Strauss Scholar Joshua Busby was quoted in The National Interest article, “Why Americans Are less Hawkish than Their Leaders.” The article cites a recent publication that he and Jonathan Monten wrote in Political Science Quarterly on Republicans and their defense spending preferences.
The National Interest article focuses on the differences between American citizens’ and American leaders’ opinions on national defense. It argues that American leaders tend to be more “hawkish” than average citizens, preferring higher spending and a more aggressive approach to U.S. foreign policy. The article cites Busby and Monten who argued that “Republican elites” have historically been more prone than Republican voters to favor higher defense spending and long-term alliances. Busby and Monten offered the explanation that foreign-policy issues tend to rank lower on voters’ concerns giving politicians little incentive to cater to their viewpoints when formulating foreign policy. The article concludes by arguing that in order for citizens to prioritize the issue of defense spending, usually some “bad event” must take place such as a recession or increasing threats on U.S. security.