Trump's plans to increase defence spending
US President Donald Trump wants to increase his country's military spending by 54 billion dollars - or 10 percent. According to his plan cuts in the areas of environmental protection and foreign aid programmes will free up the necessary extra cash. Observers doubt whether Trump will be able to finance his plan and explain the origins of the close ties between politics and the military in the US.
The Americans love their army
The traditionally close relationship between the military and politics in the US is the basis for Trump's demand, former diplomat Sergio Romano writes in Corriere della Sera:
“In American democracy the military caste has served as a useful reservoir for skills and talent ever since the Declaration of Independence. … There are dozens of military academies and boarding schools in the United States. Some are financed by the Department of Defense while others, in fact most of them, are privately funded. … America is therefore a big democratic country, but in many respects it is also a militaristic nation. … I believe this explains the relative speed with which the country resorts to arms, albeit with frequently disappointing results (like in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq). … Without doubt this explains the 54 billion dollars Trump wants to add to the defence budget.”
No money for more military spending
The question of how and where Trump is supposed to get more money for defence mystifies Der Tagesspiegel:
“Raising military spending is one of the Republicans' standard election campaign promises. As is the promise to balance the budget and not create new debt. Their representatives in Congress expect Trump to exercise financial discipline. More money for defence, yes; as long as he makes cuts in other areas. The Republicans want to make cutbacks in the other two major areas of spending: the basic pension (Social Security) and the state healthcare system for senior citizens (Medicare). The costs of these programmes are spiralling. If the dynamics don't change, the US's social welfare state will soon be broke.”