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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Imagine there's no army

Imagine, a country with no army, would it be in total chaos? being invaded by other bigger countries within years? or would that country grow otherwise? This might sound far-fetched for most of us, but currently, there are more than 20 countries around the globe who have chosen to dispense their defense/attacking sources into bringing peace and stability to their countries. Instead of vast amounts of money spent on equipping and paying the military, these funds are available to finance worthier projects such as education, nature conservation, health initiatives and old age. Two of these countries are in Latin America: Costa Rica and Panama. In both cases, the decision was nothing to do with flower power or bed-ins, but pragmatic thinking to bring peace and stability to their countries.

In 1948, Costa Rica experienced a short but bloody internal conflict, following disputed elections. After victory, opposition leader Jose Figueres made a declaration: ‘The Regular Army of Costa Rica today gives the key to its military base to the schools…  The Government hereby declares the National Army officially abolished.’

Abolishing the army was evolutionary not revolutionary though, says Ivan Molina, a Costa Rican historian at the University of Costa Rica and coeditor of The Costa Rica Reader. ‘Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Costa Rican army had begun to lose importance. This was primarily due to a redistribution of the national budget for spending on education, health and pensions. And throughout the twentieth century, peace had been a key content of the Costa Rican national identity. The abolition of the army was more the culmination of a long process, rather than a sudden transformation.

40 years later, Panama followed Costa Rica’s lead. As in Costa Rica, the change was added to the constitution; Panama prohibited the existence of a standing military in the country.

Costa Rica, has set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2021. The millions it saves go towards this. ‘Because Costa Rica has NO army, it has more funds for social programmes, social investment and social capital building,’ says Dr. Victor Valle, Associate Vice Rector of the UN-mandated University For Peace in Costa Rica. ‘But the most important outcome is that in Costa Rica there is a culture more inclined to civilian rule and peaceful conflict settlement. The Panamanian case is more recent but the effects will be similar: more funds for social change and a more civilian-oriented culture.’ Costa Ricans are proud to say that Costa Rica is a country with more teachers than soldiers. 

In short, leading a country is not as easy as we think it is. To decide what and where the country is gearing towards, with short and long term goal, how and where to exercise nation's wealth to benefit everyone the most, is the toughest of all. First carbon neutral country, hmm.....never thought of that, carbon neutral country would surely contribute alot to the conservation of our diverse natural resources, apart from making us renown in the eyes of the world, Malaysia should  sets its aim on achieving that too! 


StellaClaire-Richard said...

Better spend money for good thing..Bringing country in peace and stability. Rather than eager to keep the weapon to hi-tech.

Leaders should take care the peoples. And peoples should join hand in hand to avoid war..

Peace.. :)

si biskut said...

i can't imagine country no army..Kita tak kan tahu apa akan jadi pada masa akan ready better than do nothing.

Sumandak Kinabalu said...

Every country should have their own army. Kalau langsung tiada, macam mana the peoples mau defend if something happen. Bukan sahaja peperangan, kalau ada bencana alam pun we need army to control the situation...and tak boleh bergantung sangat kepada orang luar, sebab kita mana tahu apa agenda di sebalik :)

aman_arab said...

a country with no army? what a 'stupid' decision their leader makes..we don't know what will happen in the future..even in Islam, we are ordered by Allah to form an arm forces and always get ready and prepared to defend ourselves from our enemy that we know and whom we don't know but Allah knows.(refer to surah Al-anfal, ayat 60)

kyle said...

hmm, true peeps, u guys make sense too...military is needed for emergencies as we can't predict what will happen, but still, putting too much emphasis and money on that is absurd when there are things like education, health, environment which deserve better more, right? (its good our country doesn't put too much of our fund into hi-tech war machinery research :P)

still, its a decision by their leader, so its really judgmental of us to be calling that a 'stupid' decision right? afterall, they have limited resources to spare, so weighing that, they have to choose either one, to strengthen their military or use that money in other critical sectors as well, n they hv succeed in showing the world what changes they can bring by channeling the money to other cause..ain't it?

maybe it is not right to absolutely sacked out military, especially in country like us, since we have sufficient resource, lets leave this aside and LEARN from what they have achieve, channeling our wealth to urgent sectors like health, education, environmental conservation ....

Gen Fujita said...

The idea of true pacifism is very desirable, although reality always beat the crap out of it. Of course, there is always something that can be learned and inspired from a country like Costa Rica.

Asam Makruh said...

we need EVERYTHING in this life, but everything seems to be ABUSED.