The Skeptics

Americans Aren’t Ready for Another Big War

I’ve heard credible reports that senior national-security officials in the Trump administration are frustrated by think-tank scholars and academics who point out that there is no viable military solution to the ongoing standoff with North Korea. The White House worries that research estimating the scale of death and destruction that would ensue in the event of a war undermines the credibility of their threats, allegedly reducing the likelihood that Kim Jong-un will capitulate to American demands.

But, if such stories are true, the Trump administration shouldn’t blame Beltway pundits and TV talking heads for speaking the truth. The president and his national-security advisers must understand that the American people’s widespread dissatisfaction with our nation’s wars is unlikely to abate any time soon. In short, the president should reconsider his faith in military solutions to complex, and perhaps intractable, problems.

And if he—and others around him—persist in believing that more wars will cure what ails us, the public is likely to start searching for new leaders who take seriously their concerns.

Christopher Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free.

Image: Flickr / Department of Defense

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