The Economist Quotes FPI Board Member Eric Edelman on Defense Spending

In "Defending America," The Economist's Lexington columnist writes:

"The idea is taking hold that the next presidential contest will revolve around national security. Republicans are especially keen to make this case, and to argue that this is terrific news for their party. Half the 2016 field seem to have sought out Henry Kissinger for a chat or studied with the John Hay Initiative—a network of foreign-policy types set up by members of Mitt Romney’s presidential transition team in 2012 (and named after Teddy Roosevelt’s chief diplomat). Public opinion helps to explain that swotting. Republicans have regained their traditional advantage over Democrats as the party most trusted to handle foreign policy. Pollsters also report that terrorism and national security are among the issues that most concern voters, after years in which the economy dominated. That surge in anxiety is notably linked to last year’s beheadings of Americans by Islamic State jihadists, which shocked opinion in a way that years of slaughter in Syria or the wider Middle East have not....

Republicans are more united than in the past. Of the 2016 pack only Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has libertarian tendencies, breaks with a fairly traditional form of muscular interventionism. Nowadays there is little neoconservative talk of creating Western-style democracies in far-off places. But one big subject divides the party. Defence spending pits security hawks against conservatives averse to all forms of big government. This was visible this week, as House Republicans proposed a budget for the Pentagon of a similar size to the one suggested by Mr Obama—coming in way below spending levels urged by some Republican senators. Eric Edelman, a co-founder of the John Hay Initiative who was the Pentagon’s policy chief from 2005 to 2009, says defence budgets are about more than buying stuff: they are a “surrogate for national will”. Calling Mr Obama weak “has huge resonance with the public,” says Mr Edelman. But that will be hard to sustain if Republicans cannot agree on a defence budget larger than his.

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Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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