For more than a century, the Army and Navy Club’s halls have hosted members of the United States military, making it a fitting location for the Charles Koch Institute’s conversation on whether intervention has proven a necessary strategy for safety.
“As opposition to the United States increases, we begin to see threats everywhere and so we start compromising civil liberties here at home.”
– Stephen Walt
Stephen Walt opened for the panelists, discussing the problems that have arisen due to intervention. One issue that he raised was how interventionism has tarnished the United States’ image because “As opposition to the United States increases, we begin to see threats everywhere and so we start compromising civil liberties here at home.”
William Ruger continued by providing a clear explanation of restraint in foreign policy, why it is a viable choice for the United States, and how United States intervention has sometimes harmed the countries and people it intended to help.
Defense spending was also on the table as Eugene Gholz discussed how introducing restraint into foreign policy conversations would help slow the growth of the defense budget. Restraint for Gholz would not mean cutting the defense budget entirely, but it would necessitate careful justification for all U.S. defense spending decisions.
The panelists grounded the discussion further by drawing on historical examples and current events to illustrate where the United States could easily begin implementing aspects of restraint, answering moderator Paul Sanders’ questions regarding how practical restraint is.