This is coolbert:
From a comment to a previous blog entry:
"I never thought you would take this position. It is certainly mine and more . . . It would be good to learn your further thoughts on a post imperial defense posture."
And the reply is in the nutshell - - BUDGET CONSTRAINTS pure and simple.
The money does not exist NOW and for the foreseeable future to maintain the "imperial" presence, such a military posture being also neither desirable or needed.
Budgetary constraints foremost I would suggest is the primary consideration and well should be!
The Federal government presently BORROWS 40 % of what is needed for the yearly budget. That of itself is unsustainable in the long run.
Defense spending reductions will be mandated and absolutely necessary as part of a holistic solution to the budget problem. CUTS! Half a dozen aircraft carriers rather than twelve. A thousand F-35 rather 2,000! Troop strength reduced across the board at overseas bases, NATO, Japan, Korea. Etc.
Downsizing! An inability to pay your bills or gather the necessary revenues or taxes to meet expenditures meaning at some point unless drastic action taken NO ONE making future loans to you.
Understood within the context of American legislators currently unable and unwilling to take decisive and drastic measures as needed. The current debate only concerned with limiting further INCREASES in the deficit and not eliminating that deficit or paying off the national debt!
From over sixty years ago the Secretary of Defense sounding very similar to Mr. Gates:
"There's no reason for having a Navy and Marine Corps. General Bradley tells me that amphibious operations are a thing of the past. We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do nowadays, so that does away with the Navy." - - Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson, December 1949. Revolt of the Admirals.
NOT necessarily eliminating the current Navy and Marine Corps, but merely downsizing, lean and mean, bare bones! Threats to the extent that they exist managed and thwarted using various degrees of power to include but not limited to the use of military force! And a realization that times have just changed!
Think of the British in the aftermath of World War Two as the down-sizing archetype!
Singapore, Aden, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar and no more a slow and steady return to the home islands, retrenchment and reality as mandated by BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS!
That modern welfare state is not cheap. Trying to provide the combination of guns and butter is difficult if not impossible when the taxpayer/recipient ratio\ goes from 7:1 to 2:1! This is not going to be easy and it should not be suggested otherwise!