June 12th, 2010

forums, me, non blog

[FORUM] What do you think your country's military is up to?

I'd intended last Saturday's post on German attitudes towards the military and its uses to chain up to this [FORUM] post, but I failed to post it. Well, here it is now.

Canada shares with Germany a tendency to see its military not so much as a war-making force but rather as a legalistic peace-keeping force. Granted that they started from very different positions--post-Second World War Canada, victorious in the Second World War, adopted the sorts of liberal internationalist ideals that saw us go in for peacekeeping, while Germany faced very tight foreign and domestic constraints on military use--they arrived at the same end.

Call Canada and Germany two countries at separate points of the continuum containing all the countries which make their militaries into peacekeeping and law-enforcement entities, with other countries at different places (Argentina and Spain turned decidedly anti-military after their military terrors, say, while Japan faced German constraints and any number of countries cashed in on peace dividends.) I'd go so far as to say that this is normative for most militaries in the world, with the exceptions--to one degree or another--of the militaries of more assertive and less post-historical countries like the United States or Russia or China or India or Pakistan.

What say you? Do you think that your country's military is basically an extra-territorial law enforcement agency? Is it still more of a war-making agency? Are there tensions between the two roles.