The war is providing military hawks with all the fodder they need to argue for more of an overseas military presence.

By Stephen M. Walt, Responsible Statecraft

Every few months some card-carrying member of the foreign policy establishment takes up his or her pen to explain why the slightest reduction in America’s far-flung overseas commitments would have catastrophic consequences for the Republic.

This week, that task fell to Hal Brands, an old hand at this game, who took to the pages of the Washington Post and Bloomberg News to offer up another ill-aimed attack at the so-called “restraint coalition.”

Brand’s argument is straightforward. Until the war in Ukraine, a broad coalition of isolationists, nationalists, realists, and other dissidents was “ascendant.” According to him, this group wants to drastically reduce America’s current level of global engagement. But Russia’s invasion has reminded us of what can happen if the United States withdraws, and other great powers get to run the world. In his words, it has “illuminated the virtues of American power.” The unstated but unmistakable implication: don’t pay any attention to those foolish restrainers, whose brief moment of prominence is thankfully coming to an end.

Explosions in Kiev, missiles on other cities. The land invasion has begun

The first problem lies in Brands’ characterization of the “restraint coalition.” He acknowledges that it is a “broad church” whose members disagree on many issues. But lumping them all together allows him to portray it as a large and potentially dangerous movement, while sparing him the trouble of addressing their specific policy recommendations. And the differences really aren’t that important, because for Brands, they’re all part of the same team.

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