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tv   John Mueller The Stupidity of War  CSPAN  July 5, 2022 4:55am-6:01am EDT

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today panel we have john fuller. he is a senior research scientist at the mershon center and a senior fellow at the cato institute. we also have martha crenshaw who is an emeritus professor and the fellow at friedmans. finally we have christopher who is a professor at tulane university. i am the moderator and i'm a senior fellow at the cato institute. with that i'm going to kick it off to john to start us off and he can tell us about his book. >> thanks very much brandon and thanks for putting this all together. the book is basically called the fee of an idea. this war is pretty stupid and let me share this successfully
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hopefully. this is the idea that is dwight eisenhower put it war is tragic and stupid folly and sentiment plays by norman schwarzkopf later seek and see. it's an idea that group the course of the 20th century and we are now in a position where he basically seems to have some dilly euphemism. europe for example used to be the world's most warlike continent and it has not had a significant international war for 75 years. in fact it is not -- it is yet to go back to find a similar. since the word europe was invented 2500 years ago there is never been a period a piece like
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this so let me look at some data here. i'd like to define what i'm talking about when i talk about war. war is the military standard concept in which the assumption is that it's not a war unless there is thousands battle related deaths in a single year. i will talk about how we might modify that in a minute but this has happened since 1945. there've been a fair number of civil wars without outside intervention and the international has been quite low. some of them have been pretty bad but what's happened mostly as after europe and essentially the world decided not to have international wars other countries caught on as well. civil wars with arab states and pakistanis to have direct wars
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and they don't anymore. if you look toward the right the number of international wars basically they are been few wars like to in this entire century, the 21st century. both of them are created by the united states in afghanistan in 2001 and the attack on saddam hussein in 2003 after which of course those wars evolved into an international war. i do want to say that if war like behavior has declined in other words you aren't quite ready for that there are still interventions and countries are doing things which are warlike but they are doing wars and entering into wars with each other. their economic sanctions which can have it to look serious effect but overall a large number of border conflicts maybe 50 to 70 in which one country
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ties tries to seize territory from another but they have only had areas which were unpopulated or i'm curious in. afterwards in other words they are trying to keep them from becoming wars. there was one between india and china a year ago. they shoot bows across bows and they engaged in espionage and stealing secrets. that's been going on forever and it continues. there has been use of cyber to spread misinformation and hardly a new phenomenon. and there have been covid regime changes. those deftly continue but i
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don't think they are basically wars. essentially what has happened is states have given up the idea for the most part of using war as a method for getting what they want and mostly changing attitudes towards war going back 100 years. before 1914. were universally considered to be an acceptable and inevitable and for many people a way of settling international differences and it's very easy before world war i to find people saying this about war, progressive redemptive and holy and so forth. what i found is people said that
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before wolf or two, before world war i. for example the journal i was thumbing through from 19th century there's an article called god's purpose by war by peter rosin and this is what he said. war is human nature given the spirit of dominance over the flesh. i could give you hundreds even thousands of examples. now what happened with world war i was attitudes change. it marks the end of the span of 5000 years of an institution and another political scientist and historian said the same things. the question why was world war i so important why did do that there've been millions of destructive wars in which one side is annihilated for example. world war i was hardly unusual
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in its affinity and big greek and trojan war lasted 10 years with the totaled destruction of troy. if you want a stupid war check out the world of 1812. the war was on romantic and not the first war in which they had dysentery and leeches. they had been around forever. the worst economic development in europe during that period of time and sometimes called the european miracle didn't have as much of an impact. the only thing that is unique about world war i is 20 years previous to it for the first time in history it organized a peace movement and individual peace people the quakers and stuff like that this is the first time they organize that to be against war.
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at the end of the war what happened was everybody was in the peace movement so there is a concentrated movement to get rid of international war. we don't want to do that any longer. one was japan. it learned its lesson of world war ii and the other was in germany. my position basically is if he hadn't been their world war ii when it happened. nonetheless after world war ii the earlier attitudes pretty much reef by the concert -- concentrated effort. they have largely been
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effective. this is my last slide. what i'm trying to argue is we have reached a culture of society of international peace and which again it only means international states, countries do not use direct warfare is a way of settling their international differences. they do it for other things which ira went through. some of the consequences seem to be this. one is an international status doesn't come from winning wars but from putting out a good olympics in having economy that works well sending a rocket to her towards the moon. the two countries that have enjoyed status or japan and germany and neither which came out well in world war ii. there is a unique concept of power and influence and the whole idea of using a system or structure to explain
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international relations is a society of states equal but not otherwise equal and they just try to get along and they don't use war to enhance their prospects. in addition if there is a position of international peace international peace is facilitated. that is to say if you're going to war with someone you make over there and see if there's something you want to buy her something you want to sell. it makes it easier but international trade is the desire for peace is facilitated by international trade. similar steps toward democracy. he if you're going to fight a war you may be thinking about getting rid of that tyrant who's been trying to protect you. it also means there is no large standing military.
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ui mod to keep some in reserve in case we have another or something like that and also means the united states or anybody are irrelevant as they were during the cold war. they never wanted to get into another war. anybody -- jumping from a 50's story would windowless more terrifying than a five-story building and the whole idea that these of thing by the united states and liberal world order mostly has things backwards. basically what you have is a bunch of countries who want to work out the rules of international order given we have to figure out history and figure out trade and other institutions and so forth but the institutions are the thing that come out of that
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negotiation. they don't pause the condition of world order it seems to me that lack of international war. there's a community formed for example in 1950 between germany and france and the basic idea there was that we want to have these economies intertwined so that they can go to war with each other. 1945 as far as i know there's never been a single person in germany or france has gotten on the soap oxen said you know we used to get into wars all the time. that was really great, let's do it again. there's nobody is ever said that. basically it's the desire for peace. that would be the same for other institutions and finally it's kind of a situation of anarchy
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and maybe it's too libertarian here but maybe that's the condition in this case. you don't want to use war then maybe the energy not having a world government is a fairly good idea. we can use institutions and agreements of countries that can pull out of them anytime they want. and then finally there are concerns about a lot of countries. china russia north korea iran. they are troublemakers and their palms but i don't think war is in the offing. all of them china and russia are trading space and nobody knows countries has real ideas about taking over the world could similarly nuclear proliferation is a pain in the neck but it's
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not very important if you have nuclear weapons or you don't doesn't make that much difference. cyber a way of fighting wars connected to heat of the nonsense that is part of every election and you can do so. so basically these are some of the things which come out of this a sick idea that war is not an acceptable or desirable or sensible way of conducting international affairs. >> thank you. i think next will go to martha crenshaw. >> thank you. thanks very much. i really enjoyed john's brief
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presentation on the book "the stupidity of war." every time there's a new book i always welcome it. it's well thought out and provocative and bold and challenging and changes the assumptions of how we think about things. i was reminded of presidential campaign some years ago when john kerry was audacious enough to say that our policy should be treat terrorism as a nuisance until it reaches the stage where it's an essential threat. it was a very costly thing in terms of political prospects. he says these things and says them boldly and present a strong reasoning behind it. it also says that i have more
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than an academic and just in the stupidity of war. i have had experience with u.s. military my father in world war ii and a number by classmates were drafted for the war in vietnam and some did not come home. my son did two tours in iraq and the national guard so i have a strong interest in the subject and i'm very inclined to be favorable towards john's argument. my questions have to do with looking forward and where do we go and how should we think about these things? i'm encouraged to believe that there is a culture of peace and an aversion to international war.
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it's not something that is material but just the case where are i'd been to these, this is something we do not do we don't expected of others and we don't expected of ourselves and has a lot to do with image and psychology. if we accept that we do we face going forward? is a particularly timely discussion on the part of president biden to withdraw all pictures from afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the 911 attacks which he appears quite committed to doing despite the advice of his military leaders which has always been to keep at least a residual force in afghanistan for fear of collapse. and as john pointed out in his book this reminds us of vietnam.
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in the end we gave up and we pulled out and we are all quite familiar with what happened in 1975 which we quickly forgot. we forgot the war in vietnam and we in reinvented it and later for iraq. the question is why does the culture of peace not carry over to the military intervention in civil war. civil war overtakes an international warrant generally civil conflict because i share john's almost implicit definition of the civil war. we have an extremely high amount of conflict but it never reaches that level. it's often very deadly. how do we develop an aversion
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for that and when that we have an aversion and that raises a question to me that there are other drivers of conflict and intervention in the use of military force beyond whatever cultural diversion to war. i think it's a very strong pr crissy such as the american military. he coined the famous concept of the military-industrial complex. we have a very large military. there's bound to be a self-interest on the part of the military leaders. we do have forces if it's special operations or counterterrorism. we have done extensive use of
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drones is a counterterrorism measure but discussions now the post-afghanistan we are going to have an over the horizon counterterrorism policy which will be a standoff policy but certainly there's no suggestion that we will give up the use of military force in terms of dealing with civil wars and terrorism. how do we explain why we seem unable to resist the temptation to intervene. there are many under the bush demonstrations interventions in iraq and afghanistan in terms of the war on terrorism. there are some doubts about calling it a war on terrorism. it seemed to be far too expensive and we seem to have been exaggerated threat and sense of our risk from certain
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types of violence and conflict out of proportion to the reality. we compare for simple threat of terrorism to the threat of world war ii. it's always done a very bad name and i have to -- john for his courage in navigating the complacency of people who are more in favor of deterrence and not giving in and not showing any sign of weakness for the domino theory. there are humanitarian questions on some and we resist them on others. will the bureaucracy pushes them toward another factor here that
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i think john doesn't mention so much in the book that something is the shift from the draft to the volunteer army. many people said once we shifted to the so-called volunteer army transitions and armed forces and most folks don't know anyone in the military. they don't feel essential connection to the military and therefore the argument runs that it's much easier to use intervening in civil wars and pressure through counterterrorism. i don't know how we get the owned this and i'd be happy to hear john's ideas. how to get leaders how do you get them to -- the threat and to communicate to the public a
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realistic approach? the next thing people will point to of course is excessive partisanship and i think that's a factor as well. i don't know how to restore a nonpartisan bipartisan foreign-policy in the u.s.. i that would be a helpful step forward as well. it's one thing that one political party or political faction uses against the political party or political faction. you don't want to stand up for principles and for right then how can we overcome that? i guess they feel a little pessimistic. i tend to be pessimistic and skeptical on outlooks. i will conclude on that note and
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again i recommend the book to all of the listeners in perdue's offense in seminar. i think you'll find it challenging provocative. thank you. >> inc. you and first off i will note we are getting a lot of great questions. people are coming to the filtering service we have and first we will turn to christopher from tulane university is also an adjunct professor. >> thank you brandon and thank you for inviting me to talk here today. i will contain my comments to 3.5 hours i will do my best but i want everyone to know 1989 john mueller predicted that they would see a cold war ending and we are going to see a gradual ammunition of warfare. we are going to see war come to a lower level, state wars and ethnic wars and the cold war
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comes to a close. we are going to see a gradual decline in more. many people we would see civilizations becoming anarchy in the words of the political scientist. john was right and as we have seen over the course of last 30 years there's a decline in all kinds of warfare all kinds of violence and have been making a well-publicized of the last few decades but i read this book with a sense of frustration and away because i agree with almost everything that john writes in i wonder if he was thinking i wonder how may times just to tell people this. i have had many conversations with people or scholars over time who say some version of
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this. john is probably right but what can we do about it? they are saying look i'm going to continue on and if you are researching and practicing it'll be exactly how i did it before and it won't affect the war seems to be disappearing over time and it's frustrating to some degree because this is the most important process the most important trend in international politics and certainly in my lifetime and maybe ever where we have seen so much less warfare than ever before and what john is dealing with this book for tillerson greenies coming up at against the wall of belief spreads not just that he's asking you to change your ideas about the proper role of the u.s. power but asking people to question their most basic elites about what is right and wrong
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and beliefs are different than ideas. beliefs are more connected to who we are. they are emotional. they are just intellectual and the people ask you to change or reconsider your fundamental beliefs people react with anger and frustration. to some degree or believe about the international system is connected to our identity so it's very difficult to get people to change the way they think about unfolding evidence that john appears to be right. one of the beliefs he also is to change or to consider is the utility of complacency or appeasement is martha mentioned of u.s. strategy. appeasement is a word now
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unfortunately. would never have the idea to attack culture. it was going to happen anyway. british policy we would hand over some type of global leadership through appeasement but ask yourself about the notion of complacency turning around the saying of don't just stand there, do something. it was more like don't just do something, stand there. what if we weren't so eager to get involved in matters that we barely understand. there's a quotation from the speaker of the house danny thomas green who when he was advising the president about a crisis in venezuela in 1897 there's a good rule in politics when he don't know what to do don't do anything, do nothing.
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we know what to do then. it's a pretty good idea when you don't know what to do don't do anything. what would the world look like? would war returned to various parts of the world where it seemed to have left for now lacks their u.s. policy circles that without u.s. power without military deployment and u.s. military spending the world would evolve into chaos and john makes a kit pretty good case in this book that powers what stands between the world in chaos and wisdom of this belief in u.s. policymakers at the grass of the world can't figure out what to do. living in peace is better than fighting each other. so it is not just u.s. power that makes us indispensable to quote the words of secretary of
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state madam albright but other countries are dispensable. it's not just the power the military might that makes us indispensable but our wisdom. is that not necessarily the case? what if we are not doing much but policing the world and what if we are not as wise and some of our decisions and their viewpoint as we think we are? wanted the idea that comes up in john's book and some of these are the writings is the costa rica option. there's a thought exercise about this. what if for now, for funded by the states were to cut its military spending by 90% per costa rica pantomimed some other countries do not have a military pay what would happen if we did that? what would happen if rather than
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spend $750 billion on our military we spent the same amount of vladimir putin spends every year? with other countries of my want to attack us and will be not be able to police the world? most years except last two years that would have raised their budget deficit and free up money for whatever your political beliefs are. the "game of thrones" style on our southern border. whatever you want. there's a fundamental belief and another one of john's questions in this country we tend to think there's a direct relationship between spending and safety. the more we spend in the state where we are. what if that's not true and what if we are spending the and we could cut back and be equally safe and what if that relationship doesn't actually exist? there's a lot in this book especially my favorite part the
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appendix that essentially the lists questionable foreign-policy beliefs in thy faith and ask us are these really true and what are the foundations? they aren't necessarily backed up by much and it seems to me every review of this book says this idea should be taken seriously and people go right back to what they were doing. were these ideas taken more seriously and were we more "comfortable questioning our police who would have up better foreign-policy and of the less expensive one and one mild critique i have of this book and i will close on this. the basic notion from the title. it implies because we were stupid it's unlikely to happen. i'm somewhat less predictive of
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this. the last few years are reminded me that people are stupid and just because something is stupid it does means that it's not good to happen. enough of us are stupid that it doesn't necessarily mean just because if we all recognize and act to. is him it's not going to happen. after the purging of world war i someone asked the general why does work happen and he said -- as stupid as it is men like to fight. mardi marta grossberg roundly stupid and it's going to happen every year. the stupidity of that doesn't stop it from occurring. even were we ought to recognize the stupidity of a poor doesn't mean little record nights that we won't have it. i agree completely with john about the trends transit i recognize the empirical evidence
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the war is at a much lower state than ever before. maybe if more of us came to agree of our stupidity it would be less frequent but i also have a decreasing confidence in my fellow human beings about their aversion to stupidity. we've seen so many stupid choices over the past two years so if you haven't read this book and if you haven't read john's other books you should challenges wisdom that are not only interesting and thought-provoking but also a great read and that is such a rare trait. i can't tell you how many influential books i've read. john is incapable of writing a boring book and your time would be well spent sitting down with this one. >> thank you so much. we are going to let john replied for a minute that but i want to summarize a few points.
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one i get a lot of questions following on what chris was saying about human nature. i was hoping john could address the issue of human nature and the propensity of human war sac history. the other thing is one of the anonymous commentators on public opinion and we have seen the public obviously tilt towards war especially lately and john of course is done a lot of work. i'd like him to address that issue in ring is back around to his work and what his work says about the nature of warfare and its continuation in relation to the public's desire. with that i will turn it over to john. >> okay let me begin with the human nature thing and the public opinion. i've always said that in world
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war i people fight as they always fight and basically it isn't true. they said it's human nature to be a and it's been there through human nature but died out in 100 years not indicated there are far fewer wars. thomas jefferson called it a marina of gladiators and it isn't anymore. so things can go away and the things that 108 didn't come back. in terms of public opinion and don't forget the point and thank you very much to both commentators and -- commentators and of course brandon. after being clobbered in vietnam the american military and the american people stayed away and
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we call it the vietnam syndrome. the policy areas i say in the book basically was a vast parking malaise -- proclamation of. you go into somalia to help the humanitarian. you ignore the genocide in rwanda and you get into war in kosovo but you don't get any closer than 40000 feet. basically that was the day six under him, people decided particular after vietnam that they didn't want to -- they want to support the cold war but didn't want to use direct war to do so. what changed it seems to me were 9/11 and the two most important words are iran iraq and afghanistan and i think everybody agrees neither were of them taken place without 9/11.
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both of those wars were really foolish and go consider and so forth and the huge number agree with that now after 20 years and after limping out of afghanistan. now we are in another syndrome. it's not called the iraq syndrome but the iraq afghanistan syndrome and i have no desire to get into any kind of war. iran which everybody hates in the middle east and look at how badly those turned out pretty good case in point in many respects him a question about partisanship at the time of the russian incursion into crimea and 2014 a lot of republicans were saying we have got to do something about this and obama who was present at the time said okay if you want to do war to reverse this, if you do stand up and say so and the silence
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needless to say was deafening so there is this desire to do something and frequently doing something is not a good idea but to using war seems to beat come thing -- lately. civil war will decline after disasters in syria and yemen so we will see what happens on that. in general chris talked about complacency and so forth that it just seems to me what a complacent person -- well let me get to where that comes from. starts from a statement by calvin coolidge who said anytime you see -- coming down the street you chances are nine will go into the ditch before they get to you. certainly have one intended to have to deal with but that's not a bad philosophy. i think in many respects what we
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are doing is worrying about russia and china in particular and exaggerating the degree to which these are important. i certainly agree there's a lot of the book looking backward looking at how indirect respect the threat is exaggerated of the military threat during the cold war. it just seems to me in many cases i think chris said don't just do something, stand there so i think that's complacency and basically that the is going to self destruct and if we get to close we might have to do something but the best thing is to let it happen. many respects the soviet union and china self-destructed during the cold war. that's basically the way things
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had to go went to consider it. in the case of china, china is getting richer. why is that bad? the more stuff we can buy the more stuff we can sell to them. we don't like what's going on internally in terms of civil liberties but they can't do very much about it unless you want to start a war. why do you say we have to do something and why must we do something and chris pointed out the idea that the united states, the big section towards the end of the book on americana and it must be said and it isn't said to often the american foreign-policy has been a disaster. militarily. the wars that were started tapping gas wars. the number of people killed in iraq is now -- because of the
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american invasion is 100 times larger than the number who died on 9/11. something that is repeated endlessly. the military mostly, the american military is not done a very good job since world war ii. it is not won any wars except where the where the enemy was basically not bear. the animate basically didn't exist and it was an utter failure currently. it seems that should be brought up. we are doing it again in the washington establishment is doing it again with respect to china. explain to me what the problem is and why that's such a big problem and certainly the slightest thinking that a
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military debt seems to do anything about it. china has a bigger military but nonetheless it's going to continue on and you basically want to deal with it. they are doing bad things tell them and if state you don't like the way they play don't play with them. you aren't forced to do that and if you don't want them to take their nba games off of their televisions that's how they will react. one of the problems talking about international were defined as a war between states in which people are found guilty each year is going away and you get this reaction i've had for my whole life like chris' been saying yeah but what about south africa? in other words we have gotten rid of this big problem but we have all these little problems and then it gets raised an
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important. so there are all these problems and all these concerns and global things like global warming and global pandemics and refugees. they can be worked with in an international manner. we can go to other questions. thank you. >> great. that may combine to questions. i'm going to do the best i can here. war is the continuation of policy and there has been a question about his origins were longtime but russia's recent moves on the border of uruguay which i believe they pulled back today the question is basically how were we going to control those who might try to leverage war is a policy issue to achieve
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coercive means and this in some ways goes back to the question. how do we control the outliers? how do we control the individuals who were not with the rest of us. >> there are troublemakers and things we don't like and obviously taken over crimea was a problem. they say how is that different from segregating kosovo and serbia in 1989 and the key issue it seems to me is through rush hour traffic a. china does a little bit in terms of keeping it tight round but that's about it. and 2014 was come -- they said we will go after lithuania or estonia or something like that. nothing like that happened. moving troops around is
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something that one can do when one can signal within frequently is unproductive and most of the time it's not productive at all. >> let me ask how do you interpret the biden pullout in afghanistan? do you think the united states can turn the corner or do you worry about our country as we move forward and a tendency toward warfare? >> john hirsch eimer with whom i disagree on a lot of things but on this he said there is no american national interest in afghanistan. if the taliban takes over how is that the end of the world click there are problems if it does and a big problem would be the whole country would dissolve into civil war. he year after the soviet union
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cut off aid after they withdrew from afghanistan and continued to support the regime financially but when the soviet union that's when this civil war to lace. basically afghanistan and iraq shows the american military can't and those types of wars was not terribly unusual and in fact the military in afghanistan was present with the military study that said nobody has ever won an insurgent war where the insurgents had the deep sanctuary area could have happened in iraq and with respect to iran and it happened of course in afghanistan and pakistan. war was militarily hopeless. much of the resentment and that war was because the americans
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were there. the biggest calling card for the taliban so once they are gone things may settle down. the united states is going to continue to support and john and i argued in the a paper continued to support afghanistan financially but just not militarily. the hope is the two sides eventually work out some sort of partition overall. the big danger is not the taliban taking over but it's the whole country disintegrating into multisided overly accommodated civil war. >> i'm getting a lot of questions and i will summarize it in one a sick way. could it be that the former were his change of not war itself and that goes to the military
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question on the possibility of has the character board changed but not the war? what is your read on that issue in the future? >> one kind of war the most common international war between organized states seems to be very much falling out of favor. the civil war has always been there and they are somewhat in decline as well. after deep.
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>> i'm getting a lot of questions of the nature basically the idea is what if we reduce their military by 90% are we not going to become enslaved by a foreign power?
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also i'm getting similar questions about -- so this goes to the heart of what we'd do at cato. what is the course of of the future of american policy and how much should we spend on supporting our allies and how much do we spend on the military budget? >> chris may want to jump in on this as well. this is unique. the united states is spending a trillion dollars on the sink and to give you an example a few days ago delta wrote initiative by the chinese which people find so threatening its total budget is the same as the total budget verb building the f-22 fighter fighter in the united states. that's a massive over expenditure. it's also a case of you have the
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military you have an indication to use it. my main guru said that a long time ago. one way to keep people out of trouble is to take away the tools to get them into trouble. i have a chapter called hedging in the book and the wildly unlikely possibility we have another rising may be peacekeeping operations and supporting allies in some areas in the case of getting rid of isis for example airpower in particular. there are few cases where you'd want voices and police interventions might work. you don't need a huge number of troops may be 200 or 2000 at most. i'm not pacifist in the sense of
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military interventions can never work. trying to stop the genocide in your gone to. it was tootsies -- so there were times when going in with disciplined force against opponents make some degree of sense but it seems to me also what you want to do is keep the capacity for rebuilding. if things start to go really south. if some world states start to really threaten. >> to our panelists want to jump
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in? >> i will jump in for 30 seconds and talk about this notion and security classes about what would happen if united states greatly slashed its military budget and they are waiting for us to put our guard down. we lose influence around the world as if influence is said and another do not a means. it's a means to an end and it has no implicit veto to do with it or you are not using a daily basis. it's important think about my view because i don't see -- would certainly be more prosperous. are the chinese going to come over here quite there's a great 1970 -- 1957 movie. outside of that the chinese are coming over here.
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we would still be spending more if we cut our budget by 90% we'd still be spending a lot more than vladimir putin. what would the world look like? it might be better. something that's fun to think about and certainly fun to talk about. [inaudible] c professor crenshaw. >> i'm afraid being the damper here how do we get here? i am willing to say with a stronger military we would the safer but how do we get from here to there? >> it's a really big problem and spending time at cato it makes me more and more impressed by the effect of that. especially of the military which reaches high level of public
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opinion polls and is very much trusted. it has policies of abject failure for 20 years now. it was not able to solve the problem in iraq and afghanistan and not even remotely resembling a cause-and-effect united states military has been a source of disruption through the entire century. they talk about china around. and libya is another big huge failure and in this case under the obama administration. people are currently saying to the military thank you for your service and my answer for that is one that you ask yourself some time are you being served and would we have been better
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off in the case of the military obviously had a military vet got into vietnam. if we didn't have the military we could have gone into afghanistan and if we didn't have the military we could have gone into iraq and we would have been a lot better off. we massively disrupted those countries and created death and destruction and refugees and basically inflicted massive disasters in the middle east. the middle east is unstable and i'm problematic anyway but the united states if anything has made it even worse. let me ask one more question as we wrap up. john asked i've been a supporter of cato for decades. what can an individual do to
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help end this cycle of war besides supporting peace so john would you recommend for the individual? >> supporting cato i guess. there's a growing chorus within washington at the quincy institute for example which are basically on this wave link and many respects it's a good time to start because people are so, so exhausted from these endless wars in the middle east. talking peace at this time is likely to work pretty well and for the most part politicians see that on both sides of the aisle. we didn't use war to get rush out of creamy and we didn't use war to get -- so it may be a time to make your voice heard but i don't know if the huge
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amount of -- on the other hand if it's not doing anything at all it's doing is wasting people it's not killing people so maybe that's an improvement. >> okay, great. this was a wonderful event. john has instilled a lot of information and short amount of time but i do recommend everyone pick up the book. it's a wonderful book and it's a great book and a stellar achievement in his career. this recording will be available for some time so please check it out. with our
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speaker is a political reporter? and an editor and a foreign correspondent and a television news analyst and has been over the course of a five decade career with organizations like the new york times and cbs news and pbs newshour clearly couldn't hold a job couldn't hold a job and yet he kept landing on his feet of you may recognize his distinctive voice from the many times that he hosted the diane rehm show.


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