Starve the Beast

  • Richard Ned Lebow


In the post-Cold War era, the US continues to devote a disproportionate percentage of its wealth to developing and maintaining extraordinary military capabilities. Most countries cut back on their armed forces in the aftermath of the Cold War, but US spending went up. Between 2001 and 2010 the US defense budget increased by 128 percent. In 2003, the US spent $417 billion on defense, 47 percent of the world total. In 2008, it spent 41 percent of its national budget on the military and its two ongoing wars. In absolute terms this was twice the total of Japan, Russia, the UK, Germany, and China combined. On 16 March 2017, President Trump submitted his request to Congress for $639 billion in military spending, which represented a 10 percent increase over Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. With a total federal budget of $3.9 trillion for FY2018, the increase in military spending is predicated on deep cuts to many other federal agencies and domestic programs, as well as the State Department. For FY2019, Trump’s budget would boost military spending by $94 billion.

The Pentagon has used its funding to establish a global military reach; it is the only state with this capability.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ned Lebow
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.King’s CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Pembroke CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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