Charging for military service

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I heard an interesting idea the other day that I want to share and discuss. It came from Donald Trump in a CNN interview. He suggested that the U.S. military should charge countries for military support. He used South Korea as an example. Earlier this winter, fears of war between North and South Korea were higher than they have been in many years. To discourage North Korea from starting a war with South Korea, the U.S. military sent one of its top aircraft carriers to the region to support its ally, South Korea and act as a deterrent. Donald Trump said that the U.S. military should have charged South Korea for that service.

This is a very interesting idea. If the U.S. charged all of its allies for military support, they surely would be in a better financial position in terms of their debt than they are currently in. It also seems logical in the sense that they are providing a needed service to another party and there is definitely a lot of value in that service. Many countries likely would pay for this type of service.

However, there are some real issues with this idea that would need to be resolved before putting it in to practice. The first problem with this idea is that it sets a very dangerous precedent. If the U.S. begins charging for security services then other countries will do the same. Countries like Russia, North Korea, China and others would be happy to receive payment for military/security services from other countries. This would likely create a world in which military action does not fall on the responsibility of the country doing the fighting and also not really on the country ordering the fighting. Surely this will create more military action around the world and less accountability for unjust military action.

It will also brings us one step closer to turning armies into a business. I usually like everything being controlled by business, but this sounds a little scary. If an army can act as a business, then what prevents a business from acting like an army? This can usher in a future where companies have their own armies and carry out missions for their employers’ interests, just like we see in futuristic movies.

These are issues that would need to be very well thought out and dealt with before we can even begin to think about Donald Trump’s army business idea. Perhaps this is more of an ideal military situation, but not so much a realistic policy solution to pay down the debt.