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Charles Ballay, M.D., Libertarian, Stance on Military

The essential tenet of my military stance is to ensure America's strength without succumbing to the historical pitfalls of overextension that have plagued past empires. A robust national defense is the cornerstone of our nation's sovereignty and security. Yet, history teaches us that even the mightiest powers can be hollowed out by the unsustainable costs of global military engagements.

Consider the Roman Empire, whose vast territorial reach and incessant wars led to overwhelming economic burdens and internal decay. Or the British Empire, which, at its zenith, controlled lands across the globe. Yet, the costs of World War I and II, along with the expense of maintaining its sprawling dominion, led to its rapid decline in the mid-20th century. The Soviet Union, too, learned this harsh lesson when its extensive military expenditures during the Cold War, coupled with the Afghan quagmire, significantly contributed to its economic collapse and eventual disintegration.

The United States must avoid these historic errors. Our military is indispensable, but it should not serve as the world's sole peacekeeper. The United Nations, conceived as a force for collective security, promises what the League of Nations could not deliver: a true partnership of nations working to prevent conflict. However, to realize this potential, the UN must be empowered with the capability to deter aggression effectively. The League's failure, exemplified by its inability to prevent the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 or the Japanese aggression in Manchuria, shows the consequences of a global body without the authority or the means to act.

The United Nations today should not repeat these mistakes. By expanding the Security Council to include emerging powers, we acknowledge the multipolar world we live in, ensuring that more nations have a stake in maintaining peace. This position does not mean ceding American power; instead, it's a strategic realignment that enables us to focus on prosperity and domestic resilience while still playing a leading role in world affairs.

We must remember that economic vitality is the wellspring of national power. The Spanish Empire's decline was hastened by financial overextension due to constant wars and colonial expeditions. In modern times, we've seen how relentless military spending has strained our budget and fueled national debt. By advocating for a strong yet more strategically deployed military complemented by a robust and representative United Nations, we protect our interests and reduce the likelihood of costly unilateral military actions.

My stance reflects a commitment to a libertarian principle: minimal government intrusion does not equate to weakness but rather a focused application of strength. The American military must be formidable, ready to defend our homeland and interests while we simultaneously advocate for a collective approach to global security. This dual strategy is the most sensible path to ensure our nation's enduring prosperity and security, avoiding the fate of empires that overstretched and ultimately collapsed under their weight.

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