Recent discussions whether or not the United States is strategically “overextended” raise two important questions. First, to what extent can the fiscal and industrial difficulties of the last several decades be attributed to the comparatively high military budgets of the post-1945 period? Second, can the United States continue to maintain something resembling its postwar strategic posture without doing itself grievous economic harm? Although the issue remains open, defense spending would appear to bear only a small part of the responsibility for present U.S. economic problems. As to the future, the question is not so much whether the burden of an extended posture can be borne as whether it should be borne, and who, precisely, should bear it. These are political issues: they are conditioned but not determined by economic factors.