A guy who has proposed a withdrawal from the ME for some time. But the contradictions of the modern GOP are in full view here as- near the end- he very, very deftly handles the accusations of anti-semitism from Tom Cotton. The Peace Party is also chock full of people who want to fight the Clash of Civilizations to the end and will accuse anyone who doesn't as not supportive of Israel and an antisemite.
Bacevich and his Quincy Institute's approach is actually the polar opposite of the impatient "Out of the UN" Trumputin crowd. He'd emphasize multilateralism, diplomacy, development aid and soft power as opposed to militarism. As I said, the above mentioned crowd hates all of that more than anything.
Bad at Math
when you take into account the accumulated excess defense spending over 20 years and the wars of choice, you can easily come up with $10T*.
It is almost impossible to figure how you could increase total spending on State Dept., International bodies and other soft power and possibly have spent another $T over that time frame.
Hard to argue that approach would have been more ineffective, and would have been a lot cheaper.
*could credibly chalk $15T of the national debt to that and 2 self-financing tax cuts. And the other $5T to lost revenue from the GFC.
Re: Bad at Math
Which isn't to say that the budget deficit is the be all, end all of everything. There are other things we should have been spending money on.
The past 4o years have been similar to a private equity strip out operation.
Re: Bad at Math
Not a coincidence that you can take a pen and ruler and draw a straight line from Reagan to here.
I suppose the long incubation and then sudden acute pathology of the GOP was inevitable too. You gotta distract folks so they don't figure it out.
Things can't get any worse
The US (plus G7 allies) has/had the controlling hand of the UN, World Bank, IMF. For the moment we still have the "exorbitant privilege" of issuing the reserve currency.
Back when the US Centric post-WWII world order was established, the US made up half of the world economy- and initially paid more than half of the cost of it. That percentage has declined as other economies grew. By some measures China's economy is as big as the US, and it is certainly gaining. I'm not sure we really want China with equal or greater standing in those matters, though.
Reality is tough. Managing relative decline is particularly difficult but doing so in a realistic fashion is a lot better than throwing up your hands.