Why doesn't America win wars anymore? Because the objectives are so poorly defined. Maybe it's time to rethink foreign policy.
America seems to have forgotten a crucial fact about war: the human toll on both sides. William Ruger, Vice President for Research and Policy, Charles Koch Foundation, asserts that it would be naive to think that there is never an appropriate time for war—WWII demanded it, for example—but America's wars in recent decades appear to lack objectives, or at least objectives that are suitable to the amount of lives, funding, and global upheaval that these wars have cost. The U.S. can engage with the world without the military, says Ruger—spreading democracy is not a divine mission. Instead, let's trade, practice diplomacy, exchange the best of our culture, and most of all be humble on the world stage. The Charles Koch Foundation aims to further understanding of how US foreign policy affects American people and societal well-being. Through grants, events, and collaborative partnerships, the Foundation is working to stretch the boundaries of foreign policy research and debate by discussing ideas in strategy, trade, and diplomacy that often go unheeded in the US capital. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org.
When it comes to ISIS, terrorism, and global and domestic instability, America has been its own worst enemy.
For the last 25 years, the U.S. has based its foreign policy on a sense of primacy and idealism rather than restraint and realism, says William Ruger, Vice President for Research and Policy, Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger asserts that the U.S. failed to recognize the human and economic cost of international military and political intervention. "We've really opened up all kinds of challenges in this attempt to open up an exemplar for the Middle East. We actually have created an exemplar," he says, "an exemplar of what can go wrong if you engage in the world without first thinking carefully about what is necessary for American safety, and what the unintended consequences of our behavior could be..." The Charles Koch Foundation aims to further understanding of how US foreign policy affects American people and societal well-being. Through grants, events, and collaborative partnerships, the Foundation is working to stretch the boundaries of foreign policy research and debate by discussing ideas in strategy, trade, and diplomacy that often go unheeded in the US capital. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org.
Dr. William Ruger serves as the Vice President for Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute and the Vice President for Research at the Charles Koch Foundation. Before coming to CKI and CKF, he was most recently an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin.
He earned his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University and an A.B. from the College of William and Mary. Ruger is the author of a biography titled Milton Friedman and co-author of two books on state politics: The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy and Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom. His recent scholarly articles appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Civil Wars, Review of Political Economy, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.
Ruger has been interviewed frequently for television and radio, including appearances on MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business; his op-eds have been published across the country by, among others, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and the New York Daily News. His research has been highlighted or cited by over a hundred news outlets, including ABC News, CNN, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and the New York Post. He is also currently a Research Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Ruger is a veteran of the Afghanistan War and an officer in the U.S. Navy (Reserve Component).