As Murray Rothbard often emphasized, the free market and a peaceful foreign policy are indispensable partners. We cannot maintain a free market if the government engages in a bellicose foreign policy. A powerful and aggressive state constantly engaged in war requires vast resources to sustain it, and “military socialism” is an all-too-present reality.
From this perspective, a recent interview of Andrew Bacevich and John Mearsheimer on Obama’s Legacy is disheartening. Both Bacevich and Mearsheimer are leading foreign policy scholars: Bacevich, a retired Army lieutenant- colonel, has been a trenchant critic of the militarization of American foreign policy, and Mearsheimer is the leading theorist of “realism,” a view that challenges ideological crusading and favors strictly limiting foreign policy goals to the national interest.
Obama entered office as a critic of American foreign policy, but he soon disappointed the expectations of those who hoped for fundamental change .Mearsheimer says,”what disappoints me about Obama is that, when he came into office, he gave the impression he was going to reduce America’s global commitments, in the sense that he was going to wind down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and greatly reduce our footprint in the Middle East.”
Obama in fact proved to be an interventionist. Bacevich summarizes the record in this way ”I think the place to begin is to remember that Barack Obama made two promises. The first promise was to end the Iraq War, which he dismissed as ‘the stupid war,’ and the second promise was to win the Afghanistan War, which he described as ‘the necessary war.’ Lo and behold, here we are eight years later and he has been unable to deliver on either…