Spread Out Over The World…


SoldiersIn order to prepare some posts over at RedLetterLiving I have been studying some about the why the Roman Empire collapsed. Of course everyone seems to have an opinion about that. The anti-Catholic folks say it is the pope’s fault. The maker/taker folks claim it is because the empire became a welfare State.  But I kind of align with a majority view that they just had to spend too much money to keep their armies spread out among most of the world.  Their military expenses accounted for almost one-half of all their spending and that included building the coliseum and such!

I am a history guy so I like to claim that we can learn from the past in order to keep from making the same mistakes in the future.  There have been a few other empires come and go since the Roman one but I don’t think anyone will disagree that the current world empire are us folks in the U.S.
Janette, who was part of an army family, is a frequent commentor on this blog.  She is constantly telling me that she has lived in this and that country.  It seems no matter which country I talk about she says she lived there. I don’t think she is one of those globe-trotting rich folks that cruise around the world in a yacht. I imagine she got all those travels  in via her time within a military family.  I’m sure she is not unique in this regard; there are probably a millions like her who have spent time in many different countries while serving.

I’m kind of slow once in a while but it did eventually hit me that like the Roman empire we seem to have our soldiers spread out all around the world. I know that we spend about half our discretionary spending on our military stuff whereas the Romans spent twice that much.  But we do spend more on it than almost the rest of the world combined.  I’m only a guy with a little more than an ounce of common sense but I wonder if we too will one day collapse under the weight of our military spending?

Here is some words about our current military deployments from a veteran friendly web site:

source: Deployment Facts Historical|How Many Soldiers Are Deployed Overseas.

US Deployment Facts-How Many US Troops are Overseas?

The historical Byzantine, Ottoman, Roman & British Empires relied heavily on foreign military bases during their peaks of power. After World War II the United States created the most extensive network of military bases ever, allowing for the deployment of Air & Naval Forces in moments.

No military in the history of the world has been more widely deployed as the United States. Currently, the United States has military personnel deployed in about 150 Countries…This covers 75% of The World’s Nations.

Given that many folks think that extensive troop deployment is one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the Roman empire the above words sound kind of ominous don’t they?

8 thoughts on “Spread Out Over The World…

  • R.J., I’m starting to wonder if you are there and are okay?? You haven’t replied to comments for quite a while and that’s not like you. I’m guessing your posts are prepared ahead of time and automated so if you’re gone for a while they keep showing up. I may be worrying for nothing, hope so. Maybe your could put my mind to rest 🙂


  • Why we still maintain military forces and bases in places like Germany or South Korea baffles me. Will we ever stop seeing ourselves as the world’s go-to policeman when something goes wrong somewhere? Will we realize that we can’t afford this role any more?


    • Not only can we not afford it financially, we cannot afford it morally. Germany.. There is one major base there and many minor ones. The role is staging area for our wounded and a supply route for Africa…remember the place Hollywood wants us to interview in civil wars… Should we let them kill themselves off? We are in Afghanistan to give girls the right to go to school…right? Good reason for my son to be deployed there….


  • You are right- I have lived in some bizarre places while my husband served- and I traveled to more:) living on tax dime- traveling on teacher pay.
    Don’t faint, I totally agree with you…as does most of the armed forces. We are in countries who have many people who do not want us. The military is, and always has been, used to protect the stuff you put on your dinner table and in your car. After our stint in Saudi, where I felt we were much more like the French Foreign legion ( they, too, are paid for their work) I figured we were much more like the Romans. Of course you left out how Roman society collapsed as well- where homosexuality and disposing of unwanted children by the nobility was the norm- so children would not interfere with the retention of riches. Hummm. Something to think about.
    We have surpassed the number of victims of 9/11. More than 4,000 soldiers have lost their lives in revenge. We have paid our own blood ransom. We now have a President who is applauded for dropping bombs (the most inhumane type of war since no one knows who is actually killed) instead of sending troops in.where are the protestors? He has also continued the wire taping of Americans. He lost me at the “Obama care ” medical act that did nothing and continues to disappoint every day he keeps troops at the level… But even more so at keeping the huge military industry. There are more contractors ( being paid 10x the amount of troops) then troops in combat zone. Winding this thing down is going to be crazy difficult. People who make money off of this war have deep pockets to lobby- and “we” have lined those pockets.


  • Hi everybody, it is nice to see my blog so active while I have been away. I am fine but my Internet connection was in a coma for three days. It is finally back now. Longest three days of my life… 🙂 Yeah my posts are usually loaded a week or so in advance.

    Military budgets are the main thing that I just totally don’t understand. Why do we spend so much protecting the rest of the world when most don’t even want us there. Janette, thanks again for your expertise in this area. I depend on you to keep me level in this realm. I too think it is sinful to put our kids in harms way for such little or no purpose. It just amazes me that when it comes to a choice of helping a poor kid in this country to get a head start in school verses spending billions on our military the majority of people in this country seem to prefer the latter. It is always cut the safety net not the military budgets. How can we make that different? I would really like to know…..

    Yes, that is one of the areas that I am so disappointed in President Obama. His campaign rhetoric was almost the opposite of the commander-in-chief actions. He almost seems more war like than even baby Bush. (please note for future score that I am saying something negative about a Democrat) 🙂

    It is good to be back and talking with my blog friends again….


  • Phew, glad to see you’re back, R.J.! I was a bit worried. After your earlier blog about the “morons on the internet”, I was starting to think you’d had enough of us!
    Happy that’s not the case 🙂


    • Oh, I would never have enough of you guys. You have all, and I do mean all (well maybe not my trollers), become part of my day. Since I had no internet connection I have been generating posts off-line this week. Gotta get those loaded now as my que is getting pretty short. I am glad to be back and respond more promptly…


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