The American “Umpire” Strikes Out

by Michael Auslin

The New York Times had a piece Tuesday by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a professor of American foreign relations at San Diego State University, that boldly misunderstands America’s foreign military presence, misrepresents its role today, and mis-prescribes how to “fix” it. The piece, uninspiringly entitled “Come Home, America,” rehashes old liberal talking points, mashing them up with neo-isolationist policy aims of pulling American troops out of their remaining strongholds in Europe and Asia (primarily Japan). The result is a call for American withdrawal that is a little too slick for its own good.

It’s easy to prescribe withdrawal when you set a straw man up to frame your argument. Thus, Ms. Hoffman daringly asks: “Why are we still fighting World War II?” The problem is, we’re not still fighting the Good War, as she acknowledges in her next sentence. Our global posture is based on Cold War commitments

Instead, we continue to act as the world’s policeman, though I would argue that is a role we increasingly are doing while seated with a cup of hot coffee in our hands at the corner doughnut shop. 

Nevertheless, Ms. Hoffman’s real beef is with our tens of thousands of military personnel still based around the world, but particularly in Europe and Japan. 

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