We will always be at war: The importance of foreign policy

MICHAEL ARTHUR

Columnist

 

Most people would use their last opinion article to say something about how they loved Samford and some wisdom they would like to pass on to the following generation.

I thought Samford was great and provided me friends and opportunities I would not have had elsewhere.

Samford is great, but the opinion section is about engaging our audience, not sedating them with personal nostalgia.

We can no longer treat foreign affairs as crisis reaction because we will always be at war.

Now that may seem like the craziest thing you’ve heard since my last column, but let me explain to you why it is more or less accurate.

First of all, the United States, by which I mean the public, needs to come to the realization that there are radical Islamists, drug cartels and extreme fascist groups in the world that would like nothing better to do than to wreak havoc on the United States’ citizens and its interests around the world.

Second of all, the United States has to realize that these groups will not go away soon. The “War on Terror” is never ending and in fact began far before the phrase was coined.

These groups have advanced the world into a new generation of warfare where national states no longer have a monopoly on military force and conflicts can arise anywhere, anytime.

If that wasn’t enough, the United States has to realize that other global powers are once again on the rise and are looking to test the United States’ resolve in a variety ways.

No longer does brinkmanship consist only of moving one’s naval fleet, but now also about how one nation uses its proxies against another state.

The subtle shifts in the international market are no longer just the invisible hand of economics but perhaps the very real hand of a nation or non-state actor trying to influence the outcome of a crisis event.

I cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the complexities of cybersecurity and the influence that data theft can have on security situations.

We will always have threats against us. The military and the intelligence apparatus will have full time employment for the foreseeable future.

However, the point of the article is not to scare you. It is to draw your attention to the fact that the world around us is ever changing.

The realities of our situation are different every day and change more rapidly than they have ever before.

More than anything, I want this article to show how important it is that you become a conscientious citizen.

When you vote for the president, your representative or your senator, those individuals have tremendous influence over how these situations are approached.

The responsibility then falls to you as a voter to be aware of the myriad situations around the world in order to make the best choice possible for your elected official.

If we truly believe in the experiment of democracy, then we must take responsibly for choosing those represent us internationally.

Michael Arthur is a senior political science major. Email him at marthur1@samford.edu.

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