Here's a fun task. Let's take the U.S. military budget, and then add up the budgets of the next few countries in the ranked list of spending until we get to the same number. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. spent $663.2 bn on defense in 2008. Let's start with China, who had the second-biggest military outlay, and keep adding until we get to $663.2 bn:
OK, we've now got the entire permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council, the four biggest militaries in the world after our own. Done? Nope. Let's keep adding.
8. Saudi Arabia
Right. Now the list contains all the principal belligerents from World War II, and accounts for nearly half the world's population. (The U.S. has about 5% of the world's people.) We're done, right?
No. Keep going:
11. South Korea
Seriously? There's more?
Whew! We're done. You have to add up the military budgets of the next 16 countries to get to ours.
As you listen to the anti-deficit bloviating of Congressional Republicans over the next few weeks, ask yourself why none of them has brought up this fact. Do Americans really believe that the U.S. should spend 7 times more than China on defense? Or that we should be the only Western country to spend more than 3% of GDP on defense? Or that other countries to win the #1 position on military spending either by GDP or gross expenditures include the USSR and Imperial Rome?
And we're arguing about de-funding public television as a way to balance the budget?