from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

This Is NOT the Time to Clip America’s Global Wings

April 7, 2011

Blog Post

Elliott Abrams and Eliot Cohen at the Intelligence Squared debate on April 5, 2011.
Elliott Abrams and Eliot Cohen at the Intelligence Squared debate on April 5, 2011. (Chris iVultaggio/Intelligence Squared Debates)

Is it time to "clip America’s global wings?"  That was the subject of an Intelligence Squared debate in which I participated this week, teamed with Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies to argue the negative.  Those interested in more detail can watch the debate here, and learn more about it here.

At bottom, the team arguing for the motion urged that defense spending was too high and that we were too deeply involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. We argued that America’s fiscal and budgetary problems clearly stem from exploding spending on entitlements, while defense is not rising as a percentage of GDP.  We also argued that the only winners if America’s role diminishes would be dictators in China, Russia, Syria, Iran and other autocracies, while those fighting for freedom and resisting the power of those nations would be the losers.

I am happy to say we won the debate.

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