By SYONA BHANDARI, junior
FOR CENTURIES, Western nations have established a global order that they maintain through trade and military enforcement. If developing countries attempt to strengthen their own military in order to limit their dependence on Western nations, they would disrupt this system.
The militarization of developing countries undermines the global order, causes detrimental fluxes in the global economy, and leaves Western nations to deal with the increasingly violent conflict caused by armament. The militarization of developing countries jeopardizes the global economy. Militarization requires funds that many developing countries do not have to begin with. When economically unstable countries run through their funds from military spending, they will not be able to afford to import other goods from Western nations, and the resulting surplus would depress prices. At the same time, economic instability would hinder their exports to the rest of the world, and this strain on supply would increase prices of goods like oil. Although there is a possibility that Western nations could profit from exporting arms to militarizing countries, developing countries will likely purchase their arms from countries like China instead. Thus, Western nations have little to gain from dealing arms to developing countries and could potentially suffer a devastating loss from the disruption of imports and exports. Consequently, the militarization of these developing countries is clearly not worth wreaking havoc on the global economy.
This economic instability coupled with the armament of developing countries can result in the heightened risk of war and internal conflict. The longstanding conflicts between developing nations are heightened by militarization, since countries with strong militaries are less likely to yield to negotiations, treaties, or threats of an embargo. The eventual outbreak of war costs human lives and resources, causes widespread poverty, and stunts the development of thirdworld nations. Western nations won’t go unscathed—they will have to deal with the aftermath of such conflicts: refugees. The militarization of Syria and ensuing internal war led to a worldwide refugee crisis that is still apparent today. Western nations dealt with this immigration crisis by allocating resources, homes, and money—adding stress on their economies. Of course, this is to aid displaced humans, but it wouldn’t be necessary if only Western nations had prevented this militarization in the first place.
Furthermore, the militarization of developing countries causes an increase in terrorism. The importation of weapons makes arms much more accessible to terrorist groups and other hostile organizations. Since many Western nations, like the US, have established bases abroad, their own military influence is at risk; the more widespread these weapons are, the more likely it is for a Western base to get attacked abroad. Since it is not possible to effectively bomb a terrorist group, the US’s power to deal with the repercussions of such attacks will be limited. And clearly, when these developing nations get overrun by rising terrorism, they will dissolve into even more violence and chaos. As such, if Western nations want to preserve peace and their own power, influence, and resources, it is necessary to curb the militarization of developing countries.
For the sake of economic stability and the preservation of resources, it is in the best interest of Western nations to prevent the further militarization and armament of developing countries. However, a stop to militarization is beneficial for all countries, not just Western nations. History shows us that militarization often sets back developing countries and stunts their economic growth. If developing countries want to prosper, they must direct their efforts into stimulating the economy, not putting their military on steroids. Western nations must also do more than just stopping the militarization of developing countries and focus their international agenda on providing sustainable economic relief. In the long term, if the global economy is thriving, Western nations will thrive as well.