Fear, Threat Inflation, and Public Choice

John Glaser, February 23, 2012

In Foreign Affairs, Micah Zenko and Michael A. Cohen argue that despite the constant fear-mongering and threat inflation in America, we are actually very secure and face very few, very minor external threats. And one of the reasons we have a system that fuels unnecessary alarm and paranoia?

Warnings about a dangerous world also benefit powerful bureaucratic interests. The specter of looming dangers sustains and justifies the massive budgets of the military and the intelligence agencies, along with the national security infrastructure that exists outside government — defense contractors, lobbying groups, think tanks, and academic departments.

Ah yes, the public choice of U.S. warfare. This is why most Americans are terrified of Iran, China, and North Korea, despite the near-impossibility that any of them could pose an actual military threat to America. It’s why they’re concerned about terrorist attacks but not about heart disease. It pushes the military budget to $1 trillion, more than the rest of the world combined. Indeed, the dangers we do face are largely the result of the excessive warfarism produced by all this threat inflation. I was surprised such a frank admission made it into Foreign Affairs, to be honest.




6 Responses to “Fear, Threat Inflation, and Public Choice”

  1. Echoing Fareed Zakaria who echos FDR, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." I fear. I fear that Israel will bomb Iran and the 21st Century will begin as the 20th did. Let's pray that our world will take a different and more courageous tack.

  2. Can you tell me where can I get some more info on this matter? I must confess you've inspired me by this article, put one's money where one's mouth is

  3. I'm not trying to be mocking but it's really not that difficult…Google handles unstructured searches very well. Try something like: "fear-mongering" "threat inflation" "war-mongering"

    Trust me, just from that simple search you will have enough reading material to keep you busy for awhile and probably open up more sources for your enlightenment.

  4. [...] [1] Thanks to John Glaser for pointing out the Foreign Affairs article in his blog post at AntiWar.com. [...]

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