There are many different costs when talking about foreign policy and war. There are human costs, that is, the lives of soldiers and civilians. There are monetary costs. These costs include opportunity costs. Monies that are spent on war could be used internally in our country to stimulate job growth, for research and development, and for education. There are also auxiliary costs that can be measured tangibly. These costs include the interruption of commerce and the global economy and the distribution of natural resources.
The most cost-effective foreign policy limits the exposure of human life, both military and civilian, to harm, uses the least amount of federal dollars to achieve the objective, and minimizes the amount of disruption to the global economy and the distribution of natural resources.
America has long been a forerunner in, among many other things, technology, the art of information manipulation, and espionage. Though lacking in self-awareness, the Tea Party is fantastic at this stuff. We have the ability, in conjunction with our academic institutions and government agencies, to execute effective foreign policy by using our brains. We can win conflicts though negotiation, the manipulation of information, and the dissemination of propaganda; with force serving as the last resort.
Republicans should take note of this. Perhaps, Machiavelli should be required reading. Bombing and "boots on the ground" should be an option when we have exhausted other available options. Thinking people must be amused by knowing that Obama employed this maxim and accomplished what W. Bush- despite spending billions- failed to do: bring Bin Laden to justice.