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Re: US foreign policies
Posted By: julian, on host
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001, at 01:13:01
In Reply To: Re: US foreign policies posted by Stephen on Monday, September 24, 2001, at 17:38:33:

> > Why is arms supply vital to supporting democracy?
> > Democracy is characterized by openness, armament ultimately results in closing.
> The most single important function government serves is protection (there are some who argue this is the only function government *should* serve). This often requires the use of force, particularly when defending from an external threat.
> I don't understand how "armament ultimately results in closing." Even my local city government is "armed" in the sense that their decisions are backed by an armed police force. No government can stand without having the threat of force at their disposal. Heck, the textbook Political Science 101 definition for government is something like "a legal monopoly of force."

Well, actually, it's the protection which results in closing. The only effective way to protect something is to close it off from whatever you want to protect it from. Yesterday, I watched "Enemy of the state". Not that I disagree with your statement that the governments responsibility is to protect its citizens. But it's the citizens responsibility to see that the government is democratic, even when it takes upon itself other tasks - which it might do for protective reasons, but that's a whole diferent can of worms. And armament is a balance between these two responsibilities.

> In short, I guess my point is that it's foolish to assume that supporting countries via providing them arms is somehow wrong or harmful. I'd be interested to see this point elaborated on.

Foolish, but realistic...

The basic idea is good: By supplying an ally with arms, you are putting your money where your mouth is. Fair enough. The problem arises if your ally suddenly turns against you, or if your allys enemies become your friends, or if ...

Time and again, this is what happens.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there are other ways to support democracy than by selling arms, and that arms go against the very idea of democracy (by forcing people do what they do not want to) and therefore should be a last resort.

> Stephen


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