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Barney Frank: Cutting military spending isn't a radical idea

As long as Barney Frank has advocated cutting military spending, he’s been criticized for it.

As long as Barney Frank has advocated cutting military spending, he’s been criticized for it. But he’s not the only one who sees the merit in the unpopular budget fix.

“Reducing America’s military spending is an essential and a responsible way to reduce the debt and we can do it with no loss our security,” Barney Frank said on Thursday’s Morning Joe.

“One of things we do is stop subsidizing Western Europe,” he said, before citing Dr. Zbignev Brzezinski’s Strategic Vision. “Here’s [Mika’s] father, saying… After their empires crumbled, Europe decided to leave the task of maintaining global security to America so they could use their resources to build their social safety net… They can’t accuse [Brzezinski] of being an isolationist or xenophobe or unaware of the international implications!”

Frank pointed to another high profile figure who had once advocated against the sequester and curbing military spending at all.

“Leon Panetta’s a good guy and I’ve always admired him but he overdoes the job he’s appointed to and he announced we could not hollow out the military again. He said we have done that after WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War. Now the Cold War ended before Bill Clinton became president and who was Bill Clinton’s budget director? Leon Panetta. Leon is apparently now cop to hollowing out the military and I think Budget Director Panetta was better on this.”

While sequestration cuts 13% of the military’s domestic spending, analysts say that applying similar cuts with discretion (as opposed to the sequestration’s meat-cleaver approach that cuts 13% from every line in the budget) could be applied without hurting security.

If the cuts are targeted, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment’s Todd Harrison said, the Pentagon could be forced to make tough choices but still maintain a potent force. "This will really forces (the military) to rethink its strategy," Harrison told USA Today. "That's not always a bad thing."

Since 2001, the national defense budget has nearly doubled from $287 billion to $530 billion – and that amount doesn’t even include the cost of two wars in the Middle East. In 2011, that cost the country had spent about $718 billion on defense and international security assistance and $729 billion in 2012.