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The looming debt crisis will force us to reassess our role in the world.
Admiral Mullen calls the debt the greatest threat to our national security. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that “at some point fiscal insolvency at home translates into strategic insolvency abroad.” Gates added that addressing our financial crisis will require both “re-examining missions and capabilities” and perhaps most importantly, “will entail going places that have been avoided by politicians in the past.”
It is time for all Americans, and especially conservatives, to become as critical and reflective when examining foreign policy as we are with domestic policy. Should our military be defending this nation or constantly building other nations? What constitutes our actual “national defense” and what parts of our foreign policy are more like an irrational offense? It is the soldier’s job to do his duty - but it is the citizen’s job to question their government - particularly when it comes to putting our soldiers in harm’s way.
And of course, the question we are forced to ask today is, Can we afford this?
I hope such questions begin to be asked and we see some sort of return to a constitutional foreign policy. I hope this occurs before the debt crisis occurs and not amidst a crisis. To that end, I will fight to have a voice for those who wish who wish to see a saner, more-balanced approach to foreign policy.
Rand Paul is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.