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特朗普抱怨北约国防支出不足?理由很牵强

Lindsay Koshgarian 2018年07月17日

特朗普希望将安全方面的负担分散到各国,不要让任何一国独自承担。

美国总统特朗普上周在北约峰会上的失礼又上了头条。更糟糕的可能是他还大胆要求北约国家达到随意定下的军费支出数字,当然他这种行为也不是一次两次了。特朗普要求北约国家军费支出达到各国GDP的4%。

公平点说,这个疯狂的想法并不是特朗普突然提出的:2006年开始北约就定下官方目标,军费开支至少达到GDP的2%,而且特朗普也不是第一个提出军费翻倍的人。目前美国军费开支约为GDP的3.5%,第二高的希腊支出比例仅为2.3%。

将军费预算与经济规模挂钩简直愚蠢,相当于说要保住美元就需要更多士兵,仿佛军队要围着一堆不断增加的金条,而不是在保护真正的国土。

然而,特朗普完全支持这套任性无理的计划,根本没有理性思考的意思。他希望将安全方面的负担分散到各国,不要让任何一国独自承担。

如果特朗普真正关心美国利益,那么敦促北约成员国支付更多军费的真实原因就是美国可以少支出一些,腾出空间做些别的事。看起来特朗普理解了该逻辑,至少清楚一部分。

然而事实上,特朗普才没打算缩减军费支出。他要求军费支出增加800亿美元,预算计划还将达到历史高峰的军费水平延续到至少2023年。

今年美国军费支出7000亿美元,已超过国会每年分配1万亿美元军费的一半,这还不包括退伍兵医疗和福利支出。目前军费预算水平超过了越南战争和朝鲜战争期间最高水平。美国也是全球军费支出最多的国家,是俄罗斯和中国军费加在一起的两倍。

如果说军费仍然不够,肯定是使用方式有问题。军费预算如此庞大,难怪美国人们没法享受一些美好的事物,例如全民医疗、托儿服务或廉价高等教育。而这些正好都是在军费很低的欧洲常见的。

当然了,我们并不需要欧洲多花军费才能实现自己少花钱。有些费用完全可以缩减,并不影响国家安全。美国国防部的一项研究显示,国防部浪费在官僚主义上的钱高达1250亿美元。报告被悄悄束之高阁,还好《华盛顿邮报》记者把它挖了出来。

解决方案非常简单:军费支出计划不应根据随意制定的规则,应该根据安全需求。国防部应为《华盛顿邮报》爆出1250亿美元等浪费负责。两党领袖都应该为阿富汗和伊朗旷日持久的战争负责,两场战争花了5.6万亿美元,却并未明显提升国家安全(而且可能弊大于利,因为战乱导致新恐怖主义团伙出现)。

我们不用等其他国。我们可以尽快减少支出不必要的军费,只要当选的领导人有勇气直面洛克希德·马丁、波音和雷神等国防承包商就能实现。每年这三家承包商通过军备订单都能敛得超过3000亿美元。

2012年美国进步与政策研究中心的国家安全专家研究发现,如果能减少炫耀性却无实际效用的武器系统,降低持有核武器数量等,10年内军费预算可削减4400亿美元且不损害国家安全。由于现在军费预算比当时还高,节省的空间可能更大。

省下来的钱可以像欧洲一样投在更需要的地方:全民医疗、补贴托儿、免费高等教育,还有其他能让美国人生活更幸福的领域。这些方面没做好,特朗普可以怪北约的支出规则,但真正的失败是在家里。是他热爱炫耀军事实力而不够重视民生,其实在欧洲很多民生福利早已普及。(财富中文网)

林德赛·科什格里安在美国政策研究学会负责国家重点项目。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

President Trump is already drawing headlines for his gaffes at last week’s NATO conference. But perhaps worse is his bold—but more mainstream—demand that NATO countries meet an arbitrary military spending goal. The president wants NATO countries to spend 4% of their GDP on their militaries.

In fairness, Trump didn’t dream up this daffy idea himself: Spending at least 2% of a country’s GDP on its military has been an official NATO goal since 2006, and Trump’s not the first to suggest doubling that amount. The U.S. currently funds its military to the tune of about 3.5% of its GDP, compared to only 2.3% for the next highest country by this measure: Greece.

But the idea that our military budget should be tied to the size of our economy is goosey: It’s saying that we need more soldiers to protect more dollars, as if our troops must physically surround an ever-expanding pile of gold bars, instead of a nation with fixed square mileage.

The president has fully embraced this arbitrary and senseless part of the plan without any intention of following through on the underlying rationale: to spread the burden of security so that no country is left holding the bag alone.

If U.S. interests are truly Trump’s concern, the real reason to want European NATO members to pay more for their militaries would be so that the U.S. could pay less, thereby leaving more resources for other things. Trump even seems to grasp this logic, at least in part.

But spending less on the military is the furthest thing from the president’s mind. He requested, and got, an $80 billion increase for the military, and his budget projections keep the military humming along at this historically high spending level through at least 2023.

At $700 billion this year, military spending is more than half of the trillion-dollar budget that Congress allocates each year, and that doesn’t even include spending on veterans’ health and benefits. Our current military budget is more than the peak spending during the Vietnam or Korean wars. The U.S. spends more than any other country in the world—twice as much as Russia and China combined.

If what we’re spending isn’t enough, we must be doing it wrong.

With a military budget like that, no wonder the common refrain from the right is that we can’t afford nice things like universal health care, childcare, or affordable higher education. Those things happen to be common in the European countries where military spending is, in fact, lower.

Of course, we don’t need Europe to spend more to justify spending less on our military. There’s already plenty to cut without compromising national security. A Department of Defense study found $125 billion in wasteful bureaucratic spending in the Pentagon—and was quietly buried until reporters at TheWashington Post dug it up.

The solution is simple: Military spending should be determined not by arbitrary spending rules, but by security needs. The Pentagon should be held accountable for waste like the $125 billion the Post reported. Political leaders of both parties should be held accountable for allowing endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq that has cost our nation $5.6 trillion without any clear security benefits (and likely to our detriment, as chaos provides grounds for the formation of new terrorist groups).

We don’t have to wait for other nations. We can cut wasteful military spending as soon as elected leaders can find the gumption to stand up to military contractors like Lockheed Martin , Boeing , and Raytheon , which, in total, rake in over $300 billion a year in government contracts.

A 2012 study by national security experts at the Center for American Progress and the Institute for Policy Studies found that the military budget could safely be reduced by $440 billion over 10 years without compromising national security, through measures like cutting showy but ineffectual weapons systems and reducing the number of nuclear weapons the U.S. maintains. With the military budget even higher today than it was then, there are likely even greater efficiencies to be found.

That money could be reinvested the way the Europeans do it: in health care for all, subsidized childcare, free higher education, and other things that would make Americans’ lives better. Trump can blame a NATO spending rule for all this, but the real failure lies closer to home—with his own preference for military showmanship over bread and butter programs that are already par for the course in Europe.

Lindsay Koshgarian directs the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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