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Hagel bills this year's proposed U.S. defense budget as a novelty. The New York Times portrays it as an antiquity. Senator Lindsey Graham paints it as a travesty. In truth, it is none of those things. Rather, the proposed budget represents a continuation of nearly three years of defense retrenchment, which is modest in scope and prudent in purpose.
In this provocative but carefully argued study, Parent makes the case that states create political unions only when they are imperiled by security threats.
The United States can no longer afford a world-spanning foreign policy. Retrenchment -- cutting military spending, redefining foreign priorities, and shifting more of the defense burden to allies -- is the only sensible course. Luckily, that does not have to spell instability abroad. History shows that pausing to recharge national batteries can renew a dominant power’s international legitimacy.