The Federalist #4
Author - Jay
"It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting any thing by it; nay, absolute monarchies will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans."
Given the breakdown of accountability between the various branches of government the above paragraph describes the activities of our government for at least since the Vietnam "war".
How many conflicts that we have been involved in would have passed muster by the founders. How many violated George Washington's warning against excessive foreign entanglements?
"With them (France and Britain) and with most other European nations we are rivals in navigation and the carrying trade; and we shall deceive ourselves if we suppose that any of them will rejoice to see these flourish; for, as our carrying trade cannot increase without in some degree diminishing theirs, it is more their interest, and will be more their policy, to restrain than to promote it."
If you haven't heard of the "Law of The Sea Treaty" (LOST), go read about that U.N. monstrosity. Why should we, in our vain imaginings think that Europe has our best interest at heart any more now than they in 1787 when the above paragraph was written? Quite the contrary, Europe is in a race with China to usurp the position of the US as the single Global Super Power.
In relation to the national defense, Jay said, "As the safety of the whole is the interest of the whole, and cannot be provided for without government..."
I know that the truly hardcore libertarians would disagree with that statement but I have yet to be convinced that a private army organized only when the need for one arises could provide sufficient defense to ward off a determined enemy.
Though we have had acts of war committed against us, there has not been a sustained foreign war brought to our shores since the foundation of the Union. Perhaps a full-scale invasion by a worthy enemy (China?) would return our thoughts to liberty and galvanize our resolve toward governmental restraint. Not that I hope for that but I can't think of what else might accomplish it.