How will the right deal with potential defense cuts?

June 15, 2010

Bruce Bartlett thinks budget deficits will create a schism among Republicans/conservatives:

At least a few Republicans are now openly suggesting significant cuts in the defense budget, raising concerns among conservatives primarily concerned about national security. I believe that ultimately national security conservatives will be forced to choose between cuts in the defense budget and tax increases to reduce deficits.

Me: I think this would be a really interesting  and important debate. To what extent should US defense strategy be focused on China (and a defense of the Taiwan Strait, I suppose) vs. hunting down terrorists and making sure they don’t have enclaves to operate (which may include some form of nation building)? It is sort of Machines (built by defense contractors) vs. Man budgetary debate. Missile defense systems and carrier battle groups vs., say,  retaining the veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Geopolitical strategist Tom Barnett, whom I admire greatly, argues that while the US should maintain a powerful warfighting force of the sort that raced through Iraq, it will need to focus more and more on nation building in disconnected areas of the world. Both assume an active and globally engaged US defense posture  but yet have a very different perceptions of the future geopolitical landscape.

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see