Free-riders

One of the clearest global benefits of the Pax Americana has been the drop in military budgets in most nations around the world as it has gradually sunk in that nations no longer need to fear being conquered by their neighbors as much as they used to, and that building up your military to conquer another nation is no longer a profitable gambit.  This has led to “free-rider” problems, with nations (like most of Europe) seriously under-spending on national defense because they believe that they can rely on America to do it for them.  We spend more on our military than the next ten nations combined, but that is largely because no other large nation sees a need to make a massive investment in military power.  Even our putative military rivals, like Russia and China, feel secure in their own borders and are deterred from conquering others because they fundamentally trust the US to keep the peace (more or less) and not to abuse its power.

 

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