Return on military hegemony?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What is the rate of return from military hegemony?

If half the 2006 DOD budget of $442 billion (not counting $85 billion supplemental) were invested elsewhere (infrastructure, education, subsidies, direct foreign aid) would the rate of return be higher? Has anyone tried to quantify the value of geo-political capital that hegemony provides? Is it worth the investment?

There is no such thing as “geo-political capital”; just as there are no such things as phlogiston or epicycle…

The rate of return from military hegemony is the long-run is negative. Military hegemony is just like a drug addiction; over time, it requires more and more resources just to be maintained. Just take a look at what happened to Spain between 1400 and 1900…

Military hegemony inevitably leads to massive loss of the most valuable asset, human life. Additionally, military hegemony threatens democracy at home; if the government is used to being a military dictatorship abroad, what’s to keep it from becoming one at home?

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