The top commander of the Marine Corps blasted what he called “neo-isolationism” at a congressional hearing Wednesday morning.
Gen. James Amos said mandatory cuts to the military’s budget, also known as sequestration, would hurt the ability of the United States to project power around the world.
“Neo-isolationism does not advance our national interests,” Amos, a four star general, told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Amos then noted that forward operating bases serve the nation’s interests.
His statement stands in sharp contrast to the foreign policy proposals of other prominent political leaders.
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who is openly considering a bid for the presidency, has critiqued a foreign policy strategy that seeks to be “everywhere all the time.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had argued before joining the Obama administration that the Defense Department’s budget was “bloated.” Hagel was widely seen as President Barack Obama’s choice to cut the Defense Department’s budget, a perception Hagel has disputed.
“If you come back to America and come back into the confines of the United States—that’s the neo-isolationism that I’m talking about,” Amos said after the hearing.
Sequestration would force the different parts of the military to compete for resources and would force the military to retreat from some of its forward operations, he said.
“I don’t think that’s good for America, I don’t think that’s good for global stability. We’re a global power, we’re an international leader, and our friends and allies expect us to lead,” he said.
All three witnesses—Amos, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert—argued sequestration would hurt the military’s preparedness.
The senators seemed to agree.
“This is not the best way to address our spending problem,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R., Ind.).