I'm wondering where this belief that the US has downsized the US military comes from. I was recently checking the number of people working for the US government and while the total number of people employed by the federal government in 2016 (4,185,000) is down from the Bush Administration in 2008 (4,206,000) the number of people serving in uniform has increased (1,450,000 in 2008 and 1,459,000 in 2016).
It's not a lot more in uniform but it is still more. I thought "downsizing" meant that the government had less, not more.
No nation, not even China, is capable challenging the US militarily. In fact not even an alliance between several nations is capable of seriously challenging the United States militarily. At the same time China knows that the US isn't going to start a war over a few islands in the South China Sea.
China isn't even attempting to challenge the United States militarily because it's a waste of resources. Instead China is challenging the US economically.
All military spending depletes the economic resources of a nation. While military spending necessary to protect the territorial integrity of the nation from attack and invasion any spending above that amount causes an unnecessary negative impact on the nation's economy. All foreign policy experts know this.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in 2016 the US spent $596 billion equal to 3.3% of the GDP on defense while China spent $215 billion equal to 1.9% of it's GDP. China reinvested the difference into it's economy either directly or indirectly. While the standard of living in China isn't as good as the current standard of living in the US the standard of living is increasing in China while it's decreasing in the United States. More people are falling into poverty in the US every year and spending vast amounts of money on our military that isn't challenged by any nation or alliance of nations, wasting our economic resources, isn't helping us and could be a significant factor in increasing the poverty.
We're not helping ourselves either. The Trans Pacific Partnership was formed to counteract the growing economic influence of China in the region and the US was the leading economic power in that treaty alliance. When the US withdrew we handed economic dominance to China in the region. China was just sitting there doing nothing and we literally handed them economic dominance for the region.
The specifics of the TPP trade agreement were secondary to combating the expanding economic role of China which was why withdrawing from it was about the stupidest thing the US could do. We shot ourselves in the foot economically and shot ourselves in the head politically.
We're going to end up being the poor kids on the block playing with our toy tanks in the sandbox while China becomes the worlds dominate political leader because of it's economic leadership and power.
But what the hey, that's what some people seem to want. An America with expanding poverty but with the most advanced military in the world to play war games around the world with.