As a Dartmouth alum, it was great to see the front page of Friday's issue covering the lecture I gave on Jan. 31. Unfortunately, the story somewhat mischaracterizes what I said. Two elements in particular deserve correction.
First, I didn't say that the U.S. Navy shouldn't patrol in peacetime. I said that, if we ceased such patrols, global trade would not suffer.
Most importantly, as I explained in my lecture, it is wrong to call my views "isolationist," as your article did four times. As I said, that term has always been a slur American military interventionists use to attack the views of those that prefer to fight fewer wars. My views differ radically from what the term "isolationist" evokes, like the America Firsters of the 1930s.
Unlike them, I support more free trade, more immigration and engaging other nations culturally and diplomatically. That said, to paraphrase Walter Lippmann, I'm happy to be called an isolationist compared to those that think they can run the world.
Ben Friedman '00