BY: Follow @Kredo0
Prominent advocates of U.S. military intervention are set to tango with their detractors on Wednesday when they go head-to-head at a Wednesday panel discussion sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) and National Review magazine.
The event will pit former State Department officials and media insiders against one another during a discussion that centers on the thorny issue of America’s role in the world.
“While there is broad agreement that defense of the U.S. is a core function of the federal government, there is intense disagreement over the extent to which the U.S. should intervene in foreign conflicts and when it is appropriate to do so,” CKI stated in a press release.
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), the Senate’s leading advocate of an isolationist foreign policy, also will deliver an address prior to the panel discussion.
The discussion is set to take place as the Obama administration considers a plan to confiscate Syria’s chemical weapons in order to avoid launching military strikes in the civil war torn country.
“While for much of our history America did well by not going out in search of monsters, our turn away from that policy has produced very poor results for the United States,” former State Department official Peter Van Buren, one of several panelists, said in a statement prior to the event.
Other participants include Foreign Affairs magazine managing editor Jonathan Tepperman and George Mason University professor Chris Coyne.
National Review editor Rich Lowry will moderate the event.
Isolationist advocates such as Van Buren said that the Iraq war should serve as a lesson to U.S. policy makers considering action in Syria.
“As part of the final act of the Iraq War, assigned to the last of the reconstruction teams, I saw first-hand how unneeded, unfocused foreign intervention took lives, wasted our economy and created the perception of America the bully boy, not America the necessary policeman,” Van Buren said.
“The results in Afghanistan 12 years on, chaotic Libya, and across the Middle East cry out for more thought and caution, even as the U.S. deliberates on whether to intervene in Syria, once again lacking unambiguous strategic goals, meaningful multi-lateral support, and a clear nexus between our actions and our nation’s true needs,” he said.
Foreign Affairs’ Tepperman disagreed.
“Foreign intervention, humanitarian and otherwise, is a tradition as old as the Republic, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single U.S. president who didn’t dispatch his gunboats abroad at some point,” Tepperman said in a statement. “As we continue to contemplate intervention in Syria today, it’s worth remembering this history lest we feel tempted to return to an isolationist Golden Age that never in fact existed.”
Panelists are additionally expected to debate how “intervention impacts human wellbeing at home and abroad, and what framework best guides when, and if, the U.S. should intervene,” according to CKI’s release. “The goal is to encourage more in-depth analysis of the secondary consequences of such interventions.”