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On May 27, 2010, President Obama unveiled the National Security Strategy, outlining the administration’s security strategy for the upcoming period. One of the major differences between what was outlined in Obama’s national security strategy and former President Bush’s national security strategy, was a move away from Bush’s stated national security strategies that were more unilateral to a national security strategy with more of an emphasis on working with foreign partners in military actions. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/05/27/AR2010052701044_2.html? hpid=topnews) The Bush security policy was never in actuality a unilateral one, for instance Bush made a decision to invade Iraq with Britain and Spain as primary coalition partners and a large list of other contributing coalition partner nations. The subsequent decision for the continued military occupation of Iraq, was based on a UN resolution and has included the military involvement of a large number of nations and NATO as a military body. However, the Obama Security Strategy, outlined last week, was far more focused on the United States’ national security strategy that was not primarily national, but connected to other nations than has been the case before. In the National Security Strategy document released Thursday, it states “we will be as unwavering in our commitment to the security of our people, allies and partners.” In another part of the document it states, “Going forward, there should be no doubt: the United States of America will continue to underwrite global security—through our commitments to allies, partners and institutions.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/national_security_strategy.pdf) The job of the U.S. government is to protect the security of the United States, not other nations. The U.S. military have often been expended overseas, and on this Memorial Day that commemorates the sacrifice of so many American soldiers, it is important to understand what we are fighting for as a military and who we are fighting for. The job of the U.S. military is to protect the security of the United States. Other country’s military’s jobs are to protect the security of their country. This is an important issue because some of those nations that we consider our allies and partners, for instance have expressed goals of using their military and in alliance with them, our military, for purposes other than national security. Two of these nations are Germany and Japan. On May 31, 2010, German President Horst Koehler resigned after criticism over his remarks on the purposes for German military deployment overseas. Earlier this month, in a radio interview after returning from Afghanistan, Koehler said that German military action abroad also served economic interests. A country like Germany with a heavy reliance on foreign trade, Koehler said, must know that “in emergencies, military intervention is necessary to uphold our interests, like for example, free trade routes for example to prevent regional instabilities which could have a negative impact on our chances in terms of trade, jobs and income.” (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1993014,00.html) Germany, like any other nation, has no right to use German military troops to enforce free trade or investment. All countries have trade and investment elsewhere, that gives none of them the right to use their militaries for that purpose. Germany is not the only country in which politicians have recently stated they see an increased role for their military forces elsewhere. Another is Japan. In Japan as well as Germany a politician has recently quit after a similar statement about Japan and it’s military role in the world, claiming that Japan should be more militarily engaged in other countries. He was not the only one in Japan who feels that way.
Keiko Sakai, the director of area studies at the Japanese government-affiliated Institute of Developing Economies, was interviewed in 2005. When asked whether Japan’s military involvement in Iraq as part of the multinational military coalition involving the United States could be seen as “an attempt to return to militarism in the mold of pre-World War II Japan, she answered, “I believe some politicians do have that aim.” (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20050109x1.html) It is important that we make sure that U.S. military involvement is only being used for the security of the United States and not for the goals of other countries. It is also important to look critically at the actions of the governments of Japan and Germany and their possible goals for military action in other countries, especially given their histories of military and economic aggression.