Cato Institutes Chris Preble: Your and my #1 source on defense and foreign policy studies
My friend Chris Preble is VP for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.
To get off on the right foot here, I will tell you that Chris is the best there is on the subject of America’s place in the world order.
I have worked with Chris for over seven years, and count myself as one of the most informed citizens in the country on the subject of what Chris calls The Power Problem, and how America abuses its power with little to show for the effort (Read my review of the book here).
RCY: Chris How confident are you that Donald Trump will not get us into a war with by example Syria.
CP: I am not as confident as I’d like to be that President Trump won’t start a new war. We could stumble into one in Syria, or Yemen. Or charge into one in North Korea or Iran. The generals aren’t anxious to do that, but they are equally determined not to lose the wars we’re in. And sometimes the right decision is to cut one’s losses.
RCY: Should the President be the guy making the choice on cutting America’s losses?
CP: Those decisions must be made by the president, not anyone else.
RCY: Chris How much money has America spent Afghanistan?
CP: We’ve spent more money in Afghanistan than we did to rebuild Europe after World War II. I just don’t see the point of increasing troops there at this point, and yet that is what is happening. By granting the authority to the generals, Trump is washing his hands of it. If it goes well, he can claim credit. If it doesn’t, he can blame them. Sort of like Congress has been doing with our wars for 50 years!
RCY: Are we fighting for national survival today?
CP: The American Civil War or World War II, those were fights for national survival, especially the former. What we’re fighting today doesn’t feel like that to me. But I know that there is considerable disagreement on that point.