Policy Analysis No. 171

Pentagon Myths and Global Realities: The 1993 Military Budget

By Jeffrey R. Gerlach
May 24, 1992

Executive Summary

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent collapse of communism represent a clear-cut victory for the United States in its four-decade struggle against the USSR. As the Soviet threat has disappeared, many Americans have been calling for a cut in military spending—the so-called peace dividend. The Bush administration has recently released its proposed strategies for the defense of the United States in the post-Cold War world. Statements by President Bush, Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin L. Powell, and other officials allege that the military fully understands the implications of the end of the Cold War and has responded by presenting a budget proposal that is much leaner than previous budgets. The figures are based on a new strategy designed to replace the doctrine of containment that has served as a blueprint for U.S. planning since the late 1940s. Despite the rhetoric of the administration, however, it is clear that the proposals represent very little new thinking. Instead, they simply redirect U.S. efforts at global containment to a variety of regional contingencies.

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Jeffrey R. Gerlach is a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute.