Protecting The "Free World"

Max Boot is afraid that health reform will make America spend less on defense, like Europe does.

A lot of countries are currently policing sea lanes - including Europe! The U.S. can spend less on defense and still field a capable navy. When it comes to stopping WMD, how large a role is the military really playing here? It was the CIA and other allied intelligence services that uncovered and put a stop to the AQ Khan network. The military clearly has a somewhat larger role to play in stopping terrorism, but if you don't conflate "stopping terrorism" with "nation building" this isn't hugely expensive either. We don't do a large amount of "responding to genocide" in the first place. Rogue states like Iran and North Korea tend to be regional problems with a very limited ability to strike directly at the U.S., and even a decreased defense budget would more than enable us to respond to an act of aggression from third-rate powers.