No area of policy requires more care, caution, and historical perspective than foreign policy and national defense. Mistakes in this area get people killed.
The main purpose of our foreign and military policy is to protect the independence of our nation and the freedom of its people.
The greatest current threat to our freedom is the United States government, which violates the liberties of its citizens continuously. Spending the blood of our troops and trillions of dollars in far away lands reduces our liberties and increases the very real threats from our government itself. External threats to our freedom are occasional (such as terrorist attacks) or hypothetical (fears that Russia or China seeks world domination).
The "Islamic State" considers itself at war with the United States and has killed Americans. Normally that would be sufficient reason for a decisive war against them. However there are excellent reasons that we should not fight the Islamic State in the way it wants, with U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
Radical Islam is not just in Iraq and Syria, but also in Nigeria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iran, and many other areas. To achieve a clear and decisive victory, as the Allies did in World War 2, we would have to occupy multiple countries covering millions of square miles. We would need to put perhaps ten million American troops in as occupiers, a number reached only through widespread military conscription. We would need to impose military government and impose religious toleration by force, otherwise American forces would be helping intolerant Islamic regimes. We would need to continue this occupation for a long time, perhaps a hundred years or longer, continuously fighting the inevitable resistance. The costs would be perhaps a hundred trillion dollars, but our country would be long bankrupt before that sum was reached. Because radical Islam is much more an idea than a territory, we might still fail.
Many in Congress and our government want to keep fighting indefinitely in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. These war supporters do not deal with the problems of our policies:
The United States should withdraw entirely from the Middle East, including Aghanistan and Iraq. We should stop providing any money or military assistance to any country in the region.
Without United States involvement, the countries in the region still have strong interests in defeating Islamic State, and ample means to do so.
In 1945 atomic bombs destroyed two Japanese cities. Since then we and other countries have developed arsenals of many thousands of nuclear bombs. Military inventors have also created deadly biological weapons, precision-guided bombs, and killer robots (developed but not yet widely deployed). There have been multiple close calls when World War 3 nearly happened--it would have destroyed much of humanity.
Another war between great nations is not in our interests, not in Russia's interests, and not in China's interests.
The following ten steps can reduce tensions among the great powers and within the broader community of nations:
While reduced tensions between the great powers is not guaranteed, these policies improve the possibilities of such cooperation.
If we cut our military spending in half we will still spend more than Russia and China combined.
We also have many more strong allies than those two countries. Our allies include Canada, almost all of Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
Here are ten ways we can cut our military spending (and related national security spending) in half:
Note that if we do not make massive cuts in all federal spending, our country will go bankrupt. When Russia went bankrupt in the early 1990s it was unable to pay its military for months, including the officers responsible for nuclear missiles.
Paid for by Martin L. Buchanan