Somehow, after reviewing the expanded list of military involvement, Professor Etzioni’s (2007) Security First doctrine seems almost to fit nicely as a rationale for continued military presence in far off lands. This is not to mean that Etzioni’s premise concerning the “Primacy of Life” rationale is not something to be admired, because the notion of protecting populations at-risk of abominations such as genocide is both noble as well as humane.

You're lucky! Use promo "samples20"
and get a custom paper on
"Debating Ideological Bases for US Foreign Military Intervention"
with 20% discount!
Order Now

On a certain level it would seem that a Security First approach is merely one more extension of militarism as it was described by Barkan, especially as he related the concerns expressed by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who argued that the growing power and influence of the military industrial complex suborned the potential to address the ills in this country, and perhaps most importantly that the emphasis of placing precedent on the military war machine places humanity “hanging on a cross of iron” (Barkan, 2013, p. 814). It is lamentable, because our country relies on the military as a means of defending against aggressors, but to provide the entirety of the military apparatus with financial resources that could otherwise go to social or educational programs, alternative forms of energy or even to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure, seems almost to be a dereliction of democratic stewardship.

Etzioni (2007) argues that in order for democracy to take root in regions of the world where democracy is perhaps only talked of it is first necessary to tolerate “illiberal or undemocratic regimes for the time being” (p. 3), of course based on the premise that said regimes have not themselves committed egregious acts against humanity. This functionalist approach (Barken, date) appears to cover many aspects: first, it provides a military rationale for the presence of troops in far-off lands; second, it maintains the economic support of the military industrial complex; and third, it keeps open attempts to influence policy and regime change while maintaining American economic interests. While it could be argued that the third point is grounded in conflict theory, perhaps both are applicable and determined upon perspective, meaning those who see continued American military presence as being an opportunity to either democratize a country or establish economic ties would view this in functional terms, while people such as President Eisenhower would view the same in terms of being a threat to American interest and, as such, perpetuates the notion of a so-called warfare state (Barkan, 2013).

Hogopian, et al., (2013) attribute half of a million deaths to the war in Iraq, a third of which occurred through indirect causes related to infrastructure failures and a lack of health care, so it is imagined that the scheme presented by Etzioni, where the military role morphs into an adjunct security apparatus for foreign states, would actually serve to increase victimizations, in fact spreading to other regions of the world. From the view of Etzioni, the cause of a breakdown in infrastructure, as well as lives lost as a result of direct combat, are what occurs when attempting to force democracy through military intervention. Etzioni writes on the topic of realism versus idealism and, in all due respect, his argument seems altogether absurd because it seems so far removed from the reality in which he speaks of. He writes of a realistic foreign policy that has “moral foundations all its own” (Etzioni, 2007, p. 4).

Such moral principals includes avoidance of squandering resources and lives on the pursuit of dubious goals; delays dealing with conflict as a result of such goals; making promises impossible to meet and losing credibility as a result. But wouldn’t the reality actually be predicated upon what is taking place in a country or region once security forces are instilled? It would seem that Etzioni bases his points concerning a moral foundation upon intent. Yes, the intent of security forces may be shrouded in an avoidance of sins past, such as in the case of Iraq, but the reality is dictated by other things forces, some of which may be reactive to a foreign security apparatus figuring prominently in another country’s national affairs.