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Friday / March 24.

Diplomacy is the loser in Donald Trump’s latest military extravaganza

By Upasana Hembram

The American President Donald J. Trump, aboard the country’s latest aircraft-the USS Gerald R. Ford, announced a hike in military spending by $54 billion in the budget proposal to Congress, thus bringing the country’s total military expense to $603 billion. This is three percent more than the Obama administration’s $548 billion. In the past, Mr. Trump has expressed his intentions to increase the strength of the army, the Marine Corps and to extend the number of Navy ships, submarines and Air Force tactical aircrafts. He also hinted at an upgrade from the military’s current cyber infrastructure and nuclear development capacity.

The need to strike a balance

Interestingly, prominent figures in America’s military exercise have been more and more vocal about the urgent need for funding the diplomatic efforts working alongside the military efforts. War efforts are not merely a military drill but a blend of military and political operations. Vigorously attempting to establish democracy is more than just a military campaign; it also requires redressal mechanisms. What happens once the strife ends? Who does the military hand over its responsibilities to on establishing balance in the region? These are the critical questions that can only be addressed once diplomacy and soft power accompany martial might.

Implications for humanitarian campaigns

This boost in military expenditure would imply a reduction in foreign aid and a 37 percent cut from the State Department’s budget that will be paid for by “our revved-up economy”, according to Mr.Trump. If his budget proposal manifests into reality, it would hamper the State Department’s efforts to formulate political solutions that will satisfy the United Nations. Even though the U.S. is the strongest military superpower, a political solution employing diplomatic and development initiatives are necessary preconditions in order to resolve wars and maintain stability.

Provoking unnecessary conflict?

“We never win, and we don’t fight to win,” Trump said in a White house meeting. The President’s goals of “winning” wars and “rebuilding the military” align with his visions of “national rebuilding”. As the U.S. aspires to prepare itself for its confrontation with North Korea and Russia and maybe even events of hostilities in the South China Sea, the demands from the military in the future will be largely influenced by Mr.Trump’s inconsistent foreign policies along with the volatile regional and global political climate. In its current form, the Pentagon budget proposal is aimed at upgrading the traditional methods of combat with little to almost nil emphasis on soft power.