Can America Afford Its Military?
America can no longer afford to protect its strategic interests. Since the end of World War ii, the United States has used its global military and political presence to contain the spread of communism, to oppose Islamic terrorism, to ensure the free flow of oil, to protect the world’s most important trade routes and to prevent nuclear-armed madmen from launching World War iii. Yet this period of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity is about to abruptly end. Why? One reason is that America simply lacks the financial resources to continue defending its interests and enforcing world peace.
The reason for this sobering state of affairs goes deeper than finances.
An astonishing Bible prophecy reveals that God raised up America to be a superpower—a lion among the nations. The same prophecy shows that just as America reaches the zenith of its power, God cuts off its armaments and throws down its strongholds. He is going to literally break America’s economic and military power.
The fact that God is stripping away the financial resources that have allowed America to fund the most powerful military in history is divine chastisement. America will soon be spending more on its debt than its military. This means the United States will have to drastically scale back its armed forces, allowing hostile foreign powers to fill the void.
The federal budget deficit has ballooned to $779 billion, and the national debt has skyrocketed to $21 trillion. This crisis has prompted President Donald Trump to call on each cabinet office to slash 5 percent from its budget by fiscal year 2020. To meet this target, the U.S. military, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, will have to slash its budget by $33 billion. While the Pentagon could lower its budget by 5 percent simply by cutting wasteful spending, newly released figures from the Congressional Budget Office (cbo) show that much more drastic cuts will be necessary.
As entitlement spending and interest payments on the national debt consume an ever increasing portion of the federal budget, the government will be forced to reduce its defense spending to 1930s’ levels. The U.S. will have to close overseas bases and bring troops home. Vital trade routes and strategic resources will come up for grabs.
Harvard professor Niall Ferguson has warned that empires often fall when the costs of servicing their debts exceeds the costs of defending their interests. Rising debt drove the Roman Empire and Soviet Union to bankruptcy, rendering their militaries incapable of halting the fragmentation of their empires. The U.S. is dangerously close to such a tipping point.
The cbo recently disclosed that the interest on the national debt rose to $371 billion in 2018. That is a 20 percent jump over the previous year. It is also about half of what the nation spends on its military. Based on current budget projections, the government will actually be spending more on interest than on defense within five years. And within 10 years, it will be spending 85 percent of all tax revenues on Social Security, health care and interest payments. That means basic defense spending is projected to fall from 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2018 to 2.6 percent in 2028. The last time military spending fell so low was during the Great Depression, when Nazi Germany was rising.
And if interest rates rise faster than expected, the nation could reach this tipping point much sooner. America could soon find itself spending over $900 billion per year on interest—and struggling to finance both a massive welfare state and a functioning military without racking up even more debt, or printing its way into hyperinflation.
If China and the European Union continue to boost their defense spending toward 2 percent of gdp, their military capabilities will quickly catch up to the United States’. Chinese military spending is projected to pass the U.S.’s by 2035, and the European Union has the ability to do likewise with the right kind of political leadership. When America’s military power finally snaps, no human power will be able to oppose Asia and Europe on the world scene.
Most people do not think of the U.S. as an empire in the traditional sense. It has no vassals and no colonies. But it has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation or empire in history. According to David Vine of American University, the U.S. maintains roughly 800 military installations in 80 foreign countries. American troops in Europe hold back an expansionist Russia. Troops in Asia keep China from dominating the Pacific Ocean. Troops in the Middle East contain Iran and ensure the free flow of oil. And troops stationed on ships throughout the world guard vital trade routes like the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb, Gibraltar, the Turkish Straits, the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal.
These overseas troops and military bases cost taxpayers over $156 billion per year, almost one fifth of all U.S. military spending. If the nation is forced to reduce spending, overseas bases will likely be among the first to go.
“As Sen. Rand Paul often points out, bankruptcy is the Sword of Damocles hanging perilously close to Uncle Sam’s neck,” Hunter DeRensis wrote in the American Conservative. “What would transpire if Social Security checks stopped showing up in mailboxes and Medicare benefits got cut off? When presented with that choice, will the average American choose his social safety net or continued funding for far-flung bases in Stuttgart, Okinawa and Djibouti? Even the most militaristic congressperson will know which way to vote, lest they find a mob waiting outside their D.C. castles” (Nov. 20, 2018).
Shuttering foreign bases may buy the U.S. several months of financial solvency, but it will also transform America from a global hegemon, projecting power around the world, into a weakened, vulnerable nation just trying to defend its borders.
Many people on both sides of the political spectrum would love to see America bring its troops back. Many on the left view America’s overseas military as oppressive colonial outposts. Many on the right view them as a needless burden on taxpayers, or as a distraction from the threat of drug cartels and illegal migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Neither side truly views this incredible military capacity and presence as blessings from God for the protection of America and the world. Because of this, and because of sin, God will strip away the power He gave to America, leaving the nation defenseless. Once America loses the ability to protect and control the world’s most strategic trade routes and maritime choke points, foreign powers will seize these powerful prizes. America’s homeland will be vulnerable to economic siege by hostile enemies.
The late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in his landmark book The United States and Britain in Prophecy that the Anglo-Saxon peoples who settled the United States and Britain are descended from ancient Israel. This astonishing truth means that all the Bible’s end-time prophecies concerning Israel are primarily directed at the United States and Britain. These prophecies describe the wealth and dominance of America today—and then prophesy of a nightmare soon to come.
“An important additional proof of modern Israel’s identity is found in a fantastic, detailed and most specific prophecy found in Micah 5:7-15,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “It is speaking specifically about the ‘remnant’ of Israel—modern Israel today—wherever it is. It describes the wealth, the beneficent dominance among nations, and then the coming downfall of the American and British Commonwealth peoples in detail!”
The Prophet Micah wrote that the “remnant” of Israel would be “as a dew from the Lord” and “as a lion among the beasts of the forest.” This symbolism describes the last generation of Israel as a superpower, as two brother nations with the wealth and power to help establish peace and stability for all human life on this planet (verses 7-8).
What is next? “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands” (Micah 5:10-13).
Today, Americans worship the work of their hands. Because of this, God says that at the moment America reaches the zenith of its power, He will cut off its weapons systems and throw down its bases. He will break not just the pride of America’s power—which He has already done (Leviticus 26:18-19)—but its very power!
The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains numerous means and tools that God will use to accomplish His purpose—including economic troubles, loss of foreign assets and weather disasters.
Mr. Armstrong added: “As the ‘pride of our power’ continues to be broken, as the British continue to lose their foreign sea-gates and possessions around the Earth, as America signs away ownership of the Panama Canal—control over this vital sea-gate—as our gold supply drains away from this nation, weather upsets increase, this focal prophecy alone represents giant proof as to where the modern ‘remnant’ of the peoples of Israel reside today!”
It is because America has turned away from God that He is stripping away its ability to finance its military. The U.S. is borrowing trillions of dollars from other nations. This rising debt will have a catastrophic end: the sudden collapse of America’s military power. This tragedy may seem like a simple matter of fiscal mismanagement, but it is actually correction from God designed to cause people to acknowledge their transgressions, repent and seek Him (Hosea 5:15).
This chastisement will affect the United States and Britain first, but then God will correct all nations. It is only after this corrective punishment that people will humble themselves and cry out to God for deliverance. At this point, God promises to “wipe away all tears” from people’s eyes (Revelation 21:4). Until then, only those who voluntarily repent before this horrendous calamity strikes will be accounted worthy to escape (Luke 21:35-36). Individuals must make their own decisions, so it is vitally important to understand what the Bible reveals about America’s collapse.