Another thread asks if the US is too pro-military. I agree that it is, and a primary reason is that we have a standing army. That is also a major problem I have with Iraq and our foreign policy in general. But I also think that humanity in general is too pro-military. I do not see it as anything unique among Americans.
For myself, a military solution should always be a last resort, and even then only in matters that involve national integrity, not an ephimeral security. The military should be called up only if our territory is actually threatened, like Pearl Harbor, or a major strike against civilians which actually threatens us. I am thinking of the sinking of the Lusitania and other merchant vessels which created a major threat to shipping and commerce which would have had tremendous consequences if we did not respond. As horrible as 9/11 was, it did not threaten our integrity.
Also, we could not have stirred up the hornet’s nest that Iraq and other countries have become if we did not have hornets of our own. Our military has also become too capable. It makes it too easy for us to have a military solution to foreign policy.
But realpolitik demands that it has to be all or nothing. It would have to be illegal for all nations to have a standing military or force projection capabilities. I think the Swiss model would be more than sufficient. Maintain an officers corp, and require all able-bodied persons to go through reserve training (or equivalent national service for us peaceniks). Keep the skunkworks going, but scale back the whole military-industrial complex and devote our resources to better uses.
And both World Wars provide evidence that we do not need a standing army of the scope we have today. We were able to ramp up and get into the fight in less than a year in both cases. If we faced a similar threat, we could do so again. But there are no similar threats. Japan was the last attack by another nation against US territory, and even then there was never a question of a mainland invasion (Alaska excepted). Even China could not mount an invasion, and Russia will never be the threat again that they were. India? Please.
With regard to terrorism, I believe that it should be regarded as a criminal matter. They are no more a threat to our national integrity, or even security, than the Mafia, gangs, and other organized crime. Any ‘war’ should be under the purview of the DOJ, not the DOD.
In general (hell, in most specifics), I follow the lead of Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, the President of Costa Rica. Here is a good overview of his thoughts.
Has the world progressed enough for us to reach this stage? What valid reasons are there for having a standing army in todays world?