U.S. Foreign Policy Is Too Militarized

How the military became the most powerful diplomatic tool America has - and why that won't help win the fight against ISIS.


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Does U.S. foreign policy always come down to the question of when and where to deploy the military?

It seemed that way in Tuesday night's GOP debate. While the candidates got a chance to showcase their foreign policy and diplomatic chops to the American voter, most of the time was spent bragging about who would be the more willing and able to use the military to accomplish national interests abroad. When and how did U.S. foreign policy become synonymous with military intervention?

"Ever since the beginning of the cold war," says Gordon Adams, emeritus professor of international politics at American University, "We built up a very substantial military and to some degree ever since then the instinct in American policy has been to say that the most useful tool to reach for to demonstrate American leadership, to demonstrate American commitment, to demonstrate American capacity is our military capability."

This heavy reliance on the military for diplomatic relations is actually hurting American national security, according to Adams. "As long as we imagine that we are both exceptional and indispensable in dealing with ISIS, we will fail," he says.

Adams, a former senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets under the Clinton administration, sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to give his thoughts on the recent GOP debate, why foreign policy has become so militarized, and why he thinks it won't help America win the fight against ISIS. 

About 9 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Winkler and Joshua Swain. Music by Jingle Punks.

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