[I]f America is going to be the world’s policeman, on some scale or another, that has to be backed by a supportive culture among the citizenry. And that culture is not going to be “Hans Morgenthau’s foreign policy realism,” or “George Kennan’s Letter X,” or even Clausewitz’s treatise On War. Believe it or not, those are too intellectual for the American public. And so it must be backed by…a fairly martial culture amongst the American citizenry. And that probably will mean a fairly high level of gun ownership and a fairly high degree of skepticism about gun control.If you think America can sustain its foreign policy interventionism, or threat of such, without a fairly martial culture at home, by all means make your case. But I am skeptical. I think it is far more likely that if you brought about gun control, and the cultural preconditions for successful gun control, America’s world role would fundamentally change and America’s would no longer play a global policeman role, for better or worse.
- U.S. attitudes toward overseas intervention have fluctuated too much for domestic attitudes toward guns to explain. American attitudes have been decidedly less interventionist in the 1970s, the 1990s, and just a year or two ago. This doesn’t correlate well with the American share of global military expenditures. Instead, it would appear that U.S. attitudes about America’s role in the world can largely be explained by a) events, my dear boy, events; and b) relative American power. Almost like Americans are realists, actually.
- The healthy fraction of immigrants — who presumably are not inculcated in, say, the martial culture of the American South — who serve in America’s armed forces.
- The fact that there are lot of different ways that one can think about “foreign policy interventionism,” and some of them shouldn’t be correlated with preferences for unregulated private ownership of guns. Indeed, if one posits that liberal internationalism represents the mainstream American foreign policy worldview, then those folks would likely support gun control while also supporting well-trained local and state police forces.