September 11, 2012

The West's 'Hard Power' Deficit

Gary Schmitt, Los Angeles Times

AP Photo

When it comes to "hard power," the West is in steep decline. Virtually every nation in Europe is cutting its defense budget. Japan refuses to spend more than 1% of its gross domestic product on defense. And Australia is slashing its military budget, leaving it at just 1.5% of GDP, the smallest ratio in more than seven decades. Now add in the cuts of more than $800 billion in current and planned spending on U.S. defenses, with the prospect of nearly $500 billion more over the next 10 years. The result is a Western defense capability that is rapidly shrinking in size, has too little invested in future technologies and is increasingly wary of any conflict that would require sustained operations.

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TAGGED: Afghanistan, NATO, Japan, Europe, United States

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