President Donald Trump believes an “America First” foreign policy would save Americans income and jobs and would help rebuild the country. Putting aside the moral and diplomatic dangers in Trump’s brazen assertion of American self-interest above global well-being, there is one economic truth in Trump’s ideas but several dangerous myths.
The truth lies in military affairs. The United States is overstretched militarily. By cutting back on vast overseas military spending and the relentless wars of regime change, the United States could save hundreds of billions of dollars per year, perhaps up to 2 percent of GDP per year in overall security spending, that could be re-routed toward investments in the United States. Whether Trump actually intends to cut back on military spending is an open question, as he has called for cutting America’s overseas commitments but also for a new military buildup.
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