What to watch out for in the US defense bill

The U.S. House of Representatives and the House of Representatives recently passed the 2020 defense authorization bill and sent it to the president for signature. The most interesting content of this bill is that it increased US $ 20 billion from last year to a record US $ 738 billion; second, it decided to establish a space force to make it the sixth U.S. service. In fact, the introduction of this one-day price budget has gone through a long process. It is the product of multiple rounds of bargaining between the two houses and the two parties. The game behind it also reflects the two parties’ perceptions on a series of internal and foreign affairs issues.

The US fiscal year budget starts on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. On August 15 last year, President Trump signed the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2019. This year, the two houses dragged out in December to come up with a version that can be signed by the president. It is indeed late enough, which also reflects the bipartisan struggle. Intense. In fact, the Senate passed its own draft in May this year, and the House version passed in August. However, due to the differences between the two versions, consultation and unification are needed. With Democrats occupying the majority in the House of Representatives, Trump had planned to use a “temporary spending” scheme to avoid the blame of political opponents, but Republican lawmakers believed that this was not good for army building, so there was a long coordination between the two parties in the two houses. Several policies in the House draft were not included in the final version, including provisions prohibiting Trump from using military funds to build the US-Mexico border wall, but the Republican Party also made concessions on issues such as paid vacations for military personnel.

So, what information can be revealed by the current passage of this bill?

First, the two parties have a high degree of consensus in addressing the challenges of China and Russia. The new edition of the US National Security Strategy Report has listed the conflict between major powers as the most important challenge at the moment, and China and Russia have also been listed as major strategic competitors of the United States. This administration has clearly put forward the principle of “America First” after taking office. This “priority” performance in the military field is to widen and challenge the absolute military gap between opponents again to ensure that the United States’ overwhelming military can be used when needed. The advantage is to force the opponent to compromise, and the strong army will spend money, and the two parties have no objection to this. Although the two parties have been struggling to fight each other on many domestic issues, as China and Russia play a greater role internationally and the domestic political climate of the United States is gradually turning, toughening China and Russia has become the current new political correctness. Who are the two parties competing with each other? “More patriotic” is naturally not far behind in increasing military spending.

Second, in the context of the general election, the two parties competed to please military industry groups and related voters. The US 2020 election has begun. Military groups, blue-collar workers serving related companies, military groups and their families have always been important voters in the election. Democracy and the Republican Party dare not offend these “military-industrial complexes.” body”. At the same time, there is a mass psychology in the American society of “supporting the army” and “prosperous army.” It is politicians who do bad things, and soldiers are noble professions. It is only natural to spend more money on national defense and soldiers. Therefore, maintaining high military spending can not only please important voters, but also be understood by many people. Why not?

Third, the two parties can invest in each of them through high military spending. Traditionally, Republicans are more concerned about the military security of the United States, hoping to invest more military spending in the development of high-tech weapons and the construction of asymmetric military forces; Democrats are more concerned about the salary and quality of life of military personnel, and often ask Spend more military spending on issues such as raising military salaries and the length of paid vacation time. If military spending is raised to a suitable level, both parties’ main concerns can be met. While this will inevitably lead to higher government budget deficits and cuts in appropriations in other areas, the Republican Party looks forward to reducing the deficit through tax cuts and cuts in input on topics of interest to the Democrats, and the Democrats are more willing to see Opponents are faltering due to budget deficits, and they have very little political achievement. In this way, they can more easily find targets that can be attacked, which is more concealed than confrontation, and it is more likely to show a positive and cooperative “high spirit.”

Since the final version has been reviewed by both houses of Congress, it is estimated that the issue of the president’s signature is not serious. But I have to say that relying on “military priority” to be alone is just a dream. It is to some extent destroying the balance of the existing international order and pushing the international community back to the “law of the jungle.” In the end, it will only exacerbate conflict and confrontation. A record military budget will not make the United States more secure, nor is it good for world peace and stability.