MORE ARMED BUT LESS SECURE
Professor Roland G. Simbulan
University of the Philippines
The United States has never been richer and powerful as today. But though it commands the most powerful and most expensive military force in world history, it has never been less secure and more vulnerable than today.
America’s physical security, notwithstanding its US$370billion annual defense budget, is now more constantly in jeopardy. The citizens of its own national capital in Washington D.C. and its surrounding suburbs were recently in constant fear of an indiscriminate sniper that made District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia residents duck while putting petrol on their cars; and run to their cars. In short, the entire capital city of the most powerful superpower on earth was cowering in fear.
This nation with an offensive capability sufficient to destroy the world many times over with its arsenal of the most modern fighter planes, aircraft carrier fleets, tanks, nuclear weapons, and chemical and biological weapons, cannot anymore even protect its own citizens from anthrax attacks or snipers roaming in its capital. Despite all that money spent on intelligence and armaments, America’s national security is at risk, and its citizens are constantly terrorized inside and outside the United States.
The United States today has over a million soldiers, airmen and sailors stationed not only in the continental United States but also in more than 70 countries. It has intervened in Indochina, Lebanon, Korea, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Central America, and the Persian Gulf, and even attempted to invade Cuba many times, while pouring weapons it sold to its allies including the most hated dictatorial and military regimes in the world. Now it even wants to invade Iraq, a sovereign country. Yet, its national security has even more constantly been put in jeopardy. The US today is even more vulnerable and less secure now than 50 years ago when the rival superpower of the United States, the former Soviet Union was at its peak. Why is this so?
The answer lies in its lessons derived from the Vietnam War: that military solutions ANYWHERE cannot solve political problems, much more socio-economic problems, or issues of self-determination that breed popular national liberation movements and social/political movements. Through military means, the United States has tried to prove that challenges to US hegemony (or to be blunt, to U.S. imperialism) don’t work. This is a curious attitude for the children and descendants of the American Revolution against British colonialism to hold.
Americans still have to learn that costly lesson that the power to destroy is not necessarily the power to control. Other countries and most especially their leaders might as well learn this lesson fast.
True human and people’s security was bequeathed to us by the Indian philosopher Rabinranath Tagore Gitanjali when he reflected:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sound of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action–
Into that heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake.”
November 1, 2002
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)