Folks who study foreign and defense policy (like my colleague Steve Saideman, who's written a lot of good stuff on the F-35 program) know that much of the time, foreign policy is really domestic policy in disguise. This can cause serious problems for those who want to see defense posturing and arms buildups as Realist responses to perceived international threats, rather than what they are: domestic politics by another name.
The latest case of this phenomenon can be seen here:
What's clear from this story is that the Abrams isn't a response to an ongoing threat or a tool to meet significant security concerns in the 21st century. It's a government-funded jobs program, pure and simple. And for all the Tea Party talk about shrinking government and all the Ayn Rand/F.A. Hayek calls to get the government out of the economy and let the market do its work, jobs programs that produce weapons still enjoy widespread bipartisan support. Where is the anger and outrage from the so-called fiscal hawks within the Republican party over this? One can only imagine the hue and cry if this were a bill to fund $500,000,000 worth of public school teachers that districts said they didn't need...
It's a fool's errand, of course, to look for consistency on Capitol Hill or to ask politicians to hold logically coherent positions. We expect that from our elected officials. We just need to remember that the next time they come peddling some one-size-fits-all, solution-to-everything dogma. Look at their behavior; it's clear that they themselves don't believe it, so why should we?