By Alejandra Orias Garita - International Relations student
"Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding" - Ralph Waldo
Throughout time, armies have had a huge impact on millions of lives. Historically, they were created under the notion of defense of the territory. At that time, they were not called armies; they were empires, and there was a very arm–based logic of violence. Gradually, we entered a transition from empires to states, and we get to see that these arm forces were related to diplomacy. The greatest example of it was the consolidation of armed conflicts. Until that time in history, there were some states that had military, and others didn’t. Currently, the diplomacy of the Navy has been replaced with the foreign policy that is now focusing more on discussion forums.
With that being said, whether developing countries are creditors of an army or not will really depend on the point of view, and also the context under which we live in. Governments have an obligation to guarantee their citizens efficient health care and access to an education system. Sometimes these aren’t covered due to the fact that the leaders decide to invest this capital in armament and enrichment of their military. Education is the fundamental pillar of society, and should be a top priority on the agenda of the state. Governors should ensure this type of guarantee to their citizens. I am afraid I have to disagree with the fact that developing countries need an army; regardless of this, there may be a police force that is heir to a soldiery.
Nevertheless, I will always advocate for an alternative conflict resolution and the preservation of peace. But what would happen if a developing nation gets attacked by a western country with a massive army? Sometimes it is easy for us to be in agreement with a westernized discourse about “preservation of peace and alternative conflict resolution.” However, if we take into account that the armed conflicts from which the American continent suffered have migrated to other parts of the world, this question becomes paradoxical, because if we talk from a security perspective, there are a lot of countries that need an army to feel safe due to their cultural context. But, having an army in a developing country will not only cause several deaths but will bring down their education and health care system.
To sum up everything that has been stated, we, as Costa Ricans, cannot forget that we are from a country in which there is no armed force; thus, we will never experience what is the feeling of living in a nation where the army prevails. Even from an ethical and moral perspective, what is really ethical? And what is the real moral we should follow? All these concepts change depending on the cosmovision we observed. If we compare Costa Rica with other countries, we can see that we have a privilege by having a free educational system and good health care. Therefore, the capital that developing countries would spend on armies could be injected into other sectors of society, such as wellness and education. With a better educational system, their citizens could become world leaders who can manage to resolve conflicts at the international level from a perspective of dialogue, respect, and that really evokes the preservation of peace.