John Stossel debates a strawman on militarism

ImageIn a column in today’s Elmira Star-Gazette, John Stossel discusses militarism. Stossel writes that libertarians like himself favor a small military limited to defending us against direct attacks.  Stossel would have us leave the rest of the world alone whatever the consequences. He argues that attempts by our government to intervene in foreign affairs are certain to go wrong. He would significantly reduce military spending making America stronger economically.  Stossel writes:

Our military should be used for defense, not to police the world.

It is an appealing vision.

Stossel’s strawman is former UN Ambassador John Bolton, a hawk. Stossel says Bolton would have us intervene by making war whenever our interests are threatened anywhere. Stossel writes:

Bolton thinks it’s dangerous and provocative for America to appear militarily weak. He supported the Iraq War and says that if Iran were close to getting nuclear weapons the U.S. should attack.

Stossel argues against this view citing failed interventions in Viet Nam and Iraq. I agree with Stossel to the extent that aggressive militarism is dangerous, unwarranted, and likely to be futile.

Stossel doesn’t mention any middle ground, but there is no need to accept either Stossel’s view or Bolton’s. America can have an active foreign policy, cooperating with others, without intervening militarily at every crisis.  We should carefully choose our battles, possibly intervening in foreign affairs reasonably, responsibly, and appropriately when justified.

© William Hungerford – June 2014



About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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2 Responses to John Stossel debates a strawman on militarism

  1. josephurban says:

    Stossel has made a good living being the master of the half-truth. He is not really a thinker as much as he is a proponent of a narrow world view. His reporting has never been balanced and his “educational” videos are simply libertarian propaganda.. But, like all hucksters, he makes a good living at it !


  2. solodm says:

    Bolton has enjoyed the “close ties to the George W. Bush administration. More than twenty AEI scholars served in the administration, and Bush addressed the institute on three occasions. “I admire AEI a lot–I’m sure you know that,” Bush said. “After all, I have been consistently borrowing some of your best people.”

    It would appear there’s been bad blood between Stossel and the Bush administration as well as Bolton for awhile. This from 2012.

    Neither Stossel’s or Bolton’s defense strategies sound reasoned, just ‘cut’ in the one case, and ‘kill’ in the other. However, Stossel may be coming from a deep seated ideological stance, whereas, Bolton’s ( a once AEI Vice president) stance, may come a profit motive.


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