Battlefield victory no longer wins wars, so let’s stop wasting trillions of dollars on it.

By Sean McFate, The Hill

The only winner so far in Russia’s war against Ukraine is the U.S. Department of Defense and the beltway oligarchy that feeds it. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamic and Northrop Grumman have seen their stocks rise sharply since the invasion started. On Capitol Hill, the war has become a rallying cry to increase U.S. defense spending. Forty Republicans from the Senate and House Armed Services Committees urged President Biden to include a 5 percent increase above inflation for defense in his proposed 2023 budget. Even some Democrats are pushing for more spending, despite Biden already boosting the Pentagon’s budget by nearly $30 billion in 2023.

Lockheed Martin showroom in Singapore

Yet, the defense budget — a whopping $773 billion — is larger than Saudi Arabia’s GDP. That’s more discretionary funding than the rest of the interagency combined, and accounts for 11 percent of all federal spending. The U.S. spends more on its military than the next 11 biggest militaries combined, including Russia and China, and has for years.

Why does everyone assume more money equates to more security? Gargantuan defense budgets did not win American wars in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, where we struggled against luddites fighting in flip-flops, with AK-47s and pickup trucks. It’s the definition of insanity to think more money now will help against nuclear powers with hegemonic ambitions.

Rather than throw money at the problem, let’s try solving it. We have a strategic IQ problem — the same one Russian President Vladimir Putin has.

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