When downsizing sounds jolly good
Sometimes shrinkage is good news. That exactly how one feels about the US defence secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent announcement – that of downsizing the US military to its smallest size before the country entered the Second World War. The pre-Pearl Harbour day army setup that Hagel wants to achieve is a signal of myriad forces at work. Chiefly, it is the sign that saner voices in the American politics are finding a foothold and are trying to cut down the defence budget in the wake of the tremendous fiscal deficit that has been bogging the US down for half a decade now. The costly wars, including the Af-Pak engagement and the more inglorious, absolutely unnecessary Iraq War, have been massive drains on the government exchequer. Under Obama administration, the defence budget has been a bone of contention, and despite the president’s poll promise of ending the wars, the drag can be felt till date. Phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan aside, the Pentagon chief’s proposal to trim down the military might is also indicative of how the US is losing to China in terms of defence innovation, especially after the latter hiked its military budget by 10.7 per cent under Xi Jinping. However, with signs of Washington cooling down, perhaps Beijing too will follow suit, paving way for a gradual worldwide disarmament.