Michael O’Hanlon, author of The Wounded Giant, on tour February 2011

Posted By on December 22, 2011

About The Wounded Giant: America’s Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity (An eSpecial from The Penguin Press)

• Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1685 KB
Publisher: The Penguin Press (November 15, 2011)

America spends as much on its military as the rest of the world put together. But its share of global GDP is fast shrinking and its long term economic trajectory is troubling. The U.S. military-industrial complex is embroiled in the local economy of every Senator and member of Congress, one way or another. Something has to give, but what, where, and how? In The Wounded Giant, Michael O’Hanlon gives the big picture strategic perspective we so desperately need.

As President Obama announced this year, the U.S. will be withdrawing the large majority of its troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year. Historically, post-war periods in the U.S. have included drastic cuts to military funding and the coming years will be no different.

Congress’ plan for deficit reduction includes more than a one trillion dollar cut to defense spending over the next decade. However, if their bill doesn’t become law by January 2012, the debt-limit deal’s “trigger” provision will automatically reduce defense spending by establishing long-term spending caps and multi-year cuts.

This, Michael O’Hanlon argues, isn’t just unwise—it is potentially catastrophic. The Wounded Giant is his clear-eyed look at our military budget. O’Hanlon gives real, concrete examples of what can be reduced and what can be cut without risk to our country’s security and lays out a reasonable plan for a smaller, more efficient post-war U.S. military.

O’Hanlon tests his proposals through a series of chilling plausible scenarios. What would happen if North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb? If the Pakistani government fell? If China turned militant?

The questions raised are not easy ones, but are a necessary part of the national conversation the U.S. needs to have on its military operations. Ultimately, the U.S. must come to terms with the military it wants versus the military it can afford.

About Michael O’Hanlon

Michael O’Hanlon is director of research and a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in U.S. defense strategy, the use of military force, homeland security and American foreign policy. He is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and adjunct professor at John Hopkins University. O’Hanlon is the author of several books, most recently A Skeptic’s Case for Nuclear Disarmament. His writing has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, among other publications, and he has appeared on TV or radio almost 2,000 times since 9/11. Before joining Brookings, O’Hanlon worked as a national security analyst at the Congressional Budget Office and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Congo/Kinshasa (the former Zaire). He received his bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees from Princeton, where he studied public and international affairs.

Michael’s Tour Stops

Sunday, February 5th: Man of La Book

Monday, February 6th: The Future American

Tuesday, February 7th: Whiskey Fire

Wednesday, February 8th: Padre Steve

Thursday, February 9th: Noisy Room

Friday, February 10th: Marathon Pundit

Tuesday, February 14th: Left in Alabama

Thursday, March 8th: In Homeland Security

 

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