Saturday, December 12, 2009

Musings on War and Peace: In the age of Globalization

On a recent cross-country flight between Atlanta and Phoenix, I witnessed what has now become an all-too-common sight: US Army soldiers flying to/from their base in battle fatigues. It has become customary for airlines and crew to extend a few small courtesies, to the soldiers. On this flight there was a single lady in Army BUD. Towards the end of the flight, along with other announcements, the stewardess made a special mention of thanks to the men-and-women in military, serving and ensuring the freedom of the nation, including the brave soldier seated in Seat 21 F. The cabin erupted in spontaneous cheers and applause.

Soldiers traveling to/from their deployment in a BUD or uniform, carrying gear a routine enough scene in many parts of the world . . . so routine that we don't even pause to think of the cost of wars and peace in twenty-first century.

On this flight, observing the spontaneous applause for the unknown soldier, I also began thinking of Mr. Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance lecture where he begins the talk by taking on the issue of war and peace head on:

For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

The (military) "might is right" thinking by western superpowers has not gone unnoticed in the east, perhaps the reason why the formerly “Non Aligned” India of has woken up to ask for an entry into Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) club as a nuclear-weapon state!

I guess any debae for or against size of militaries or even defense spending is moot since militaries around the world are a huge source of gainful employment for millions. War strategists also justify the economics of war and make the argument "a war gives the economy a boost"

There is nothing new in justifying war to bring peace, but it does make one reflect on the argument for effective policing to ensure peace or freedom for the rest of us. I guess we have to accept the dichotomy of globalization of war along with the globalization of our lives and economies.