G.O.P. Splits Over Plans to Cut Defense Budget

By ELISABETH BUMILLER and THOM SHANKER.

Excerpted with image from the New York Times — read the whole article here.

To hear the Republican leadership tell it, the once-sacred Pentagon budget, protected by the party for generations, is suddenly on the table. But a closer look shows that even as Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, insist on the need for military cuts, divisions have opened among Republicans about whether, and how much, to chop Pentagon spending that comes to more than a half trillion dollars a year.

Those differences were on display Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where the traditional Republican who now leads the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Howard P. McKeon, fought back against proposed cuts in the Pentagon budget even as fledgling committee members supported by the Tea Party said that the nation’s debts amounted to a national security risk.

“I cannot say it strongly enough: I will not support any measures that stress our forces and jeopardize the lives of our men and women in uniform,” Mr. McKeon said in an opening statement that followed up on a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urging him not to stop work on the Marines’ $14.4. billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a combined landing craft and tank for amphibious assaults that Mr. Gates canceled this month.

But Representative Chris Gibson, a Tea Party-endorsed freshman Republican and a retired Army colonel from New York’s Hudson River Valley, made it clear that no part of the Pentagon’s $550 billion budget — some $700 billion including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — was immune.

Andrew Bacevich: Pentagon, Inc.

By Andrew Bacevich.

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Excerpted from TomDispatch — read the whole article here.

In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation.  Americans should not confuse that talk with reality.  Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth.  The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history.

The Pentagon presently spends more in constant dollars than it did at any time during the Cold War — this despite the absence of anything remotely approximating what national security experts like to call a “peer competitor.” Evil Empire?  It exists only in the fevered imaginations of those who quiver at the prospect of China adding a rust-bucket Russian aircraft carrier to its fleet or who take seriously the ravings of radical Islamists promising from deep inside their caves to unite the Umma in a new caliphate.

What are Americans getting for their money?  Sadly, not much. Despite extraordinary expenditures (not to mention exertions and sacrifices by U.S. forces), the return on investment is, to be generous, unimpressive.  The chief lesson to emerge from the battlefields of the post-9/11 era is this: the Pentagon possesses next to no ability to translate “military supremacy” into meaningful victory.

2010 Roundup of Military Spending and Arms Trade in Latin America

Compiled by Chiara at IPB:

Chavez Announces $4B Loan To Buy Russian Arms

By Nabi Abdullaev

November, 30th — Venezuela has received a $4 billion loan from Russia to buy Russian arms, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Russia also has supplied 100,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles to Venezuela. Construction of two plants producing AK-103 rifles and ammunition under Russian license will be completed in 2011.

Brazil unveils massive navy buildup plans

From UPI.com

November, 22nd Brazil’s plans for a massive naval buildup, which would include nuclear-powered submarines, were greeted with concern that the country’s huge defense outlay would trigger copycat actions in neighboring Latin American countries.

Latin American Mayors unanimous in support global nuclear weapons ban by 2020

From Mayors for Peace

October, 17th —  The Mayor of Hiroshima received unanimous support from Latin American Mayors during his visit to the Latin American ‘Semana del Municipalismo’ in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Wednesday October 13th FLACMA (Federación Latinamericana de Ciudades, Municipios y Asociaciones de gobiernos locales) signed an agreement with Mayors for Peace in support of the campaign to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.

New Publication from the Small Arms Survey – ‘Small Arms in Brazil: Production, Trade, and Holdings’

By Pablo Dreyfus, Benjamin Lessing, Marcelo de Sousa Nascimento, and Júlio Cesar Purcena, a joint publication of Viva Rio, ISER, and the Small Arms Survey.

October — It is not difficult to find evidence of Brazil’s high levels of armed violence. The proof is in the grim statistics of the country’s hospitals, morgues, and prisons. This Special Report looks at two aspects of this problem. First, it explores the thriving Brazilian small arms industry, which, together with international trafficking networks, contributes to control failures and fuels small arms violence. Second, it maps out weapons holdings—by weapon type, holder, and location.

ARTICLES – LA –  NEWLETTER SEP. 2010

Argentina plans 50 percent boost in defence spending

From UPI.com

September, 1st —  Argentina is planning a 50 percent increase in its defence spending but has left open-ended the amount that will eventually go into the military regeneration program. The government wants to make up for years of neglect since the country’s 1982 defeat by Britain in the Falklands. As part of the military regeneration, the Defense Minister, Nilda Garre, said Argentina was looking seriously into reviving its dormant nuclear development program, because now, Argentina is ready to begin applying “nuclear technology” in defence issues. “Foreign Affairs, the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission and regulators have fully agreed to work in the development of nuclear propulsion engines which could be used in vessels or submersibles”, indicated Garré.

ARTICLES – LA –  NEWLETTER AUG. 2010

No More Foreign Military Bases

From Campaña América Latina una Región de Paz

August, 14th — With the presence of more than 200 people representing numerous organizations, movements, continental and national networks, the second continental meeting of the campaign “America Latina, A Region of Peace: No More Foreign Military Bases” was held on August 14, 2010, in Asuncion.