Militarism has made us less safe, and continues to do so. It is not a useful tool for protection. So, what is?
Studies over the past century have found that nonviolent tools are more effective in resisting tyranny and oppression and resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence is.
Wealthy militarist nations like the United States think of their militaries as global police, protecting the world. The world disagrees. By a large margin people all over the world consider the United States the greatest threat to peace.
The United States could easily make itself the most beloved nation on earth with much less expense and effort, by ceasing its “military aid” and providing a bit of non-military aid instead.
The momentum of the military-industrial complex works through the hammer-nail effect (if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail). What’s needed is a combination of disarmament and investment in alternatives — alternatives like diplomacy, arbitration, international law enforcement, cultural exchange, and cooperation with other countries and people.
The most heavily armed nations can help disarmament in three ways. First, disarm — partially or fully. Second, stop selling weapons to so many other countries that don’t manufacture them themselves. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, at least 50 corporations supplied weapons, at least 20 of them to both sides. Third, negotiate disarmament agreements with other countries and arrange for inspections that will verify disarmament by all parties.
The first step in handling crises is to stop creating them in the first place. Threats and sanctions and false accusations over a period of years can build momentum for war that is triggered by a relatively small act, even an accident. By taking steps to avoid provoking crises, much effort can be saved.
When conflicts inevitably do arise, they can be better addressed if investments have been made in diplomacy and arbitration.