Two new articles from January’s issue are now online, one from Cato’s Ted Galen Carpenter on the repercussions of the Arab Spring for U.S. foreign policy and the Obama administration’s somewhat hamfisted reaction thereto. From the Tunisian revolution that caught the administration by surprise, to the eleventh-hour decision to support Mubarak’s ouster, the American response has appeared sluggish and ineffectual.
Carpenter concludes that US power is on the wane in the region, with Islamist parties gaining ground in Turkey and Egypt and growing Iranian influence in Iraq. But “instead of adjusting to that change gracefully and adopting a lower political and military profile, the U.S. policy elite is inclined to dig in its heels and try to preserve a rapidly eroding position.”
However, this week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce billions of dollars in defense cuts that will likely impact the U.S.’s ability to project power abroad, the New York Times reports today. Cuts are expected to fall especially hard on recipients of military benefits — the cost of which is projected to comprise 100% of the defense budget by 2039 — and high-profile weapons programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Over at Eunomia, Daniel Larison cries foul at Jeffrey Lord’s attempt to paint the rising Rick Santorum’s hawkish 2006 platform as the embodiment of Reagan’s “peace through strength” mantra. Though the fiscal chickens are coming home to roost and inevitable reductions in the military budget will soon take place, Santorum and other defense hawks remain blind to the ways in which preventative war undermines national security. But hey, why worry about solvency or blowback when all it takes for world domination is a little moxie?
On the domestic front, Jason Sorens crunches some numbers examining the potential impact of the Free State Project and its zealous pro-liberty activists on the New Hampshire primary next week. His study found that, “for every additional Free Stater in a town, [Ron] Paul received on average two and a half more votes there. The result was statistically significant.” Nevertheless, Sorens predicts that the upper limit of Paul’s support may lie somewhere around 30 percent.