The Bottom Line

Cato’s foreign and defense policies are guided by the view that the United States is relatively secure, and so should engage the world, trade freely, and work with other countries on common concerns, but avoid trying to dominate it militarily. We should be an example of democracy and human rights, not their armed vindicator abroad. Although that view is largely absent in Washington, D.C. today, it has a rich history, from George Washington to Cold War realists like George Kennan. Cato scholars aim to restore it. A principled and restrained foreign policy would keep the nation out of most foreign conflicts and be cheaper, more ethical, and less destructive of civil liberties.

Cato Studies

Commentary

A Trenchant Yet Flawed Analysis of American Foreign Policy

A nation that burdens itself with nearly 43 percent of all global military spending, that is experiencing a chronic fiscal bleed of more than half a trillion dollars a year, and that finds itself mired in numerous murky quarrels around the world, badly needs to reassess its foreign policy.

Of Special Note

Confronting “Isolationism”

Isolationism

Some interventionists have characterized Cato’s views as “isolationist,” but that is inaccurate. In fact, Cato scholars argue that the United States should be an example of the principles of liberty, democracy, and human rights, not their armed vindicator abroad. This page includes several articles by Cato scholars as well as a few by outside experts showing that the “isolationist” slur is inappropriate.

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Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

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Cato Home Study Course

When was the last time you were truly energized by ideas? Cato’s self-paced, home study program enables you to spend time with brilliant minds wherever and whenever you have an opportunity to listen and think.

The Cyberskeptics

The Cyberskeptics

In the last few years, concerns about cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwar have escalated dramatically in the United States. This website collects and links writing challenging the popular notion that cyberdoom is approaching.