US President Donald Trump has been defending his record on military spending and his pledge to scale back US involvement in foreign wars.
In 2017 he said he would rebuild the country’s “weak army”. He has also called for a reduction in US troops serving overseas.
We have a look at the President’s record on the military.
President Trump’s son, Donald Jr., recently wrote on Twitter, “Trump financed our military well after Obama-Biden ended it.”
Military spending has steadily increased in the charts since President Trump took office in January 2017.
However, using the figures adjusted for inflation, this spending is still significantly lower than in the first term of the Obama administration.
Michael O’Hallan, a security fellow at the Brookings Institution, says, “Defense spending increased substantially under President Trump. I wouldn’t call development unprecedented.”
“Mr. Trump can claim credit for an increase in a large ‘peacetime’ that was already well under Mr. Obama, whose defense budget was stronger than historical standards – $ 100 billion above the Cold War’s annual average.” Over, once adjusted for inflation, “Mr. Says O’Hallan.
Looking at military spending over the last three decades, comparing it with the size of the US economy, we can see that current spending is nowhere near record levels.
US military spending in 1990–2019
Military spending increased dramatically from 2002 as the US entered the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It increased as a percentage of GDP in 2010 – the value of all goods and services – after which the US began to step back from its engagement in the Middle East and Central Asia.
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President Trump has long asked soldiers to come home and criticized US military intervention for being costly and ineffective.
Mr. O’Hallan says: “Mr. Trump has regained the inherited presence in Afghanistan and to a limited extent in Iraq and Syria.”
This year the president reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 and planned to further cut the number before the November 3 election.
But, Mr O’Hallan says: “They have moved the needle only marginally in terms of global operations and deployment, as we live everywhere that we were on January 20, 2017 when they took office.”
The shortage of troops under President Obama was immense, as large-scale deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan ended during his years.
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