One frequently heard refrain from the sky-is-falling brigade is that America's doves have cut down U.S. military spending to the point that the U.S. is seriously threatened by attack by our foes. As we contemplate all those Iraqis and Afghans on their camels taking the Californian beaches, we might keep the following facts in mind:
"World military expenditure in 2004 is estimated to have been $975 billion at constant (2003) prices and exchange rates or $1035 billion in current dollars. This is just 6 per cent lower in real terms than at the 1987/1988 peak of cold war world military spending. ...The major determinant of the world trend in military expenditure is the change in the USA, which makes up 47 per cent of the world total. US military expenditure has increased rapidly during the period 2002-2004 as a result of massive budgetary allocations for the global war on terrorism, primarily for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. These have been funded through supplementary appropriations on top of the regular budget. The supplementary appropriations for this purpose allocated to the Department of Defense for financial years 2003-2005 amounted to approximately $238 billion and exceeded the combined military spending of Africa, Latin America, Asia (except Japan but including China) and the Middle East in 2004 ($193 billion in current dollars), that is, of the entire developing world."
If we feel threatened despite these expenditures, I wonder how the rest of the world feels.