Maybe it’s just me, but I have a new stay-at-home pastime that I am not proud of. Online shopping. Glass of wine in one hand, the other continues a cycle of endless scrolling and clicking ‘Add to Cart.’ Thankfully, my commitment issues extend well beyond romantic relationships and indeed to my intent to follow through with purchasing. Though, all this infinite time had me wondering, what could I buy online with an infinite amount of money? Say an exorbitant $85 billion dollars? Incidentally, eighty-five billion is the hefty price tag of the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program – the next generation of nuclear Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Housed in silos across America, but thankfully, not yet stocked online. Here’s four ways you could spend that money:
- 7,989,241,0384 Red Heart-Shaped Mini Waffle-Makers at $11.99. That’s right! You could have nearly 8 billion waffle-makers for pumping out the breakfast of your dreams. Compact and lightweight for travel purposes, just like an ICBM! Your kitchen might be a chaotic mess, but at least the world won’t be one.
- 141,903,171 Patagonia Women’s Tres 3-in-1 Parkas for $599 a pop. Expenny, but at least you’ll be semi-prepared for the nuclear winter that could arise from even a ‘limited’ nuclear conflict in future.
- 4,252,126,063 of your very own Hen Couture Rubber Chicken Coin Purse, at just $19.99 each. I quote, “Whether you are a chicken lover or a connoisseur of fine handbags, this is a must-add to your wallet and coin purse collection!” Alas, I am neither, but let’s hope there are four billion, two-hundred and fifty-two million, one-hundred and twenty-six thousand and sixty-three of you out there somewhere?
- In need of a nap-break from all this online shopping? 858,585,858 of the revolutionary power nap pillow, the Original Ostrichpillow at $99, could be yours. So, cocoon up, escape reality and take a well-deserved break from the headlines of 2020 – we sure need it.
From my expedition into the depths of the internet, I’m left with one question: Is there anything out there that an ICBM couldn’t buy? Indeed there are endless possibilities, but what should we be adding to our shopping wishlist? An ICBM or 4,252,126,063 chicken coin purses? At least the purses have a practical application… But alternatively? 726,000 intensive-care beds. 84,800 ventilators. 363,400 nurses. 181,700 doctors. In fact, 85 billion dollars is enough to fund all of that combined. What about investing for a sustainable future or providing adequate economic and social safety-nets for the American people?
This is the opportunity cost of exorbitant spending on nuclear weapons. This is what it costs the American people. Spending on weapons, which both by the inhumane devastation of their impact and the logic of deterrence, should never be used. Wasting away resources that could be saving lives seems even more foolish than my own attempt at budgeting, and that’s really saying something. It simply doesn’t make sense.
My deep-dive into online shopping addictions found that a flagship sign of compulsive online shopping is ‘buying things that I don’t need, or much more than I planned, even when I can’t afford it.’ The unfortunate reality is this fits the bill in describing America’s uncontrollable defense spending problem.
My deep-dive into online shopping addictions found that a flagship sign of compulsive online shopping is ‘buying things that I don’t need, or much more than I planned, even when I can’t afford it.’ The unfortunate reality is this fits the bill in describing America’s uncontrollable defense spending problem. Only recently, the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea stated that the U.S. was ready to spend Russia and China “into oblivion” to win a new nuclear arms race. It seems our military leaders continue to add more and more to their cart, despite already having a wardrobe full of deadly and devastating choices.
This obsession reflects seriously misplaced priorities that are hurting the very people the White House is supposed to protect. As the United States looks set to reach five million cases of COVID-19, the absurdity and irresponsibility of where and how money is being squandered is all too apparent. Narrow definitions of national security continue to consistently ignore the actual survival and livelihood of human beings. It fails to provide for their actual security.
Not to mention, nuclear weapons have long gone out of style (and for good reason). In fact, at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, 122 countries voted in favour of completely prohibiting the possession, development and testing of nuclear weapons in international law due to their catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects. America’s bloated nuclear arsenal, which may once have been considered Cold War chic, is truly criminal, and not just a crime against fashion. The likes of Trump and Billingslea are pushing for nuclear weapons to make a retro-comeback in international affairs. We can’t let that happen.
So, rather than losing your next fifteen minutes on spaced-out scrolling – why not take a moment to help put the brakes back on the nuclear menace? Tell your officials to stop nuclear testing or call on them to support #NoFirstUse. The call to take nuclear weapons off America’s wish list must be loud and must be heard. Your voice is a force for change, and trust me, the satisfaction and rewards of using it will be much greater than any online buy.