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A Pentagon Budget Request for All Seasons

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley have told Congress at a hearing that the Pentagon’s 2024 budget request will help the country prepare for a future war with China.

Milley insisted the Pentagon’s massive $842 billion budget request is meant to deter war but said it will also prepare the US military to fight one. This came after Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned that if the US doesn’t change course on its military buildup in the Asia Pacific and other policies aimed at China, it will lead to “conflict and confrontation.”

The problem is that the Pentagon’s budget request is indeed intended to further expand the US military footprint in the region by funding a buildup plan known as the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

Pentagon planners and accountants are once again attempting to mould their military budget by new national security threats, which they would very much like to believe may come from China.

We grade their claim as partially true: By increasing the number of threats, Pentagon planners are keen to support an increase in the US military budget, to create fresh, useful foes, and to claim sole responsibility for developing a new national security economy for the US.

They believe this is possible if they can go above and beyond on Capitol Hill and issue fresh threats or extend their ongoing global conflict—the same overseas battles that former President Donald Trump claimed to have cost $7 trillion—trillion that's with a T.

The curious thing is that they might be correct in a flattering mood. The combined forces of big business, big science, and big military-industrial complex, who have transformed many countries in the Middle East into failed states and are currently engaged in international conflicts as a result of 9/11, simply cannot afford to ignore China.

But rather than propelling the ever more degraded globe towards yet another grandiose war footing, still more destruction, and even broader global sorrow, their new enemy's technological advancements and economic contributions may be bringing about shared growth, shared security and ever safer living.

In all honesty, this one goes to the Pentagon's current occupants and a nation mired in a never-ending cycle of needless financial collapse and international isolation: In this brand-new reality, when the US sneezes, the rest of the globe no longer gets the flu; instead, everyone receives the flu vaccination.

The court rules that there are significant uncertainties in forecasting whether other countries and allies will ever take the same unilateral, futile path to financial ruin and exile amid the current global slump. Amazingly, there is still time for the US to reverse direction and prevent a world-wide spiral of violence and instability.

Fixing the struggling global economy and raising money for large domestic investments in housing, healthcare, and education should be the top priorities.


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