Table of Contents
Struggles over security measures are eminent in every country, what is important however is how the government handles the security threats whether local or international. Terrorism which is an act of war that breaches law is one of the security threats that calls for military force to be used or a grand strategy by the government affected to be formulated in order to seek the best way forward and ensure security of the people. Military force is only employed when there are extreme threats to the security of the nation and when there are limited or no chances of a non military force working. The military force may employ the defensive, offensive or even punitive operations to eliminate the security threat.
The non military force includes the diplomacy route, coercive diplomacy, deterrence or even extended deterrence strategies. This is in addition to relying on the world order to solve the security threat without military force. This essay will argue on both sides of the military as well as non military force being used to achieve desirable security goals. The decision to use either the military or non military force will however be based on the assessment of the security threat levels to the individuals and especially the civilians. The first alternative in any security threat is however to employ a non military force and only when this fails should the military force option then be employed.
Military force implies the use of extensive force by the military personnel and their equipment to compel peace and guarantee security. What however should be noted is that this grand strategy by a government such as the United States does not always mean war. One issue which guarantees war, when discussing military force is the use of offensive or even engaging in punitive force. These two are all about attacking the enemy that poses security threats as well as retaliating against security attacks. In the case of the US being in Afghanistan for example, they are in this case taking on an offensive as well as punitive approach to the use of military force by fighting the terrorists. By fighting them in their home land, they are preventing them from another attack in the US as well as paying retribution for the previous attacks they have launched in their countries or even their allies in the past.
The use of the two above is however not always the case. There is also the strategy that America has been relying on to ensure military force to mitigate security threats and this is the defensive strategy. In this strategy, the military do not have to engage in fighting. They simply engage in preventive measures against imminent threats. The preventive measures and preparations are in the fields of communication, increasing the personnel, being more vigilant and increase surveillance and more advanced military technology that will protect the people in case of any attack. This strategy is better than the offensive or even the punitive one as it means that the nation launching the defensive military force is not threatening the security of others but rather perfectly protecting its own people and guaranteeing their security to the best level possible.
Non military force is one of the best strategies to engage in and which is used by most nations to guarantee their security. They mostly do this using various strategies none of which is military. The most common of these strategies is the use of diplomacy where nations that are facing security threats from each other hold peaceful talks to discuss their problems and try to solve them without any force. Nations that do not respond well to diplomacy are subjected to coercive diplomacy which is forced upon them. In this case, this is the last resort next to a military force being employed and the country forcing the diplomacy is at the breaking point.
There is another non military force of deterrence which is all about persuasion of a nation not to take any action based on the costs of the action compared to the benefits. This is mostly carried out by larger nations on attacks by smaller nations. The smaller nations in theory may lose a lot in carrying out war on larger nations and hence deterrence is a way to persuade them to avoid these losses. This is the action being taken by US over China’s growing military and economic power that is threatening to challenge the superiority of the US in the world position. Deterrence is therefore being carried out to prevent China from provoking US in any way that would lead to a war or the threat of security. Sometimes, extended deference where prevention of attack on allies of the country is also used to prevent war.
There is also the relying on world order as a way to engage in non military force to solve security threat problems. This is about prevention or even a regulation of conflicts in states. This is engaged in of the security threat affects many nations as was the case in Slovakia over NATO. The UN security forced had to be called in to take over the peace of the nation without fighting but instilled world order.
Most nations prefer engaging in non military force unless in dire situations like terrorist attacks where military force are undertaken as seen above. It is however crucial for nations whether small or large not to take the security of their civilians for granted. Even nations such as Afghanistan that are under attack from the US years after Osama was killed and the Taliban forces not causing any more threats to the security of the US. They should learn to fight for themselves. America and other large states should also stop undermining the extent of the military force that the smaller nations can use and even defeat them.
This is the reason that in their defensive strategies, they should really pay attention and consider the strength and determination of the smaller nations. Slovakia for example was a small state but whose determination brought NATO with all the super power nations begging for deterrence from them simply to avoid war. What should also be considered before resorting to military force and especially the offensive strategy is on whether all the possible non military force options have been exhausted. It should however be noted that the military force may cause more harm than good in the long run and hence all non military force options above have to be exhausted before the military force with more casualty and long term losses can be employed.
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- Posen, Barry. The Struggle against Terrorism. International Security, 26, no.3 (2001), 39-55.
- Posen, Barry. The War for Kosovo. International Security, 24, no.4 (2000), 39-84.