by Peter Deccy
Much has been reported about the decline of the Greek economy. Some Republicans have enjoyed using the tragedy to warn the same fate awaits the US unless it cuts its social spending, often implying the social safety net in Greece supports a lazy society that prefers drinking on the beach and handouts to hard work and productivity.
Nice try. What’s been missing in mainstream media coverage is the fact that Greece is the 3rd largest importer of weapons in the world. That’s right, China, India, Greece.
Greece is largest importer of weapons among the NATO allies. While NATO countries spend an average of 1.7% of their GDP on ‘defense’, Greece has been spending 4%. That’s roughly $1,500 per person.
It has a standing army of 156,000 men, more than the UK which has 6 times the population of Greece. Military service of nine months is compulsory.
And who is selling them the weapons? No, it’s not the world largest weapons trafficker (the US) this time. It’s France and Germany, the belt tighteners who have been pressing Greece to accept a bread and water diet to solve their financial crisis.
Of course, you need a threat of cosmic proportions to justify runaway military spending. For Greece, that’s Turkey. But wait, isn’t Turkey Greece’s NATO ally? Yes, they are, but don’t look behind the curtain. The extreme right in Greece has long used the dispute over Cyprus to justify their militarism. That sounds vaguely familiar.
So the Republican’s have it half right, which is twice their average score. If we don’t watch out we’ll end up in the same mess Greece is in. But it won’t be because we’re taking too good care of our people. It will be because of our addiction to militarism.