It is frequently claimed that the United States spends an inordinate amount on its military, as reflected in the fact that its military budget exceeds the combined military budgets of the next 17 largest military spenders. Left-leaning politicians can't seem to enter into a discussion about military spending without framing the issue in such terms, presenting the above statistic as irrefutable proof that the US can and should cut back on its military become less of a global outlier. The statistic is, in fact, completely misleading, being mostly a reflection of the sheer size of the American economy as a whole. As a percentage of GDP, the United States spends slightly more on military than is typical for a Western country, but not that much more. The world average for military spending is 2.2 percent GDP, and the US spends a mere .9 percent GDP above that, at 3.1 percent GDP. For reference, France spends 2.3 percent, UK 1.8 percent, Australia 2.0 percent. So what these politicians are basically saying is: "Two percent may be reasonable, but three percent?! At three percent we're a global scandal." It's pretty laughable.
Some countries spend significantly more on their militaries compared to the US, and one of them (Russia), has only recently warmed up to the US after more than half a century of extreme hostilities, at one point coming within inches (we are now learning) of launching a nuclear strike against the US that would have destroyed it and probably the entire world. It is not unreasonable to suppose that tensions could rise up again, especially if a democrat in the mold of Hillary Clinton were to occupy the White House.
When combined, Chinese and Russian military spending amounts to approximately half the US military budget, even though China spends a mere 1.9 percent GDP on military, and between them have more than five times the population of the United States. China's real (price-adjusted) GDP has already surpassed that of the US, and is on course to surpass the US in actual GDP within a few decades. Therefore, what the US is looking at is a potential hostile military alliance that beats it in GDP and population. In such a world, American military dominance could only be maintained with the help of Western allies, who often have their own separate agendas.
It's hard to see why the US, as the one global superpower, should feel embarrassed that it spends slightly more on military than other Western countries, who in some ways can only get away with their smaller military budgets thanks to the protection offered by the United States.
This is yet another instance of the democrats resorting to dishonest framing when facts do not support their preferred conclusion.