Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's Good to Be the King

Yes, it benefits America to defend the global system we established after World War II.

This RAND study doesn't shock me:

On a crisp January day in 1949, President Harry Truman stood before an inauguration crowd still recovering from want and war and envisioned a “world fabric of international security and growing prosperity.”

That idea, that America has an economic interest in promoting a stable and secure world order, has helped guide nearly seven decades of U.S. foreign policy. But a growing debate over America's role in the world has called into question that basic assumption. Are America's international security commitments really worth the cost?

Researchers at RAND used decades of economic data and new numbers on U.S. troops and treaties to test that question. They found strong evidence that the economic value of those overseas commitments likely exceeds their costs by billions of dollars every year.

“We wanted to know, Is this a good investment for the United States?” said Daniel Egel, an economist at RAND and lead author of the study. “Are these overseas commitments really benefiting the U.S. economy?”

This doesn't even consider the losses we'd experience if America retrenched and a major war was the result of the security vacuums that would be created in a number of dangerous places.

If the methodology is appropriate, of course. But it seems self evident that the prosperity and great powers truce we have experienced since 1945 is reliant on the system we established after World War II and which we have defended ever since.

The problem is that people have grown so used to the system we built that they think its rules are intrinsic to the global system and so our prosperity doesn't rely on our defense of the system.