summarize, Egypt blockaded the Strait of Tiran, and surrounding Arab nations prepared to invade Israel. Israel ...


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