lion. Groups like the Heritage Foundation are only slightly lessrnextreme; the latter proposes a hike of $20 to $25 billion a year.rnHouse Speaker Newt Gingrich has proposed no specific number,rnbut recently urged the Budget Committee to increase thernmilitary’s budget significantly. According to Gingrich, “Wernhave lived off the Reagan buildup about as long as we can. Thernfact is that our defense structure is getting weaker, our equipmentrnis getting obsolete, and our troops are stretched too thin.”rnSimilarly, National Review calls for “reversing the decline inrnour defense budget.”rnPresident Clinton, as is his wont, has arrayed himself as arnpale version of his critics. Last year he asked Congress to hikernmilitary spending. The administration boasted that for “thernfifth time in four years . . . the President increased defensernspending above previously planned levels.” Not surprisingly,rnone anonymous Pentagon official told the New York Times thatrn”the Defense Department has fared well in the budget deliberations.”rnThe Pentagon recendy finished its quadrennial defense review.rnNaturally, the Department advocated the warmed-overrnstatus quo. Defense Secretary William Cohen proposed preservingrnthe current force structure, slighriy paring manpowerrnlevels, and allowing inflation slowly to erode overall expenditures.rnHe envisions no change in strategy, with the DefensernDepartment remaining committed to fighting two wars almostrnsimultaneously. It is as if the Cold War never ended.rnThere is little serious partisan disagreement on this score.rnSecretary of State Madeleine Albright has been consciouslyrnbuilding GOP support for administration policies. As she putsrnit, “Both parties are led by people who understand the importancernof American leadership.” The administration even consideredrnenlisting former Republican presidential nomineernRobert Dole to promote its plans for NATO expansion and anrnextended stay in the Balkans.rnWhat is the justification for a potentially huge militaryrnbuildup? Some advocates contend that America is in danger ofrnbecoming a second-rate military power vulnerable to attack.rnMarine Commandant Charles Krulak speaks of a continuingrn”national demobilization.” During his campaign. Dolernwarned that “peace is threatened and dark forces are multiplyingrnin almost every corner of the globe. All of us have seen howrnan enemy can rise suddenly and strike quickly when Americarnseems unprepared.” Columnist Harry Summers argues that ifrnthe United States does not have “military forces deployedrnaround the world,” Americans will find the enemy “at ourrnthroats.” The Pentagon’s two-war strategy, explains SecretaryrnCohen, “signals our resolve to friends and foes alike.”rnWhere, however, are these foes? Today the United Statesrndominates the globe, accounting for over a third of itsrnmilitary outlays. Washington presides virtually without enemies.rnAmerica and its friends account for about 80 percent ofrnthe world’s military spending. States with civil (if at times uncomfortable)rnrelations with the United States, particularlv Chinarnand Russia, account for the bulk of the rest. E’en formerrnDefense Department official Zalmay Khalilzad admits: “thernU.S. is without peer. We face no global rival or a significantrnhostile alliance. Indeed, the world’s most powerful and developedrncountries are our friends and allies. In modern times, nornsingle nation has held such a predominant position as the UnitedrnStates does at present.”rnYet in a world so very different from that of the Cold War,rnWashington spends even more compared to its allies and potentialrnadversaries than before. American military outlays arernmore than thrice those of Moscow, nearly twice those ofrnBritain, France, Germany, and Japan combined, and eightrntimes those of China. As a share of Gross Domestic Product,rnAmerican militar’ expenditures are four times those of Japan,rnand two or more times those of most of its European allies.rnAmerican citizens spend more to defend South Korea than dornthe South Koreans. America’s interests in the world are great,rnbut the United States does not have more at stake in Europernthan do the Europeans, or have a greater interest in the independencernof South Korea than do the South Koreans. There isrnsomething very wrong with this picture.rnOf course, as House National Security Committee ChairmanrnFloyd Spence observes, “It’s still a dangerous world.” It isrnnot particularly dangerous for America, however. As ColinrnPowell noted when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs ofrnStaff, “I’m running out of demons.. . . I’m down to Castro andrnKim II Sung.” The impoverished communist dictatorships ofrnCuba and North Korea may be ugly, but neither threatensrnAmerican securit}’. The mere fact that a conflict may break outrnsomewhere in the world does not mean that it would be inrnWashington’s interest to intervene, or that America’s friendsrncould not look after themselves.rnThe largest component of the Pentagon budget is devoted torntraditional alliances such as NATO. In Europe, 100,000 Americanrnsoldiers stand guard lest phantom Soviet divisions rollrnWest. While the future direction of Russia remains unclear,rnthe Western Europeans, with a combined population of 414rnmillion and GDP of $7.4 trillion compared to 149 million andrn$1.1 trillion, respectively, for Moscow, are eminently capable ofrndefending themselves. Britain and France possess an independentrnnuclear deterrent. Together they, along with Germany,rnspend 25 percent more on the military than does Russia, whichrnhas just announced a further cut in defense outlays. It is timernfor the Europeans to take over NATO.rnAmerican-backed expansion into Central Europe makesrneven less sense than continued support for the Western Europeans.rnWhile the former communist satellites should be integratedrninto the West, the best means to do so is economicallyrnthrough the European Union. These struggling nations needrnaccess to Western markets, not the presence of Western soldiers.rnYet the Western Europeans continue to dawdle, preferringrnto offer American military subsidies rather than risk increasedrnEuropean economic competition.rnMoreover, America has no vital interest that warrants guaranteeingrnthe borders of Poland, Hungary, Rumania, the Balticrnstates, Ukraine, and whoever else ends up on a NATO wish list.rnThese nations obviously matter more to Western Europe, andrnthat means Western Europe should defend them. The WesternrnEuropean Union, EuroCorps, the Organization for Securityrnand Cooperation in Europe, and even an America-lessrnNATO all provide potential frameworks for a Europeanorganized,rn-funded, and -manned defense of the East.rnBut lack of national interest is obviously no bar to Americanrnmilitary intervention. Although Europe looks secure, NATOrnofficials peer south as well as east, and see only trouble. Manyrnalliance planners say that the greatest risks of conflict lie southrnof Europe. Explains Adm. T. Joseph Lopez, commander ofrnNATO’s Southern Command (AFSOUTH): “The next warrncould grow out of any number of explosive factors—economicrndifficulties, water shortages, religious fanaticism, immigration.rn)UNE 1998/15rnrnrn