JAN TING: Are you in favor of abolishing the
U.S. military given the fact that you’re so committed to never using it? Isn’t that the
logical outcome of what you’re saying? BRYAN CAPLAN: The answer is a definite maybe.
Here’s what I would say. It is often the case that countries have military problems because
they have a military. The Soviet Union was at risk because the Red Army was powerful.
When the Red Army collapsed, the Soviet Union became safer, because they were no longer
terrifying and frightening and terrifying other countries. Other countries were no longer
scared for their lives. It is easy – it is often possible for unilateral disarmament
even to reduce the risk that a country faces. And note that it doesn’t specifically require
that you have democracies on the other side. Communist China was still on the Soviet border.
They disarmed. They did not get a sneak attack from communist China. As a general rule, being
better armed does not always make you safer. It often makes you less safe, because it provokes
other countries, angers them. So I would say it is a very good idea for the U.S. to greatly
reduce its military spending and at least see what happens. I think that it’s quite
likely that we could get an outcome as good as what the Swiss have: namely, since no one
is scared of them, nobody bothers them.