Wars abroad leave crumbling US infrastructure at home
While politicians in Washington recklessly call for bombing Syria and Iran, they ignore the economic costs of failed US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It calls into question the competence of leadership elites in the US, not to mention fundamental issues of governance involving the preservation of constitutional democracy.
In the past, the US paid for its wars through increased taxes and the sale of war bonds. The recent wars, however, have been paid for mostly through borrowing. Thus, there is an adverse economic impact with respect to the increased national debt, to the increased budget deficits, and to the upward pressure on interest rates.
Ongoing analysis of economic, human, and social costs by the Eisenhower Study Group, a team of US academics, estimates these wars have cost between $3 trillion and $4 trillion through 2011.
Much of the US national infrastructure was created after World War II and some even before. On a national basis, bridges, roads, waterways, canals and locks, and other public infrastructure are in bad condition and getting worse according to experts in civil engineering. Yet Washington’s bellicose politicians have squandered trillions on unnecessary wars and now want still further military action against Syria and Iran.
So how did the US get into its current predicament?
One explanation points to the failure of US leadership elites to adapt to the changing global correlation of forces after the end of the Cold War in 1991. At that time, clear-minded experts advised preparing for the inevitable emergence of a multipolar world. Thus, they argued, the US should completely revise its national strategy by focusing on strengthening its economy and its diplomacy.
These experts were opposed by advocates of a triumphalist, unipolar world view that called for US global hegemony.
[Excerpt of Global Times article]