Steve Forbes‘ latest contribution to Forbes magazine focuses on the sources of a current “global malaise.”

–The economy. Forget the nonsense chatter about “secular stagnation” and other seemingly portentous forces that supposedly doom us to sluggish or nonexistent growth. We aren’t doing well because of government policy errors–excessive taxation, regulation and spending. In political and economic circles the biggest cause, monetary policy, gets no mention at all because policymakers and observers think it’s a tool for growth. The central bank policies of quantitative easing and zero interest rates have perversely skewed credit markets in a way that is deflating economies, not stimulating them. Governments and corporations have access to cheap money, while the most dynamic, creative parts of the economy–small and new enterprises–suffer short rations.

Pro-growth structural changes in fiscal and monetary policy would lead to rapid revivals of dead-in-the-water economies.

Such reforms do not include blowing up the global trading system with new tariffs and other barriers to commerce. There are plenty of remedies on hand today to deal with actual trade abuses.

–Isolationism. Barack Obama deeply believes the leftist canard that the U.S.–and before us, the European imperialist states–is the source of all the world’s woes. Pull back from the world and the rest of the planet will sort itself out. It might be a messy process, but someday it will end well and people will be happier.

But the 1930s showed us what happens when aggression is not forcefully countered. That’s why the U.S. has been the free world’s leader since WWII. No other democracy has the strength and global reach to do this job. Expensive? What we spend on defense today is a fraction of what fighting a major war would cost, not to mention the horrific loss in lives. Not letting a hostile or potentially hostile power dominate a region or the world has been the foundation of the extraordinary expansion in global prosperity since 1945, fueled by international trade. If we continue Obama’s isolationist policies, the world will turn into a more dangerous and less prosperous place.