Have a new short article up at IVN.us:
Debt Traps, Defense and the Danger of Decline
Traditionally, in American politics, questions of budget deficits and national debt were seen as purely domestic issues that only had ancillary effects on foreign policy. The situation today is different: debt has become a strategic problem not only because of the magnitude of American debt ($14 trillion), but because our major allies and adversaries are interlocked economically and have their own severe systemic debt and monetary issues. Even China, which enjoys high GDP growth rates, has a crisis of “hidden debt” that reputedly exceeds $1.6 trillion and may, in fact, be several times larger. Among the great powers, when it comes to accumulating risky amounts of debt, no one has clean hands.
….However, enthusiasm in Washington for shrinking the numerous missions given to the military to line them up with the Pentagon’s reduced capabilities is nonexistent. This may fool the voters back home, but it doesn’t deceive mullahs in Teheran or North Korean generals that the American ability to respond in a crisis has been circumscribed by capability and costs, particularly when key American allies like Britain and France have made sharp defense reductions of their own. Realistically, we are effective now for one crisis at a time and our ability to juggle any other major problems will be extremely limited, removing some of the “super” from our superpower status that Americans are accustomed to….
Read the rest here.