Sponsored Content
« Top Headline Comments 4-12-11 | Main | Economics at AoSHQ U: Part 1 - The Economy »
April 12, 2011

A Note on Military Spending

Alternate Title: Pie Charts Are Hard

Leftists and Doug Mataconis stumbled on this graph yesterday and immediately jumped to the wrong conclusions.


Here's Doug (and I don't mean to pick on him specifically, but he summarizes the overall leftist response to this chart):

Now I think we can draw a few conclusions from this information:

1. There is no nation on the planet that poses a real threat to the United States in the way that the USSR during the Cold War. Russia’s share of worldwide military spending is less than the United Kingdom’s and equal to that France. Our military spending is six times larger than that of China. That’s not to say that there aren’t threats out there, but the idea of any nation posing existential threat to the United States is, I think, off the table
2. Our allies (the U.K., France, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan, and the vast number of nations that make up “Other”) can afford to pay more toward their own defense than they are now.
3. We could afford to make serious cuts in our defense budget without threatening our own security.

At the outset, Doug's first "conclusion" casually dismisses the possibility of an "existential threat" to the United States. Unmentioned are threats to national security of a lesser nature, as if to say that since lesser threats are survivable for some of Americans that some losses are acceptable to Doug.

Consider also that the U.S. responds to even lesser threats by altering, sometimes drastically, national policy. I'm not sure how Doug feels about "enhanced interrogations", but for the liberals he's lining up with such interrogations themselves represent an existential threat to the America they believe in.

Finally, I want you to note the assumption that is made in the first conclusion, because we're going to come back to it later: he assumes that defense spending is correlated to national security. High defense spending relative to other countries means existential security. Remember that, because it's going to come back in a minute.

Doug's second "conclusion", that our allies can afford to spend more on their own defense, is probably true, but not evident from the chart. And it's not evident from the chart for the same reason that his third "conclusion" isn't: the chart doesn't have a thing to say about national security.

As far as our allies, the question of how much they can afford to pay for more defense depends first of all on whether they have the money to spare or divert from other spending. But it also depends on how much desire they have to exert force abroad. The United States takes a very pro-active stance when it comes to securing national interests in places other than mainland America. Most other countries don't because they can't.

As for the third conclusion, that we can cut defense spending without harming national security, this is nothing more than a preexisting delusion that Doug and the other liberals who passed that chart around yesterday possess. It may be true, but as I said, the chart says nothing about national security.

More importantly, the third conclusion directly contradicts Doug's first conclusion. Remember, he just got through saying that high defense spending means that there is no existential threat to the United States and implying that defense spending is correlated with national security. All that goes out the window in the third conclusion. Now, rather than correlated, Doug wants you to believe that we can "make serious cuts in our defense budget without threatening our own security."

The Left's conclusions about this chart aren't really conclusions at all. They're just a list of ever-present beliefs about defense spending in the United States. They would have reacted to a chart of random values the same way.

digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:43 AM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
The Unfaucinated and Unmasked Ranger - Longing to Lie in Zooey Deschanel's Bosom for Comfort: "Poll: 71% of Americans Say There Are Only 2 Gender ..."

sockamster, gator: "Joe S is spiking the football on biden. these p ..."

jim (in Kalifornia): "298 It is necessary to get a permit to sing the Na ..."

polynikes: "Posted by: Just Lily at June 02, 2023 01:00 PM (5k ..."

Anonosaurus Wrecks, Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? [/s] [/b] [/i]: "Bigots everywhere you look! Poll: 71% of Americ ..."

That's the sanitized and truncated version: " Everyone except it's me donna and occasionally Ma ..."

Fool Me Once: "[i] I am a new grandad. 8lb 8oz baby girl. Everyon ..."

Sponge - F*ck Joe Biden: "[i]@JoeNBC Make no mistake. Biden crushed the ext ..."

Huck Follywood: "231 225 This blonde in a dress firmly believes tha ..."

... : "A TOTALLY different list. ..."

LinusVanPelt: "162: Elaine Benes: did you get my file? Kramer: ..."

[/i][/b][/s][/u]I used to have a different nic: "[i]Lol. Hunter is going to use the 2A and Bruen as ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64