Our Foreign Policy Is Stealing Our Future
America first as a foreign policy is what Washington needs, now more than ever. This is not to say that altruism is never called for. Instead, one should realize that politicians never operate out of pure altruism. Politicians are people too, with goals and the capacity to becorrupted.
Escalations across the globe are enticing the United States to become increasingly involved. To resist this temptation, American citizens and legislators must remember part of what made the American experiment so unique. President Washington famously warned against entangling alliances in his farewell address to Congress. Overextension, a large financial burden, and less than virtuous goals should make Americans pay close attention to America’s foreign policy decisions.
American Foreign Policy Has Jeopardized Its Financial Future.
Our defense budget is unjustifiable. 2021 American defense spending was at $801 billion, larger than the next nine countries combined. The Department of Defense was recently given an increased budget of $858 billion with the most recent NDAA in 2022. Recently the DOD failed its fifth ever audit, with about half of its assets unaccounted for.
This is simply unacceptable for taxpayers, and would not be tolerated in a market setting. The United States has the highest debt to GDP ratio in the world, and regularly runs high budget deficits. This is currently possible because of America’s position as the world reserve currency, but this position will inevitably change as the American dollar is weakened by inflation and recession. With a large budget deficit every year and federal debt at over $31.3 trillion, it is time to re-evaluate America’s foreign policy objectives.
The Cost of America’s Foreign Policy Missteps Outweigh Its Foreign Policy Successes
Let us not forget the blatantly false narratives that brought American soldiers into an “endless war” in Iraq. US intelligence knew that Iraq did not have WMDs, but the president’s administration pushed for a connection to be made. After all, a big bad villain is very good for presidential approval ratings and re-election campaigns.
Intervention and the “war on terror” over the last 20 years has cost the American tax- payer upwards of $3 trillion, and conservative estimates put deaths around 900,000, (the vast majority civilian). To give some perspective, this is around the yearly GDP of France, and the total population of Fiji.
Afghanistan was a similar story, only this time the blowback was more direct. US agents funded mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan in an effort to weaken the Soviet Union. Many of these fighters were able to organize and effectively train because of American funding. Once the Soviets gave up in Afghanistan, factions of the mujahideen would form a new governmental organization called the Taliban.
The United States of course was stuck fighting against the Taliban for decades until President Biden finally pulled American troops out. America’s hasty, (although necessary), withdraw left billions of dollars of tax-payer funded equipment that was either purposefully damaged by fleeing American soldiers, or commandeered by the Taliban. These two examples are recent, and some of the worst, but are far from the only instances of the US government wasting tax dollars to pursue unrealistic or dishonest goals overseas.
American International Altruism Needs Reassessing
Foreign aid programs are notorious for their ineffectiveness. It is often seen that states which rely on large amounts of foreign aid are reluctant to wean off of it in the future. This can lead to states that do not diversify their economies, provide incentives for investment, or respect property rights. States such as these find it difficult to modernize and difficult to sustain growth With few measures to hold them accountable, corrupt regimes regularly misallocate foreign aid, leading to large amounts of money given in bribes or pocketed by government officials.
It is a lot for the tax payer to shoulder the costs of: proxy wars in Yemen and Ukraine, regular drone campaigns in Somalia and Syria, what are essentially military occupations in South Korea and Okinawa, and the subsidization of Israel and Saudi Arabia’s military. This is especially hard to swallow when these policies rarely result in the desired outcome.
Conclusion: A World Recession Will Be Worsened by Global Conflict. Stop Stealing Our Future.
Most global events that effect that United States effect the United States because policy makers wish for it to be so. America has strategic alliances all over the world, because it has given itself these strategic allies, not because the alliances just fell into America’s lap.
America as the world’s policeman is outdated and unrealistic. Europe has the economy to be its own keeper, it just has to be forced to do so. The same can be said for South Korea and Japan. Most conflicts in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are self-contained, and do not directly effect the United States.
While some may wish a for a large empire of liberty to keep evil forces at bay around the globe, this is utopian. The cost of this policy is not justified and the effects are less than ideal. If the United States wants to avoid over-extension and dangerous blowback, it would be smart to re-evaluate this policy of world primacy.