Obama's focus on defence cuts lacks perspective

Giving a statement on sequestration, Obama gave examples of where he believed the sequester would be damaging. Many of the examples he gave were of changes to defence spending. The sequester will see a $500bn reduction in spending over the next ten years. That might sound like a large number, but taking it in isolation removes perspective.

US defence spending currently accounts for 41 per cent of total worldwide military expenditure. Cutting out $500bn of spending in ten years will still leave $6trn of US government military expenditure. Peak US Cold War spending stood at $580bn in 1985, and while other nations have since dramatically scaled back their defence spending, the US never did this. In 2013, American military spending will total $603bn.

Perhaps Obama should acknowledge what his predecessors have failed to. The Cold War is over, and the US should reduce spending appropriately. No-one thinks the American people would be defenceless, but they could be a lot better off.