“We got to start winning,” Trump said on Tuesday. “We got to start winning wars again.”
What he was proposing was to win by increasing military spending in the US by 9%, adding a staggering $54 billion to the Pentagon’s budget (which already stands at roughly $600 billion annually). Previous statements suggest additional funding will be used to buy more warships and warplanes, increasing the number of American ground troops and modernising the nuclear arsenal.
Nuclear Rocky Flats Billboard Protest, 2 Nov, 1990. © Jenny Hager / Greenpeace
Late last week, Mr Trump also said that the US has fallen behind on its nuclear capacity and that he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack”.
There are hardly any winners in war, only losers. And they come at a huge cost: financial, but more crucially – human lives, broken societies and economies, wrecked environments. The only winners are those who are in the business of war – manufacturing, trading and subsidising weapons. It will come as no surprise that those industries saw their stocks rise following Trump’s election.
To suggest that increasing the amount spent on military would boost the US’ security or make it win again, is utterly nonsensical. The US is already solely responsible for 40% of all military spending worldwide.
It spends more than three times the world’s second biggest spender, China. In fact, it spends more on defence than the next seven countries combined. It also spends more money on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.
Increases in the US military budget will be made at the expense of drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is set to see its budget cut by 24% budget, with 2 billion dollars cut from current levels (leaving a $6.1 billion budget, the lowest it has been since 1991).
Stranded Polar Bears near a US Early Warning defence facility, Alaska. 2 Oct, 2011. © Rose Sjölander / 70°
The fight against climate change, the real security threat the world is facing, will suffer a huge setback. The Trump administration is aiming to make life less safe for Americans by eliminating rules that protect the country’s air and water and by ignoring the biggest security threat the world faces: climate change.
Did Trump miss the memo on the national security threat climate change poses?
Rather than spending more, we need to shift the money wasted on new warplanes, tanks and bombs into making people’s’ lives better and safer with policies on the ground that create opportunities. Health, education, healthcare and green energy for all can deliver real security.
Jen Maman is a peace campaigner with Greenpeace International