During the tenure of President Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989, the U.S. military invested heavily in new weaponry. Nothing captured the imagination of people like the "Strategic Defense Initiative," or SDI, the so-called "Star Wars" program. SDI intended for satellites in outer-space equipped with lasers to disable the in-bound nuclear missiles of the enemy, principally the Soviet Union. No one had ever done anything like that before, but the Reagan administration considered it the price we had to pay for security.
Opposition to Reagan's hawkish policies could barely get off the ground, at first. The Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, both of which happened in 1979, had sobered most Americans. But opposition to Reagan on the Left did grow bolder over time, and even the U.S. Congress turned against him. I had a friend years ago who subscribed to the left-wing magazine The Nation. In one issue, The Nation ran a caricature that showed Reagan dressed as Santa Claus, carrying a Christmas sack full of bombs and missiles. But few of the leftists could argue with the results, as the Soviets, faced with a declining economy, threw in the towel and resigned, creating fifteen new countries.
Since then, the American Left has opposed hawkish military policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has raised hell about the military's expensive armaments, and the cozy relationships between Republican congressmen and the armaments industry. So far, nothing has worked to abate the Left's skepticism and hostility toward the military--until now, anyway. I only hope that Russia's savage treatment of the Ukrainians will wake up everyone about the intrinsic risks faced by a rich, powerful nation like ours.
The Russians have, after all, caused the Ukrainians enough suffering. During the years of 1932-33, the Soviets caused a famine in the Ukraine, the so-called Holodomor, that starved a million Ukrainians to death. They learned the hard way that it is better not to trust the Russians. The Russian leaders only want to reclaim their Tsarist-Soviet Empire.
After one generation's narcissistic world-conquerors are defeated, we assume the species will become extinct, and we can cease worrying about the threat of a Caesar-type; but now that Europe faces armed conflict with imperialist Russia, maybe Europeans, and by extension the Americans, will realize they should maintain the expensive armaments, for their own safety.
Indeed, the German government has already come to that conclusion--during the Socialist Party administration of Olaf Scholz. The German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag published a front-page story containing a quote from Defense Minister Christina Lambrecht that forms the title of the lead article: "Whoever wants to live in a free society must maintain its military readiness." Amen!
"Any nation that wants to live in freedom needs a strong military."
The American government learned that lesson the hard way during the administration of the hapless President Jimmy Carter. During the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Revolutionary Guard overran the American Embassy in Tehran and imprisoned the embassy-staff for a year. When Carter sent in American special-forces to rescue the hostages, their helicopters malfunctioned and crashed, killing the rescuers. No one should experience something so humiliating as that, especially not the World's super-power.