The realities of the U.S. military in the world

Military is might, thus might makes right in the world. I say that with the greatest admiration for the armed services, not merely preserving peace but promoting. I write this letter to openly support the military for its roles locally, nationally and internationally.

In a March 5 column, ‘All we are saying is give peace a chance,” columnist Luis Ruuska suggested that scaling down the military would give “peace” a chance. This suggests that humans are always rationally good and not interested in their own gain. In a perfect world, all of the nations could lay down arms, open up to a new utopian world and sing “Kumbaya.” Wars merely reflect human nature, and they repeat constantly in history. If history teaches us anything, reducing the role of the military causes greater international issues. The United States pre-World War II is the perfect example.

World War I involved all the major powers in the early 20th century, leading to a great change around the world. European populations drastically declined, markets collapsed and there was a rise of radicalism. Those radical concepts, chiefly communism and fascism, played major roles in the world.

The policy of the U.S. after the war was to retreat and maintain a policy of isolationism, which essentially was in place until the beginning of World War II. The world in the 1930s was chaotic with the global markets in a depression, an increase in radicalism with Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy and a vacuum of power. The Nazis utilized the chaos of the 1930s by forcefully rearming the military, voiding the Treaty of Versailles and acting as an aggressor. Appeasement was the policy of the European nations toward Adolf Hitler, which allowed for the annexation of Austria. Also annexed was the Sudetenland, and eventually Czechoslovakia and Ruhr Valley were as well, as Hitler kept pushing the boundary and kept winning in these gambles, which led to World War II.

The U.S. had no interest in dealing with Hitler and truly wanted to stay out of the war. It was only during the post-World War II era when the U.S. actively asserted themselves with NATO, the United Nations and the international economy. The military kept the peace. Imagine if the U.S. removed troops from Europe and never committed to the Marshall Plan. The Cold War would have looked very different.

War is unnecessary, but the threat of it can allow for better diplomatic terms. A present-day example would be Russia’s conflicts in Chechnya and recently in Ukraine. Putin is a strongman with ideas to reassert Russian hegemony.

Certain governments in this world want to use force, domination and intimidation in order to gain power. The military is essential in the world for peace, and the U.S. military promotes employment while providing skills training.

Defense takes more than half of the U.S. discretionary budget, which is vital for the survival of American commitments. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are more than 1 million Americans actively employed in the military in areas like medicine, engineering and many others. If we slash the budget, we will eliminate opportunities in education and jobs. This would result in further struggles for people and reduce an alternative to going to college.

I find it shortsighted to restrict the defense budget. It will lead to an imbalance of power in the world and a means for economic gain. Simply, the military is necessary in order to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.