But if we forswear military intervention in other countries, are there any tools left to affect the world in a positive way? Yes, and one of the main ones is free trade. In 1750, the Baron de Montesquieu, whose philosophy influenced the Founding Fathers, opined that “the natural effect of commerce is to bring peace.” More recently, economists Solomon W. Polachek of SUNY Binghamton and Carlos Seiglie of Rutgers have shown that a doubling of trade between two nations leads to a 20 percent decline in belligerence between those two nations.

So we as Americans can help the world become a more peaceful place by supporting free trade and by engaging in trade ourselves.

Furthermore, as Professor Tucker points out, we should not worry about whether “Canada and Mexico get a greater advantage from our mutual trade than we do” because both sides gain from trade. He should have gone further. The greater gains from trade for Mexico and Canada are not, as he says, “a small price to pay for their good will.” They are not a price at all. Again, both sides gain.

If we forswear military intervention in other countries’ affairs, there will be times, to be sure, when we see bad things happening around the world that our government could have had the power to change. That is, to paraphrase the 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat, what’s seen. What is unseen is the often bad consequences to ourselves–and to people in other countries–of U.S. intervention. So let’s get rid of a grand strategy for the U.S. government and substitute our own strategy of peace and liberty.

This is the closing section of my “War-Fighting and the Loss of Liberty” at our sister site, Law and Liberty, June 11, 2018.

Read the whole thing.