John Bolton by Gage Skidmore.jpg

AEI Scholar John Bolton

Corporate think tank The American Enterprise Institute seems confused as to how budgets work. On the one hand AEI can not stop complaining about government spending and the dangers of debt.  But on the other hand, they want unbridled militancy in American foreign policy. The problem of course is that wars, contrary to what AEI Scholar Paul Wolfowitz claimed about Iraq, do not pay for themselves. Wars are very expensive. But that did not stop AEI from promoting a piece by warmonger extraordinaire John Bolton who claimed President Obama was showing isolationism by not wading into a rhetorical battle with Russia and implementing an agreement that could suck America into a war in the Ukraine.

Bolton, a man who never served in the military, wants Obama to risk a war in the Ukraine for greater glory of homeland. Bolton also makes some asinine claim that America has “interests at stake.”

After essentially ignoring Ukraine for five years, Obama now faces armed hostilities in a large Central European country, with important U.S. interests at stake and no idea what to do. In fact, it may be too late for us to prevent tragedy…

America should assert unambiguously that it will urgently press for full NATO membership for a democratic Ukraine. This is precious little, but it is the only way to give hope to Ukrainians who want to prevent being pulled back into Moscow’s orbit.

In the event a civil war breaks out in Ukraine and Russia sends in troops, that NATO membership would mean America would be under a treaty obligation to go to war to defend Ukraine – I guess Bolton wanted to leave that part out. How enterprising.

Of course when it was Bolton’s turn to serve, well, who wants to actually go to war themselves?

Bolton supported the Vietnam War but enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard to avoid being sent overseas, and consequently did not serve in Vietnam. He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”

John Bolton’s chicken hawk politics aside, how in the world the American Enterprise Institute can claim to advocate fiscal responsibility and debt management while promoting global belligerence and expect to be credible? They throw tantrums over government spending then promote open ended military engagements that could cost trillions.

It seems fiscal responsibility is just for the poor, when it comes to reckless war policies that will blow up the budget AEI could not care less about the debt.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license.