Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bachelet Win Could Mean Big Cuts In Chile's Military Budget

Indications are that Michelle Bachelet will win November's election, making her president of the republic for a second time. Despite her socialist leanings, Chile's armed forces made some major weapons acquisitions during her 2006-2010 term, as the windfall from soaring copper prices allowed Chile to buy used F-16 fighter jets, maritime patrol aircraft and much of the armor that today comprises the army's cavalry units. But a Chilean defense and policy expert doesn't expect Bachelet to do much for defense spending in a second term. Bachelet's administration reinterpreted the military's copper tax (10% of export sales by state-owned mining company Codelco), resulting in a sharp reduction of funds, Daniel Prieto Vial told this blog via e-mail. By doing so, Bachelet deprived the military of its full allowance under the tax and, he says, essentially violated the funding law. Current president Sebastian PiƱera has continued the course, Prieto Vial added. "That's why Chile is starting to fall behind, and Peru -- which has much larger armed forces than Chile's, with sizable reserves -- is starting to quickly pass us in terms of modern equipment." Meanwhile, El Periodista gave a chilling outlook for Chile's military spending if the center-left coalition wins power. Leaders of that coalition have been developing a plan that would cap the weapons budget at about $300 million a year. That's a drastic cut from the more than $500 million that would be budgeted under a planned replacement of the copper tax, which itself has provided upwards of $1 billion annually. The center-left leaders argue that Chile's military strength did nothing to dissuade Peru from challenging its maritime border in the International Court. Instead, they would seek a rapprochement with Peru, making Chile less of a military threat by moving some units away from the northern border. They would also keep Chile's military acquisitions more or less in line with its neighbors', effectively forfeiting Chile's military superiority. The generals are said to be worried.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The left has never done anything for Chile, all government does is damage economies. I don't understand why Chileans don't get it! Bachelet slowed economic growth during her term why elect her again?

Anonymous said...

300 million a year that would be a joke whats the point of having a military if you aren't willing to work on having it better than your potential adversary. trying to have an equal strength psshhh i think the left want Peru and chile to be similar to each other in every way makes me angry should we just keep using useless equipment because peru cant manage the task of replacing their t55 tanks! war is not fare. hope to god there is no war and better equipment will make sure of that. keep up the good job always follow you.and much love and respect to my Peruvian friends. and hope we never have to go to those measures

Anonymous said...

Just bloody great, moving away units from the Northern border. Not to mention that my city got screwed by the very same left (only with cheap make-up, now calling themselves "New Majority" or something like that), and knowing how our neighbours are, they will take chances whenever they can to screw the country up in the arse!, politically. At least I dearly hope that war never comes to my doorstep, because I am standing in the frontier right now. Just randomness of birth, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The multi-million dollars spending by the Chile Army did not scare the country of Peru at all instead they managed to circumvent the fire power and brought Chile to the court of Hague with a very real claim to solve the controversy of Maritime delimitation that at the present time does not explicitly exist, Instead Chile desperately tried a double interpretation of a 2 fishing agreements to validate the unilateral the facto maritime border. In Silmilar situation Nicaragua did to Colombia a won. So no matter how strength is one of the adversaries the weaker will find the way to inflict a defeat without firing a bullet. This is Master Diplomacy instead of Brutus Force.

Anonymous said...

If it comes to brute force being the criteria for a weapon, I tell you that at times the politicians are FAR more WEAKER. And, sadly other point in diplomacy. By now, trying to stay in touch with the Bolivian demand in the Hague. And Peru seems to be stirring up things back in Lima, stay tuned, could be something big.