I need help writing an argumentative essay about the article A strategy for Peace: A National Security Strategy of Realistic Deterrence by Melvin Laird (are Melvin Laird's insights as outlined in A strategy for peace, directly applicable to today).6 Nov. 1970. Please include references.
Peace, Restructuring and Priorities:
The Geostrategic Vision of Melvin Laird
Melvin Laird, once a Congressman from Wisconsin, became the Secretary of Defense under the Nixon Administration and served until 1973. The significance of this era and post cannot be overestimated. This was the height of the Vietnam War and debates over the nature of US foreign policy were raging. Laird was only correct in his basic argument, but was prophetic. The simple fact is that the idea of American Imperialism is costly, unpopular and ultimately, self defeating. Laird was correct then, and, despite his republican credentials, was opposed to the Vietnam war. Laird is correct almost exclusively because of the facts of the Pax Americana and its destructive tendencies.
The argument of this paper is a simple one: the facts and realities of global politics, not to mention the fiscal crisis, make present US foreign policy commitments irrational, unsustainable and, in many ways, immoral. Yet, radical reconstruction of the military need not be identical to international surrender. Given the realities of high technological weapons, intelligence gathering and guidance systems, huge masses of armor and ground forces seem to be obsolete. Laird's position was a generation ahead of its time. He predicted the fiscal crisis Americans are currently locked in, and the dangers of unlimited interventionist adventurism.
This paper will rely on the expanded version of Laird's paper "Strategy for Peace: A National Security Strategy of Realistic Deterrence." The arguments are the same, but in 1972, his original paper was expanded and presented as a report to Congress. The expanded version merely adds more details to the original paper, and is therefore more useful then the 1970 work.
Even then, the budgetary strain of a global military presence was being felt. Laird saw that, in a few decades (or years), the strain, both politically and financially, will overwhelm the US. The issue therefore is not so much arguing that Laird was factually and morally correct, but what can be done to put his vision into practice. Deriving from the "Robert Taft" school of foreign policy long before the rise of the neocons, Laird advocated a small, all-volunteer force dedicated solely to national defense and not "nation building" projects.
Modern warfare (and this is applicable to 1970 as well as 2013) has become so advanced that massive destruction in even minor wars is a possibility. By 1970, China had already detonated their own nuclear bomb, and India was soon to follow. Rumors were rife about states such as Pakistan and South Africa developing nuclear capability. War was never a good thing, but in 1970, it is worse. It is far more destructive and "impersonal" in its execution. Medieval wars numbered their dead in the hundreds. 20th century wars numbers their dead in the tens of millions.
Negotiation, not confrontation, should be the main prop of US foreign policy. Following in the tradition of George Washington, alliances with foreign powers only mean contractual obligations that the American taxpayer and soldier will have to pay for. In other words, the problem is that, so long as the US remains in the Korean DMZ (for example), any invasion from the North will automatically be launched against the US, which, in turn, involuntarily involves the US in another Korean war. This is especially problematic in that, by 1970, South Korea was well on its way to becoming the first world state it is today.
There is not merely the negative program of bringing the troops home and dismantling forward bases. The positive program is that a "peacetime economy" is one focused inward, not outward. Social development, infrastructure and education continually need the attention of all levels of government. Diversion of resources into feeding the never-satisfied global empire is unsustainable (Laird, 1970).
Negotiation is essential. The US has much to offer. Aid, a huge, lucrative market, and access to credit and natural resources. Any country wants access to these, and using these institutions as weapons is far more of a deterrent than ICBMs. His vision is yet broader: negotiation is not merely a policy, but a moral mentality. It implies that warfare is outmoded due to its immensely destructive potential. Negotiating, especially when offers of mutual trade and assistance are on the table, can bring peace to the worst of enemies. Today, trade between Taiwan and Peking is illegal. Yet, about $40 billion in illegal trade takes place between the two enemies every year. Laird tapped into a moral focus that was reasonable and, importantly, in line with the best of the American tradition (1-3).
Of course, Laird did not demand a dismantling of the military. What he advocated was a small, mobile, professional force that can respond to any attack on the US. Its essence would be speed and high-technology over bulk. ...
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