Guest Post: Economic Weakness Creates Military Weakness

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by LToddWood via,

It has happened over and over again throughout history.  Nations, empires, and dynasties have made bad economic decisions which lead to their own destruction.  The scenario usually goes something like this--one generation sacrifices and works hard to overcome global challenges and creates an economic powerhouse, which in turn allows it to project military power.  Follow on generations take their elders work for granted and ignore and even denigrate the fruits of hard labor, they just want the benefits and start giving away the spoils for free.  The next generation indulges itself in sloth and corruption and is overrun by the barbarians. 

The Roman Empire was famous for giving out bread and circuses to satiate the citizens of Rome, all the while devaluing their currency with less and less precious metal.  They ignored their financial obligations to their military.  The Emperor became corrupt, handing out favors only to those closest to him and persecuting the opposition while ignoring the very real threats to the north until it was too late.  The Spanish also devalued their currency by reducing the precious metal content as they fought wars all over the world.  We all know how that turned out.  After WWI, the Deutschmark to the Dollar exchange rate was 4 to 1.  In order to pay their war reparations, the Weimar Republic started printing money.  A few short years later it was four million to one USD.  This destroyed the German economy and gave Hitler an opening to power. 

Today with convoys of Russian troops rolling through the Crimean Peninsula and Hind helicopter gunships controlling the skies, one doesn’t have to look far to see evidence of American weakness.  Whether or not you can understand the Russian position, the bottom line is that Putin does not fear a Western reaction to Russia projecting power in Ukraine.  This situation is the latest in a long list of examples of American economic weakness leading to serious national security threats.  Iran continuing to develop nuclear weapons, Syria defying the Russian brokered agreement to destroy its chemical weapons, Russia granting Snowden asylum, North Korea going nuclear, China threatening Japan, are a direct result of an absence of a serious American response or perceived threat.

Why is America no longer credible when our president draws a red line or two or three?  It is not just that Obama is a weak leader and naive in foreign affairs, although that is certainly true. It is because American owes $17 trillion dollars, a good chunk of  it to our adversaries.   It is because we are cutting the meat from our defense budget in order to fund bread and circuses to keep the people happy.  It is because pilots in the Air Force are flying the same tail numbers their grandfathers did.  The U.S. military used to train and equip to fight two wars simultaneously.  Now the world knows America is broke and cannot even sustain one long term conflict financially.  This status of affairs has not just happened under Obama.  A long list of Democratic and Republican administrations have not spent our money wisely.  And our allies in Europe are in no better shape.  In fact, their defense situation is worse after decades of relying on the Americans and running up their debt to GDP ratio as well. 

At some point, the FED will lose control of the bond market no matter how much money they print.  Then interest rates will be set based on the credit risk of the United States.  This will cause interest rates to shoot higher.  Each percent rise in interest rates is approximately $200 billion in increased debt service costs for the United States.  Soon the majority of the federal budget will go to paying interest and entitlements and defense will be squeezed even harder.  We have not even begun to see austerity yet.  This interest rate shock will also hurt the economy.  Do you remember the twenty percent mortgage rates in the seventies?  Federal revenue will shrink at the same time expenses are rising.  The future is not pretty.

America only has a short time to deal with this problem.  We need to stop spending money we don’t have and we need to grow the economy.  The government needs to get out the way.  If you are in a hole and want to get out the first thing you need to do is stop digging.

It is not our generation that will suffer.  It will be your children and grandchildren.  Do you hear that commotion to the north?  The barbarians are coming.

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McMolotov's picture

Yep, America's hat is planning an invasion.

And God how I wish we had more money to spend bombing those fucking Russians!


EscapingProgress's picture

When the barbarians are at the gate I'm joining them.

McMolotov's picture

Barbarians usually know how to have a good time, unless they're the kind who drone wedding parties.

Timmay's picture

300 million+ firearms in the U.S.


Just sayin'....

Anusocracy's picture

"The scenario usually goes something like this--"

some environmental effect alters the genetic make up of a population which increases the number of productive people relative to the psychopaths thereby allowing more economic success and growth.

You know - like early America.

ArkansasAngie's picture

As far as I'm concerned Snowden is a hero.  I wish we had more heros like him.

But you are correct.  American has over played it's hand and our government has parlied our economy down the tubes.

sushi's picture

American has over played it's hand


Cannot see how. POTUS had over 900 staffers in his entourage to Europe. Are you suggesting that this constitutes waste?

Speaking about drawing future red lines is also a very economical way of forcing opponents to conform to our world view.

Statements such as FUCK THE EU are bold and clear policy statements that energize our allies and ensure a co-ordinated response to serious threat.

americanspirit's picture

Snowden is definitely a hero - and the assholes in the US intelligence community are not. THAT is why they hate him - not because he revealed secrets. Because he is a man with a big heart and plenty of courage and they are slimey little bureaucrats. Let's not forget how often the US intelligence community has been penetrated all the way to the top - Anyone remember Aldrich Ames? They are losers and that's why they are haters.

mc225's picture

--one generation sacrifices and works hard to overcome global challenges and creates an economic powerhouse, which in turn allows it to project military power. --


yeah, the original statement was corny.


how about, 'one generation survives virtually unscathed, a war where every other major industrial base is shelled/bombed into oblivion; and surviving power dominates the world economy on the basis of being the only remaining game in town'. then they help rebuild germany/japan, and offshore a lot more to china, etc.

but they have always (since 1913) had funny money, and a strange sense -- going way back -- of 'god being on their side'; and -- with help from the likes of dr. seuss -- the masses were thus easily propagandized into believing they were 'the good guys'. yada yada ymmv

10mm's picture

That's gonna be one hell of a light show.

Anusocracy's picture

The barbarians have been running Washington for a long time.

McMolotov's picture

Like I said below, they simply bathed, got haircuts, and bought fancy clothes. Some of us can still smell them, though.

Ifigenia's picture

the jews are not barbarians they have a long history, since the time of ancient egipt.

Jreb's picture

"The inmates have been running Washington for a long time."

There fixed it.

fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

Seems to me that terrorists spend way to much time at weddings. If they spent more time killing Infidels, the Infidels would lack the manpower to drone them. Less terrorists weddings and more Infidel killing and the problem will resolve itself.

Manthong's picture

Also, the fewer infidels and drones, the fewer terrorist funerals there are to drone..

Seems to me like you’ve got a virtuous cycle going there.  : - )

Socratic Dog's picture

They spend a bit too much time collecting firewood on hillsides, to.  Especially the old lady and children terrorists.  Makes it just too damn easy for our heroic drone jockeys.

Firewood and weddings.  Who woulda guessed it would be so easy to ID the terr's?

harlanaladd's picture

These aren't exactly Barbarians (they're Cossacks) but they clearly do know how to have a good time:


Not too far from Crimea, come to think of it...

WB7? For in some other context?

RafterManFMJ's picture

It is not our generation that will suffer. It will be your children and grandchildren.

Nah-Pretty sure they will simply refuse the debt bondage and then - should the Wamphyri press the issue with taxes that reach the level of bondage then conflict will ensue.

That which cannot be paid, will not be. Deal.

GooseShtepping Moron's picture

That which cannot be paid, will not be. Deal.

That may be true as far as it goes, but it doesn't change the fact that our society will still weaken to a degree proportionate with the unpaid debt. Repudiating the paper debt only solves the accounting problem, not the economic problem.

We paid for our current standard of living with all of that debt; with the "time-preference" it bought us we were able to shift an enormous amount of future spending into the present, and it also allowed us to financially repress the rest of the world through the petro-dollar system. Without the ability to take on similar debt loads in the future, the current level of spending cannot possibly continue. Therefore living standards will have to decline.

In other words, the debt will be "paid" one way or another, if not from current revenues then with reduced future purchases.

(EDIT: I wasn't the one who junked you, by the way.)

BigJim's picture

 We paid for our current standard of living with all of that debt

Who is this 'we' you speak of, white man? 

Freddie's picture

F MIC!  This article talks about the Air Force flying old planes.  BS.  The system, Pentagon and country is totally corrupt.  It is run by the crony capitalists, billionaires, defense contractors, banks et al.

The USA has spent a few trillion on the F-35 which is a piece of shit and the F-22 is not much better.   The Russians spend 1/10 of what America does on defense and their jets and missiles are state of the art. 

Putin is too smart to get into endless wars because the USSR empire imploded because the USSR did all the stupid empire crap the USSA is doing.  The police/intell/surveil state probably has a budget of $200 billion or more.

Finally, any country who would elect Obama will fail and deserves to fail.  There are no real elections in Amerika anyway.  I doubt real elections have occurred since before The banksters Civil War.

CH1's picture

Rah, rah military? Fuck NO!

NeoCon shit.

I'm NOT interested in the US military bombing the shit out of brown people to prove that we're all still virile.

Ifigenia's picture

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years."  Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr

Even this Cassius had more balls than Baracus

Ar-Pharazôn's picture

"those who are fighting for their own justice"


Yeah, vietnamese freedom...........................

WeAreScrewed's picture

"No Vietnamese ever called me nigger."

McMolotov's picture

I'm convinced that some people are fixated on the bogeyman of military weakness because they link military supremacy to their own sense of manhood. What's even more sad is that those who are the most vocal in support of moar military adventures are often those who've never been in the military. They live vicariously through the violent exploits of others.

They're right to be questioning their manhood.

NickVegas's picture

I'm pretty sure we spend more on "defense" than the rest of the world combined. So we should fix "the problem" by spending more, with the same people, to the same end. Hmmmm, good analysis.

sushi's picture

a piece of shit composed of 9 million lines of non-working code

Fixed it for you

Payne's picture

without a good economy there is no reliable military.  No supply lines no support.

Ifigenia's picture

and without sheeps there are no cannon folders

rubiconsolutions's picture

What a load of bovine scat. Economic weakness creates military weakness? How about military domination creating economic weakness? America has been at war - or some semblance thereof - for a hundred years and it weakened the country. War is the health of the state. And America is terminal.

Buck Johnson's picture

Or the US decides to attack Canada and take over the country.  We are done.

semperfi's picture

and the barbarians are at the gates

McMolotov's picture

They're already here. The American government is comprised of barbarians in $1000 suits.

CH1's picture

They're already here. The American government is comprised of barbarians in $1000 suits.

Yes! Yes! YES!!!  +100

sushi's picture

Don't forget the green anal beeds and the high tech cardboard communications systems.

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

The real barbarians are in the White House already!

drendebe10's picture

Let's hear it for the fudge packer in chief!

Caveman93's picture

Google searched "

"Economic Weakness Creates Military Weakness" = "Why did the Articles of Confederation fail"

Is Google Compromised?

mc225's picture

are you saying that maybe someone 'gamed' google to put 'articles of the confederation' front and center? coo



SaulRosenberg's picture

I have a deep understanding of history. I can assure you this time it is truly different. America is the first country who's finances are run by 'Jews' and they will not allow their finances to fail!

Seasmoke's picture

Better be Careful Saul. The natives are getting restless.

pot_and_kettle's picture

as long as the economy keeps feeding lobbyists like AIPAC and continues to keep Apartheid Israel afloat, right saul?