The way I see it there are only two possible external threats. The first is some sort of technological threat such as nuclear weapons. However it would take a substantial number of, say, nuclear warheads to actually destroy us as a nation. So chances are the only way that would be possible is if an entire nation with a vast nuclear arsenal were to attack us. Since we still have quite a few nuclear weapons ourselves that would be unwise on their part.
The other is an invasion force. However do you realize how massive a force would be required to both invade and then occupy the US? How can we not see it coming and blow it the fuck away with our own long range weapons?
My point is there is no real threat to us as a nation. Yes, we can be attacked by terrorists or whatever and they can do some damage, but even then it's extremely unlikely that they can do enough damage to actually destroy the US. Therefore do we really need to spend as much as we do on defense? Do we really need to keep troops stationed abroad? Is our defense spending not vulnerable to as much corruption and waste as other departments in our government?
When we talk about reducing spending why do so many automatically refuse to even consider a reduction in defense spending?
Some argue that terrorists and what not hate us for our freedom, but this is such a silly concept. I doubt they're up at night angry that we dare to be free. Grrr, freedom!
I think the big part of the problem is the fact that we interfere with so many nations and regions. I think if the only contact other nations had with us was positive that we wouldn't be hated nearly as much. Sure, haters are gonna hate. There's always going to be extremists and nutcases, but they'd be hard pressed to get people to join them if we didn't give them reasons to hate us. If we weren't invading countries, if we weren't overthrowing governments and setting up puppet regimes, if we weren't supporting brutal regimes just because we made a buck off them... these are the real reasons why we're hated.
As far as defense goes I'd be all for bringing back the draft if we made cuts in defense and brought all our troops home. Involve all our citizens in the defense of this country, this way if anyone ever IS stupid enough to try to invade us we'll be prepared.
But no one's gonna invade us. No one is a threat. If we keep pretending otherwise, though, we may create a self-fulling prophecy. The only thing that can destroy America is America.