Dear Future US President,
America has signed and ratified the law against war and even the threat of war, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928. To bring America into compliance with the treaty would have significant economic benefits to the nation as well as extremely positive worldwide implications. The Treaty is the supreme law of the land, according to the US Constitution. You may not have been asked about the Treaty as part of the process that has gotten you the Presidency. However, this should not dull the importance of the Treaty for you and the nation as a whole. The lack of attention to the Treaty reflects a kind of historical amnesia, one which this letter and many other efforts, we hope, will end.
Perhaps you are unaware of the op-ed of Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz in the British paper The Guardian on January 22, 2003. He was, of course, President Bill Clinton’s chief economic advisor in the nineties. In this op-ed titled “The Myth of the War Economy,” Stiglitz says “War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times… Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy. That conflict contributed mightily to the onset of the recession of 1991 (which was probably the key factor in denying the first President Bush re-election in 1992).”
In fact, redirecting the capital rich military economy between 1985 and 1999 and allowing those potent economic resources to be applied to the manufacturing economy instead lead to unprecedented prosperity in the post Cold War 1990s. Further proof of this critical choice between the manufacturing sector and the military sector is the fact that manufacturing increased in the late nineties despite various trade deals that are sometimes presented as putting the US at a disadvantage. Manufacturing will indeed boom if given the resources normally devoted to a nonproductive military economy, and the US can compete with other nations if it refrains from military buildups and active conflicts.
Evidence for the proposition that military spending hurts the economy has only mounted since 2003, as the 2.8 million manufacturing jobs lost in the twenty-four months after 9-11 are coupled with the military buildup and jobs lost through shifts in trade. 1.7 million jobs were lost to the military buildup and one million jobs to trade (as was often discussed in the 2004 US election). A steady rise in unemployment leading up to the Great Recession began after the Iraq “surge” troops began to be deployed in July 2007. The unequal real estate boom from the military buildup fooled many parts of the nation into expecting the economy to continue upward. When it did not, the drain from the $70 billion “surge” apparently pushed the fragile mortgage economy into a severe decline. This pattern is similar to the 1980s with the military buildup transferring moneys from the productive economy to the unproductive economy, distorting the local real estate market until the Savings & Loan (S&L) bailout was the result. The murder rate is also linked with military spending. Although no criminologists can explain the drop in crime in the nineties, military spending and murder rates strongly correlate among the youngest five members of the G7, America, Japan, Germany, Canada, and Italy. The Cold War peace dividend benefited the nineties economy and crime. It is becoming more evident through the decades that the economic stagnation caused by high levels of military spending leads to the collapse of empires and the related social decay.
Another benefit is that lower military spending improves the national strength over time, as military spending can actually increase faster as a small percentage of a fast growing economy. Tailoring the military can make it more nimble than ever and less encumbered with obsolete heavy forces; it can also improve America’s image in the world. Let more regional forces deal with the world’s ground military problems and primarily provide technical backup. With decreases in military spending, America will become more closely compliant with the lofty goals of the Kellogg Briand Pact of 1928. The Pact may have been wrought in a previous century, but it provides guidance that reaches far into the future.
As you face the future as the President of the United States (from whatever party or background you hail), considering the Pact as a guiding principle alerts the world that the US is deeply committed to its own economic wellbeing along with larger global peace and justice issues. It may seem that following the Treaty is an act of altruism. However, the Treaty’s direction would lead the US into a more prosperous and productive– as well as peaceful– future.
Dr. Robert Reuschlein, details in http://www.realeconomy.com
For a short booklet on the effects of Peace Economics:
Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,
Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016
Real Economy Institute, Madison, Wisconsin
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org 608-230-6640,