Foreign Policy and Left Priorities: A Reply to James B. Rule

Foreign Policy and Left Priorities: A Reply to James B. Rule

James B. Rule invites the left to think carefully about foreign policy, and in particular about the use of military force by the United States (“On Evils Abroad and America’s New World Order,” Dissent, Summer 1999). We should accept Rule’s invitation to debate; he is pointing us in the right direction. But the dilemmas he describes will be more difficult to solve than his essay suggests.

Rule’s article has two main parts: in the first section he demonstrates, correctly, how U.S. military expenditures have not fallen much from their cold war levels. In the second he discusses the principles on which U.S. military intervention ought to be based. The two parts are linked by an implicit assumption that defense spending during the present period of “peace” ought to be substantially less than during the cold war.

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