America’s economic freedom and its leadership in international security are undeniably aligned. In his recent Wall Street Journal column, William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution asserted that the nation’s continuing jobless recovery has disheartened Americans from supporting a robust U.S. foreign policy:
[O]ur political leaders cannot sustain the country’s leading role without the support of the American people, who will not be willing to shoulder that burden unless they have a chance to improve their lives and enhance opportunity for their children. Their loss of confidence is the largest obstacle to a foreign and defense policy that reduces aggression and increases security around the world.
Indeed, the eroding confidence in the future of the U.S. economy and the consequentially fading support for America’s leadership in international security have more than coincided with America’s startling decline in economic freedom.
Over the past seven years in a row, particularly since 2009 when President Obama took office, America has become less and less economically free, with much-needed job-creating entrepreneurial growth stymied by government interference and a disturbing trend toward cronyism that has distorted our free-market system.
Enhancing economic freedom and sustaining a vibrant economy at home is fundamental to garnering support for exerting American leadership abroad. Yet as the United States has measurably fallen down the ranks of economic freedom and become a second-tier economy in the Index of Economic Freedom, America has also undeniably lost the propensity and capacity to play the leading role as the world’s most powerful free-market democracy.
Obama Administration policies have further weakened the military, emboldened enemies, and disheartened allies. The Administration’s strategy of “leading from behind” has amounted to hardly any leadership at all. While American leadership has been fading, the world has become a riskier place. Worse, the cause of freedom has been gravely imperiled around the world as the recent events related to Syria and Ukraine have made this painfully obvious.
Restoring economic freedom at home as a key pillar of our foreign policy is indispensable to revitalizing America’s economic future and global leadership.