Pundits like to talk about foreign and domestic policy as if they are completely separate concerns. But as University of Tampa professor Abby Hall has been explaining in Learn Liberty’s six part series on foreign policy, there is not as much distinction between them as people often think. In fact, foreign policy often boomerangs back as domestic policy.
In the fourth video on the topic below, Professor Hall explains how foreign intervention allows for the centralization of domestic decision making and power. That’s because bureaucratic agencies gain more resources to achieve their foreign policy objectives, and because the citizenry overlooks domestic expansions of power to rally around the intervention.
Foreign policy also affects domestic policy, Hall explains, because personnel revolves between the two. Military officials becoming police officers after their tours of duty is one example of this.
In addition, war material and capabilities often end up being used at home as well. The infrastructure used to spy on Americans, for instance, was originally intended to be used against foreign populations. Maybe this is what Murray Rothbard meant when he said, “It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.”
Keep these boomerang effects in mind next time someone draws a separation between foreign and domestic policy.