US Defense Spending

US Defense Spending

Graphic in support of This is for 2012.

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defense spending

Maybe the US would not need to spend so much if its allies would spend more? As you can see Russia and China outspend all others listed on the graphic. Even NATO nations are spending very little. Obama's "leading from behind" fiasco put NATO member nations front and center during the recent Libya situation. It was plain to see NATO member nations had not spent enough on defense when they had to get more bombs from the US.

Is it any wonder Putin is being so bold in the Ukraine?

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

You need better news

Why don't we invite Russia and China to join NATO and then there would be no "them" to fight and we can all cut our budgets?

So... This guy was Assistant secretary of the treasury under Ronald Reagan and he happened to pursue Russian studies at Oxford. He has a rational perspective. The interview is over 40 minutes and covers Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, the EU, and the US.

40 minute video

Sorry but I have a Claro USB 3G modem that would make the real-time download of a 40 minute video turn into hours. So, there is zero chance I have the patience to watch it.

I am curious. Why are you listening to a secretary of the treasury? I doubt he was involved in national security issues on a daily basis.

To answer you question: We don't invite Russia and China to join NATO because NATO was formed specifically to oppose Russia (at that time the USSR). Some have suggested NATO needs reform as the USSR no longer exists, and maybe they have a valid point. Still, given the recent developments, I think it is clear some type of NATO type alliance is needed to counter an aggressive Russian empire (I added the word "empire" so the people who call the US an empire can see how a real empire looks like and behaves) .

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

I was playing devil's advocate

I'm fully aware of NATO and why we believe it *was* needed. What's happening now is, after baiting Russia for 20 years, when we're meddling with countries on their doorstep and where their important southern naval base is located (and not their only base there) when they finally respond, we act, and acting is what it is, like they are the aggressors. It's an act, just like weapons of mass destruction, and there is still enough Cold War mentality around that people will fall for it. I thought Putin showed much restraint.

The west essentially sponsored a coup to get rid of the corrupt democratically elected Prime Minister they had helped get elected, and now they have appointed (illegally) an ex-central banker, friendly to the IMF, to sell off Ukraine's national oil and gas company to the highest bidder. Incidentally, Ukraine is criss crossed with pipelines.

By treaty with Ukraine, Russia is allowed to have 25,000 troops in Crimea but the west is calling the presence of the less than 25,000 who were there all along, an invasion, and our media doesn't know any better - it's laughable. Unlike the coup in western Ukraine, the referendum in Crimea was legal - and our governments know this - and this is one of the reasons why we're hitting them with token sanctions with no intention of going to war, but there *is* a group that wants war.

By baiting, what I mean is after they convince a former eastern block country to join NATO, the next step is to bribe them to accept missiles that are then pointed at Russia.

The gentleman in the interview, Paul Craig Roberts, served during Reagan's time and had specialized in Russia. As well as working in government at that time, he has been a defence consultant, WSJ editor, political author, blah, blah.

The Europeans really don't want to take on Russia. Obama looks like he's being pushed into it and may have found a way to save face with the sanctions. If Russia really wanted to be nasty, they would dump their US Treasury bills and start selling oil and gas in any currency except the USD - that would spell the end of the dollar and the US economy. Roberts points out that Putin's actions are measured and not designed to escalate, but this hasn't stopped the US media from crazy speculations.

umm... sorry, no...

The pertinent part of Article 73 of the Ukrainian constitution states:

“Alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the All-Ukrainian referendum”

Crimea is the national territory of Ukraine and its constitutional laws govern. Punto.

As to the right of secession quoted variously throughout the lame-stream media, it's settled international law that territory cannot be annexed simply because the people who happen to be living there today want to secede. If that were permissible under international law, we'd see the nations of Basquelandia, Kurdlandia, and Quebec. Add the nation of Chechnya to that list if you'd like.

If Crimean citizens wish to be citizens of Russia -- move there.

Bottom line: the referendum violated Ukraine's constitution which specifically contemplates changes to national territory and, with specificity, provides a mechanism for accomplishing such changes.

Let's move on to your assertion regarding Russian troops in Crimea and discuss what is truly "laughable". You are correct that the treaty so blatantly breached by Putin permits up 25,000 Russian military personnel to serve "on leased Russian military bases and ships assigned to the Black Sea Fleet". Augmentation of forces up to the limit are permissible under protocols of the treaty which include prior notification to the Ukrainian central government. No such notification was made.

Furthermore, and what is truly laughable, the treaty never ever contemplated armed Russian soldiers, in armored vehicles, roaming around Crimea wearing NO national insignia and hiding behind balaclavas! The absurdity of claiming the treaty permits such behavior is disingenuous (at best).

Lastly, before I encroach further into "someone" else's propensity for verbosity, let's briefly touch on:

If Russia really wanted to be nasty, they would dump their US Treasury bills and start selling oil and gas in any currency except the USD - that would spell the end of the dollar and the US economy.

This concept seems to be the (wet) dream of every tin-pot despot and lame-stream media anti-USA commentator. In fact, Putin dumped around US$100 billion in T-bills a few weeks back just before round one of sanctions. Probably (pure speculation) a hedge to cover the oligarchs in his innermost circle. The point is over US$15 trillion are oustanding and openly traded.

But for Russia to dump the dollar and it's t-bill holdings would disrupt the US economy -- it would not be ruinous. At least not to the US but rather to the Russian economy. Nobody in the world holds rubles and, outside of arbitrage strategies, nobody wants the damned things!

In fact, Putin can't find a buyer in the bond market auctions right now and is resorting to direct sales to pensions and banks to fund his current accounts -- something failed/failing economies do as a last resort (see Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, et al).


The former democratically elected president is now encouraging the other states to hold referendums.

To whom would Russia make a request to augment forces when they refuse to recognize the current government? They recognized the previous democratically elected government but not the one appointed by the west after the coup.

You're assuming armed balaclava clad troops are Russian when the country is full of Academi (formerly Blackwater). Have they started investigations yet on the snipers that were firing at both sides of the crowd on Feb. 20? Any other place that has 100 people killed would investigate immediately.

Russia doesn't need to accept rubles - they can accept whatever they want besides the USD. The BRICS have already agreed to drop the dollar for trade between them.

Russia "forced" by sanctions

Russia "forced" by sanctions to carry out what Putin has planned for a long time. No need to waste a good crisis.

Sell Is Going To

work great, Not so sure how the buy part will happen.

How do people repatriate those rubles:

And more recently:

They COULD trade them for Venezuelan Bolivars or ALBA Suckers . . .but Venezuela sells its oil denominated in dollars,, so that leaves beans in Nicaragua as a possible purchase.

So, A Russian buys a piece of IT work from me, pays me in Rubles. I convert the rubles into ALBA Suckers and use them to buy Nicaraguan red beans. I guess that would work OK, until Nicaragua quits taking Suckers and starts asking for dollars. Then I could exchange the rubles for Iranian Rials (they are on the uptick from their 45% devaluation, a plus), and buy pistachios with the Rials.

Good Luck on this one, Mr. Putin.

And you know

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa were already dropping the dollar for trade between them so you don't need to worry - I think they will be okay.

What Are They

using instead of the dollar?

I remember ten years ago when the Euro was being touted as the new alternative to the dollar. ..

Why do the Chinese and the Saudis keep buying our T-Bills?

Iran settles a lot of its bills with gold now that its currency is worthless.

And why does the Nicaraguan Cordoba continue to slide against the dollar?

Some answers


The Euro is a viable alternative to the US$. It was created with a value equal to the US$. It has had its ups and downs but, right now, it is about $1.38. It is, of course, used in Europe. Getting rid of exchange costs has been a big benefit. Petroleum trades have been in US$. At least Iran and Venezuela were going to change to Euros and, well, they became bad guys.

Why do the Chinese and the Saudis keep buying our T-Bills?

Because they have no choice. The US owes them a lot of money and there isn't much the US produces that they want. China seems to be on the way to turning its currency into something for international use. China's buy-up of lots of gold is going to help with the credibility. One thing the Saudis have been doing is investing heavily in solar power but they clearly still have lots of US$ to get rid of.

Iran settles a lot of its bills with gold now that its currency is worthless.

You seem to have left out cause and effect. Their currency is worthless because of trade sanctions and the US government closing bank accounts. This has forced them to find an alternative which, for the most part, is gold. For example, they sell petroleum to India for gold.


China has also been buying resource companies.

Because its designed to

Nicaragua has a very vulnerable economy and inflation strikes the poorest the hardest, those surviving from one day to the next. Nic has a quasi-dollarized economy but wages are not dollarized, people get paid in córdobas but pay for things at dollarized prices. The 5% per annum pegged deflation could be adjusted but eliminating it could lead to the national currency being overvalued... a much worse situation.


There has been recent talk of a similar system in the US, essentially an internal and external dollar. The cheaper internal dollar would stimulate the economy.

Only One Way

to get the US economy going. It might start to happen this year, and with luck accelerate in 2016.

The trillions of investment capital sitting on the sidelines is going to do nothing but play the stock market until it feels it's not going to be confiscated by a socialist government. If ObamaCare continues its devastation, there will be even more unemployment and, probably worse, under-employment as small business tries to dodge the ObamaCare bullet.

That's just the way it is. It will be up to the kids graduating college every year, whose expectations have been severely diminished, to wake up and turn the country back on the road to recovery.

The food stamp/Occupy/druggie crowd is certainly not going to do it. There is no patriotism or love of country there. Just the love of a free ride on the backs of others.

But, there will be less and less money every year to pay for their food stamps.

Only one way?

I doubt it.

While I don't know as much as you on this one

Yalta was part of Russia at the time Chekov wrote "Lady with a Dog" which I saw as a Russian-language movie sometime in the 1960s where the Russian word for "good" got repeated a lot the way "tranquilo" gets thrown out for all occasions here. The Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula were joined by The Soviet Union apparently for administrative purposes, with no plans of leaving either. Wikipedia has what looks like a decent capsule history.

The Russians under various governments since the fall of the Mongolian occupation have been expanding to the East the way the US expanded into its west, both until they reached the Pacific and started swapping land with each other. Russia continued east until it ran into Japan and managed to grab parts of northern Japan after WW II. The Europeans got to China first, and Britain fought a war to open China to opium sales.

If Mexico took back part of the US that used to be Mexico, the US would react in the same way since the US has the same sort of track record for invading small countries that piss it off for various reasons, sometimes simply having too much oil.

Rebecca Brown

Well, there's more

First, Russia and China have money to spend. The US (and most of its allies) don't.

Now, about Libya. The US decided, for no logical reason, to invade Libya. It order to make it seem internationally legal, the US suckered in some other players. The result is the conversion of Libya from a functional nation to a disaster. In fact, even worse a disaster than Iraq.

As I said, the reason for the graphic was to show how Venezuela spending a bit over $1 billion a year for weapons upgrades was a drop in the bucket. But, I have a problem calling the invasion of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, ... defense. Why, again, is the US so concerned with what Putin is doing in the Ukraine?


Gaddafi was going to start a development fund for the countries of Africa backed by Libya's gold. That would have put it in direct competition with the IMF.

Before they were invaded, Libya had a pretty good quality of life. It was probably the most moderate Muslim country and had the highest per capita income in Africa. They were well ahead in education, rights of women, health, and social development.

Iraq was probably the second most progressive country

…for women in the Middle East and I've read that Israel has some rather nasty gotcha's about divorce.

Rebecca Brown

If this was a line on your business expenses...

The government would deny the expense based on income, other expenditures and the nature of your business.

Lip service

The US has done little more than give lip service. Sanctions against individuals is a small price to pay since Russia has annexed the oil and gas reserves of Crimea. The US doesn't seem overly concerned to me. They are acting in support of their allies, but I see little else happening.

If anyone believes the PRIMARY reason Russia annexed Crimea is to protect ethnic Russians, they are mistaken. Russia has gained billions of dollars in oil. The war for oil crowd seems happy to bash the US for gaining oil reserves it does not have, yet they are silent here.

This is the reason the EU is talking about finding new supplies of oil. If Putin doesn't overplay his hand, he will gain oil reserves as well as EU oil contracts. There is no one in the EU who can stop him and the US has no obligation or need to get involved too deeply at this point.

What will happen if Putin decided to invade the eastern Ukraine? A few more sanctions, a few more meaningless votes by the UN security council? Maybe Europe will actually find alternate sources for fuel, but everyone needs to buy oil and Russia will find new customers.

Europe is certainly not going to start an armed conflict over the Ukraine. At most, there will be a rebel or gorilla based insurrection that is supported by the EU and possibly the US.

"The US decided, for no logical reason, to invade Libya" --is this a typo or did I miss something big?

"First, Russia and China have money to spend. The US (and most of its allies) don't." --True. Some of the EU countries are not spending, like Germany. But, the US is using Keynesian economics and is spending more than ever before. Trillion dollar deficits are the norm. Especially since the federal reserve is (was) buying $80 billion a month in treasury notes.

I actually have no problems with how much Venezuela is spending on defense. I just wanted to submit a different way to interpret the graph. The US has been the biggest defense spender for a long time. Maybe because Russia and China are spending about (looking at the graph) twice as much as every other nation listed.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

Potin is just a thawed out

Potin is just a thawed out KGB cold warrior going back into the freezer. He still has the old geo-political thinking of East vs.West

The one good thing from all of this will be that in order to fight this new Russian imperialism and attempt at renewing a bi-polar world will be increased funding for renewable energy research and deployment. As Russia funds it's imperialism with oil, the West will seek to lower the cost of renewables in order to cut the Russian funding for overseas field-trips. This will also have the benefit of reversing global warming if given to the third world and China. The invasion of Ukraine will bring about a new age of clean renewable energy that's why OBH is not worried about Ukraine.

The Russians knew there

The Russians knew there would be a price for Crimea's liberation from Western fascist influence and to secure the border of the imperial motherland. See link to Russian statements.

Now Obama needs to start the green energy program to give my predictions some credibility. Here in Massachusetts wind energy is being set back because of the visual and noise pollution attributed to wind turbines. Everyone wants to keep their white picket fences and bucolic New England farmstead landscape or seascape unmarred by 400 foot tall wind turbines. It takes a lot of turbines to replace a nuke power plant.

Is it Defense spending

or "Offence" spending?


if you work for the Military or the NSA ha-ha ;-)

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)