Maintaining an Empire is expensive….
It’s still debatable if it’s sustainable. The history of empires and their inevitable debt accumulation teaches us that collapse becomes guaranteed. The bureaucracies become so entrenched that change becomes politically impossible. Leaders can only pander and go along for the ride. The ship of state flounders because entrenched interest squabble over every penny of income. Nothing constructive or important to better the common good gets done.
However, this collapse can take centuries. Or in our case, a bomb could go off and send us into the stone age. Better to plan for the system to continue cause if it doesn’t you better have large army to
save your ass.
The United States currently has troops in 140 countries around the world. We are actively involved in shooting wars in three countries, going on a decade now. We will spend nearly $700B on defense in 2010 — almost as much as the “generational theft” stimulus bill — and this doesn’t count the billions we spend on Homeland Security. And all for a single year of “defense.”
So Ann Coulter agrees with everything Ron Paul says, except for that trillion or so a year she wants to keep spending to maintain a US Empire. Or, put another way — Coulter and the neoconservatives that have taken over the Republican Party want Ron Paul’s pre-WWI, pre-Fed, pre-Social Security, pre-IRS federal government — to go with LBJ’s Great Society military.
This notion that you can have “small government” while maintaining a global empire and fighting a “Global War on Terror” is obviously nonsense, and even William F. Buckley recognized that. Here’s Buckley, arguing during the Cold War that conservatives had to embrace “Big Government” (from Julian Zelizer’s Arsenal of Democracy):