But the most irrational country of all has been the United States, which was responsible for more than one-third of all military spending and 95 percent of the global increase in military expenditures last year. This remarkable news comes at a time of unprecedented budget deficits and a veritable fever of budget cutting on Capitol Hill.
The Pentagon has promised to play well with others. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has pledged $100 billion in cuts. But these turn out, on closer inspection, to be a mere shift in funds from overhead to acquisitions and ongoing operations. The Obama administration has asked the Pentagon to cough up another $78 billion in cuts over the next five years.
But $15 billion a year, in an annual outlay of nearly $700 billion, amounts to little more than two percent – chump change for the Pentagon. Most of the reduction will come from the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the fine print of the proposed 2012 budget, the Pentagon will actually see a 15 percent increase in its base budget, the budget not devoted to ongoing wars, by 2016.