We’re living through the longest period of peace the modern world has ever known, so why all the hysteria of late? John Glaser, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, says it’s past time to start closing many of the 800 U.S. military bases around the world, and retool America’s strategy for deterring threats. He argues that the current saber rattling with Iran and North Korea represent the consequences of decades of overly-expansionist interventions. The idea of a “Pax Americana,” or the pacifying influence of American military dominance, has been around since the beginning of the Cold War. It has led us to make compromises with brutal dictators to maintain bases near perceived threats, and continues to cost us hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Worse, the alleged deterrent effect of a hegemonic military power may be an illusion. In a recent Cato policy paper*, Glaser persuasively argues that certain countries, which might otherwise feel neutrally towards the U.S., end up feeling threatened, and ramp up their military spending accordingly. Did Trump’s “get tough” rhetoric at the U.N. make us more or less safe?
- *Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous, by John Glaser, Policy Analysis No. 816. July 18, 2017.
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- Cato Foreign Policy and National Security