02:41 GMT14 August 2020
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    President Obama's ambitious 2017 military budget proposes a quadrupling in US military expenses in Europe and includes Russia and Iran in its list of threats to the country’s security.

    Author and editorial cartoonist Ted Rall told Loud & Clear host Brian Becker that ramping up the military budget to such an extent could be an epic waste of valuable resources for America. According to the columnist, America is spending enormous amounts of money fighting imaginary threats.

    "There is no indication whatsoever that Iran, China or Russia have military or other designs against the United States, that's all in the paranoid fever dreams of right-wing US foreign policy makers," he said.

    "We don't need a military that is this big. The United States has not been invaded since the war of 1812, we have friendly neighbors to the north and to the south, two huge oceans to protect us, ISIS (Daesh) isn't coming anytime soon, we could easily probably slash 70 percent of the budget."

    Rall believes that by increasing the budget and encouraging a fear of "evil Russians," the US is cultivating global militarism. For many American citizens, at first enthusiastic about Obama's presidency in support of an end to an era of militarism, the 2017 budget reads like a round of failed expectations. Rall blamed the peace disparity on a "clever" presidential campaign.

    "Obama ran in 2007 as an anti-Iraq war candidate, repeatedly accusing the Bush administration of fighting the wrong war at the wrong time," the columnist explained, "But then I remember at the time digging into Obama's senatorial voting record on Iraq…and I found that he had voted in fact six out of six times in order to fund the Iraq war."

    "He never promised to be non-interventionist…or less militaristic or to slash the Pentagon budget. We assumed that he would do that."

    As for the America's "strategic challenges," also mentioned in the proposed budget, Rall suggests that there were genuine peaceful intentions in the beginning, citing Obama's announced plan to improve relations with Russia and to "press the reset button." However, despite considerable power in foreign policy issues, Obama remained intimidated by "the usual Pentagon military industrial complex" and "didn't have the courage" to resist.

    He added that the new military budget increases make America an untrustworthy partner, recalling the Iran Nuclear Deal reached last year and largely contributing to a lessening of tensions between America and Iran. The newly proposed budget still assesses Iran as a threat, requiring additional budget allocations for the military. From the Iranian point of view, there was a deal with Obama, but he now acts as if no deal existed in the first place.

    "It's a mixed signal, and from an Iranian perspective, we kind of have to admire their patience and their tact," Rall observed. "If you look at the US from the outside, we are the ones who look like we can't be trusted and that our word is no good."

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    Tags:
    military budget, US Defense Department, Pentagon, Barack Obama, United States
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