Whether "the US is spending way too much on defense" is a debatable point. You have to look at the enormous security obligations the US has taken on since the end of WWII. What were our defense obligations in 1939? Our shores (including territorial islands) and pretty much little else. What are they now? Let's see NATO:Skipjack wrote:That said, the US is spending way too much on defense. This is a problem with the US procurement system which I think is FUBAR. The German military is good enough for the most part. And with the economy as bad as it is, there is no money for more.
If the US pushes too hard for more spending, countries might feel compelled to leave NATO and that is IMHO not in the interest of the US either.
At present, NATO has 29 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), and Montenegro (2017).)
And attack on one is an attack on all (US). Also Japan, South Korea, Australia, Saudi Arabia (strongly implied), Israel (implied) probably others I haven't mentioned. In order to have a credible deterrent to dissuade would be adversaries yes you have to have an expensive to maintain permanent large powerful military at all times even when you are (nominally) at peace (for the most part). So unless you are talking about the US severing these copious in number/scope stated security obligations (a debate I wouldn't mind arguing in favor of) then we are probably stuck with a large expensive military. And of course even if we did leave NATO & the rest the threat of nuclear attack (which didn't exist obviously in 1939) would still be there necessitating some kind of credibly strong national defense/deterrence.