Unexamined Assumption: Military Spending and Combat Power

The unexamined assumption here is that a large military budget means that the Saudi army is effective and would be able to defeat ISIS. But there are several reasons to doubt this:

  1. The Saudi Army hasn’t done much fighting in living memory. Their last major war was in 1934.
  2. Most Arab countries have experienced coups. This gives the royal family of Saudi an incentive to keep their military weak.
  3. Arab society isn’t great at producing military forces.

Of course, Saudi could pay the expenses of a war against ISIS, effectively hiring the US to do it. But to require that would mean to admit we’re an empire that can tax the provinces.


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