The pandemic of the new coronavirus has clearly shown that inflated military budgets and bases around the world are unable to protect the United States from real dangers such as COVID-19 and global warming, writes retired Lt. Col. of the United States Air Force. William Astore for the weekly The Nation.
The COVID-19 pandemic sank the stock market, and people’s lives are “fundamentally and terrifyingly affected.”
“This is just the beginning. Climate change (remember Australia’s recent massive forest fires) promises even more turmoil, more chaos, more disease. Rampant US militarism and lying politicians promise more wars,” writes the former US military member.
To respond to COVID-19, climate change, and the “staggering wealth inequalities” in the US that, when combined, will cause “incredible levels of unnecessary suffering,” the country needs to reconsider its national priorities.
William Astore proposes to make several drastic changes in American politics.
It is time to cut down on “massive and wasteful military spending” in the United States, says the author.
According to Astore, it never made sense to invest up to $1.7 trillion to “modernize” the nuclear arsenal in the next 30 years. “Why do you need new weapons to exterminate humanity when the ‘old’ ones still work well?” He asks.
Hundreds of stealth fighters and bombers do nothing to protect people from pandemics, the devastating effects of climate change, or other serious threats.
Meanwhile, “Lockheed Martin’s disappointing F-35 fighter alone is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion over its lifetime.”
“This armament only emboldens a militaristic and chauvinistic foreign policy that will facilitate even more wars and setback problems of all kinds.”
More than $ 6 trillion has already been wasted in those wars, and even more in the eternal conflicts of the United States in the Middle East and Africa, notes retired Lt. Col.
Astore believes it is time for the United States “to drastically reduce its military footprint on this planet.”
Around 800 US military bases in the world are without historical precedent.
The author proposes to recover recruitment among youth but for non-military purposes.
In particular, dealing with COVID-19 or future pandemics would be much easier if there were rapidly trained medical assistants.
Coping with climate change will likely require more youth to fight forest fires.
According to Astore, the pandemic of the new coronavirus has also shown that walls and nationalism do not make sense, “not to mention the policies that divide, distract and keep so many forgotten.”
Heroes should not be killing warriors or footballers, Astore stresses.
According to the former military man, the real heroes are the doctors and nurses, supermarket and pharmacy employees who continue to work despite the danger of contracting the coronavirus from patients and customers.
Finally, Astore calls to love nature and the planet.
“If we continue treating our lands, our waters and our skies as garbage dumps, our children and grandchildren will inherit times much harder than the present moment, no matter how hard it is,” concludes the author.