The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

..or not to fund

Blankinship argues military funding should be allocated elsewhere.


Graphic by (Eliza Liebo ’23/Staff)

Yet again, the military-industrial complex has gripped Congress and forced them to pass a massive 100 billion dollar increase in military spending, on the order of 100 billion dollars. This increase comes in a volatile atmosphere of global geopolitics, and represents the fear of the ruling class as the American empire and its colonies wither away. The increase in “defense” spending is at the expense of the American people, tax dollars sucked down the endless vacuum of military demands. Such vast resources could and should be spent elsewhere, as they currently benefit nobody but the arms manufacturers.

In October of 2022, President Joe Biden ominously warned of nuclear “armageddon” if Russia used such weapons in Ukraine. The threat of nuclear war has not declined since, and although during the Cold War made it clear that a nuclear exchange would result in the effective destruction of civilization, many modern pundits speak to the contrary. We live in dangerous times, and the solution is not more saber-rattling. Increases to the military budget and the continued funneling of billions of dollars and war materiel to Ukraine–and Taiwan–is not a solution. Instead, the US and NATO should be encouraging a peaceful resolution to conflicts, lest the world be led to disaster. 

Those in favor of increased military spending would argue that the US military budget covers more than just the American military. Many argue it is protection for our allies, helps supplement humanitarian aid, and presents a strong America to the world in response to aggressive adversaries. While I don’t dispute that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unjustified, cruel, and must end nor that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be disastrous, increasing military spending and counter-aggression will only worsen the situation. Undoubtedly, the decision threatens to make a country like Russia feel that it is fighting an existential and desperate conflict, pushing the world even further to the brink of annihilation. 

In the face of climate disaster, worldwide food shortages, the breakdown of supply chains, and the threat of nuclear war, the global powers need to attempt to cooperate with each other. Solutions cannot be created if they push each other away. Europe is suffering a recession and struggles without Russian gas imports. The Middle East, which relies on Ukrainian and Russian grain, may soon suffer mass starvation (a country like Yemen is a tragic extreme of what could come). Within the United States itself, the cost of living is growing intolerable and social conditions are deteriorating in many areas. Not enough is being done to mitigate disastrous climate change. Some may argue that cooperation is futile, but it cannot hurt to try. 

Much of the money given to the military is used to purchase equipment that will never be used or doesn’t even work. The benefits for becoming a soldier in the present are not good enough, and as a result military recruitment numbers are very low. The US spends more on its military than the next 16 countries combined, most of them our allies, which alone displays the gargantuan overspending on the armed forces. So, the question finally arises: where should this money be spent?

Education funding, for a start, to increase and equalize opportunities for students across the country. A massive investment in giving the country a fast and efficient rail network befitting of a modern, industrialized nation. Not only would it help to connect the country, it would also take cars off the road for the benefit of the environment. More money could be spent on at least the very beginning of a single-payer universal healthcare system that would counter the extortionate healthcare apparatus that currently exists. And of course, money should be invested in clean energy and environmental protection. The military budget could be halved and still be greatly sufficient. This money can be spent better, for a better future.

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