The Cato Institute’s Chris Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies, is the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free. Read here from Chris’ “Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy.”
War is the largest and most far-reaching of all statist enterprises: an engine of collectivization that undermines private enterprise, raises taxes, destroys wealth, and subjects all aspects of the economy to regimentation and central planning.”
An abhorrence of war flows from the classical liberal tradition. Adam Smith taught that “peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice” were the essential ingredients of good government. Other classical liberals, from Richard Cobden and John Stuart Mill to Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, excoriated war as incompatible with Liberty.
The United States should and will participate in the international system. It must remain engaged in the world. But it is wrong to equate engagement with global military dominance and perpetual warfare.