“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.“– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953, “Chance for Peace”
Seventy years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his “Chance for Peace” speech, tallying up the costs of United State’s Cold War militarization and comparing our extraordinary expenditures on weapons to Americans’ unmet needs.
Today, America’s $858 billion war budget is at one of the highest levels since World War II. When the 20 year and $2 trillion war in Afghanistan ended, Pentagon spending went up. Defense spending is now higher than during the peak of the Cold War, or the heights of the Vietnam or Korean wars. America spends more than twice as much as China on its military forces; America spends more on war than the next nine countries combined.
“Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
America’s massive military budget fails to keep America safe while enabling Washington’s continued pursuit of global U.S. military primacy, a strategy which has yielded massive, costly failures. “Is there no other way the world may live?” Eisenhower asked. Yes — a foreign policy that emphasizes military restraint and diplomatic engagement and cooperation with other nations will serve American interests and values better than policies that prioritize the maintenance of U.S. global dominance through force.