What Is Your Political Platform? Ep. 1: Defense

Democracy works best when the constituency is well-informed and well-educated. When populations are well-informed and well-educated, issues and concerns could be discussed in thoughtful and contemplative ways.

As the United States is a Representative Democracy, we elect similarly-minded individuals to represent our views within the Senate and the House of Representatives. How do we know if these people are similarly-minded? When we vote, do we have in mind our own political platform? Or, do we stumble into the voting both with a grasp of only a couple relevant issues, then place our vote into the hands of The Fates or Divine Provenance?

Over the last year, I’ve been working on my own Political Platforms. I’m not preparing to run for office. I’m merely detailing my positions more formally in order to accomplish a couple tasks. First, I want to see what my positions look like on paper. Sometimes, our thoughts seem rational, only to have them seem like maniacal rantings when translated to paper. Second, to engage, encourage, and share the notion that everyone of voting age should have some idea of what their positions on important issues is, and also why that position is held. I could see this being a good exercise for high school students, or college students in political science courses.

Therefore, I offer up my positions as a template.

Defense:

The United States spends between $600-$700 billion per year on our military. Spending on defense outweighs all other spending, in my opinion, and hinders U.S. economic growth and undermines U.S. financial stability, a far greater security concern. Thus, I outline a number of proposed changes to the Department of Defense.

  1. Withdrawal from Afghanistan – Unless the U.S. wants to make Afghanistan our 51st state, chances of bringing much stability into the lives of 55 million Afghanis is extremely low. With Iran on one side, and hostile Pakistan on the other, success of creating a stabile government in Afghanistan inside of 5 years is too low. China is much closer, the logistics of Chinese exploitation of Afghani natural resources much more reasonable, and the cost of maintaining a U.S. presence is prohibitively expensive, in terms of human life, and in real dollars.
  2. Withdrawal from Iraq – President Obama has made withdrawal from Iraq a foregone conclusion. Again, too many lives have been lost, and too many billions of dollars have been lost in engaging in changing a regime that could very well be lost again once U.S. withdrawal is complete. Americans need to understand that most of the people living in the Arab World have lived under oppressive and highly restrictive governments for at least 3-4 generations. Most  people know nothing other than living under repression, threats of physical violence, and constant government vigilance. When regimes fall, people have little in the way of social skills related to social conduct, social networks, and social support systems. Thus, violence and chaos ensue in the absence of social supports. Iraq will no doubt “restructure” itself after complete U.S. withdrawal. Our attempts to “manipulate” the political progress in any Middle Eastern country should be avoided, other than direct and overt diplomatic interaction. In other words, merely because we don’t like the leadership doesn’t mean we have carte blanche to remove said leadership, e.g. Iran.
  3. Maintain the U.S. Naval Base in Qatar and Bahrain
  4. Maintain the U.S. Air Force Base in Uzbekistan
  5. Reduce military installations in Europe
  6. Cancel proposed “Missile Defense Shield” in Europe
  7. Maintain Southeast Asia & East Asia naval presence
  8. Optimize the number of foreign bases; close & consolidate oversees military bases (mostly Europe)
  9. Scrutinize all military spending. As much as possible, allow for purchase of OTS (off the shelf) products whenever possible. All current and future weapon systems should be audited and evaluated.
  10. Increase Human Intelligence networks globally (Foreign Policy)
  11. Increase Diplomatic presence globally
  12. Eliminate “Libya”-style piggyback conflicts. Unless otherwise “invited,” no “limited engagement” to support local skirmishes or quasi-popular uprisings.
  13. Fund future weapon systems research and development, particularly those technologies dealing with aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic drones, passive (non-lethal) systems, and energy-based weapons.
  14. Fully support military staff retirement, Veterans Affairs, social, family, and rehabilitative services
  15. Create a Cyber Warfare Division
  16. Research and Development of energy/fuel sources

Many plans and policies in most government agencies spillover to other elements of government. For example, while increasing the U.S. diplomatic presence abroad technically would fall within the purview of Department of State, diplomats have historically been the bellwethers of change when conditions change in a given country. Diplomats are the 5 Senses of the United States.

My list is not fully detailed but gives the reader some idea of what I look for in a political discussion that includes elements of defense. My views represent an odd dichotomy; from an early age, I’ve loved thinking about cool weapons, lasers, rail guns, smart missiles, etc. I studied extensively both U.S. and Soviet military weapons. Having great and powerful weapons can create a near-insurmountable force that gives enemies pause. On the other hand, though, I am not a fan of the Military Industrial Complex that is now driving our country, a presence Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about.

I prefer to build a “smart, fast, effective, efficient, and precise” military.

Next: Domestic Policy

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