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Elizabeth Shackelford speaks on a panel
The Problem with Jon Stewart

Military Industrial Excess: The Problem with Defense

The United States spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined—but is military action always the best way to address global problems? On The Problem with Jon Stewart, former US diplomat Elizabeth Shackelford suggests another tool may be more effective. 

"I like to think of diplomacy as being your primary care physician—the person that you go to do preventative work, preventative medicine,” she says. “When you're looking at places that are already unstable and troubled, you have underlying issues that need to be addressed. You have grievances against a government that's not serving its people. You have economic issues so people don't have jobs and can't support their families. You have food insecurity. And none of those can be addressed with a military solution.” 

Watch the full episode here.

The Data Dimension

What do Americans think of US defense spending? While a majority (51%) say that maintaining military superiority is a very effective way to achieve US foreign policy goals, the 2022 Chicago Council Survey finds only 29 percent feel the government should increase spending on defense programs.

What We're Watching

  • The US-Israel relationship: Are there limits to American support for Israel? Nonresident Fellow Paul Poast weighs in as protests over a controversial judicial reform plan continue.   
  • Suspected schoolgirl poisonings in Iran: The spate of unexplained illnesses may be the government’s way of punishing youth who participated in the #MahsaAmini protests, Nonresident Fellow Saeid Golkar tells Nature
  • Jimmy Carter's human rights legacy: Senior Fellow Elizabeth Shackelford reflects on the former president’s values-first approach to foreign policy and how to revitalize it today.    
  • Fallout from “balloongate”: “Both Washington and Beijing now appear inclined to treat the balloon episode as a new grievance to leverage against each other,” writes Nonresident Senior Fellow Paul Heer. 

Ask an Expert

"headshot of Karl Friedhoff"What do South Koreans think about the plan to compensate victims of forced labor during Japanese colonial rule?    
“The deal was instantly controversial as it required little of Japan to resolve the issue. . . . A poll conducted by Sisa Research found that 60% of South Koreans oppose the deal, and a RealMeter survey similarly put the level of opposition at 58%.” 

—Marshall M. Bouton Fellow for Asia Studies Karl Friedhoff in NK News

About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
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