Examine the extent to which expenditure on arms and the armed forces is justifiable in the modern world

YES: Our modern world presents a variety of political and security challenges which make it highly justifiable for countries and in some cases, communities or even individuals to direct high expenditure on arms and the armed forces.     

  1. Nation-states and governments may exist in politically unstable regions, compelling them to expend high levels of national wealth and resources on maintaining effective armed forces against potential aggressors or antagonists.

  2. The modern world manifests a variety of transnational threats, such as terrorism, that makes it highly justifiable for governments to develop arms and armed forces aimed at the timely identification, pre-emption and response towards these threats.

  3. States with well-equipped and well-trained armed forces may deploy them in the pursuit of international collaboration and peace in the modern world, such as for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.  Expenditure on these forces would thus be morally and legally justifiable actions since they affirm a nations’ commitment to international peace and security in the modern world.

NO: Expenditure on arms and the armed forces may be disproportionate to the political and security challenges posed in the modern world, making it unjustifiable for countries, communities and individuals to focus too much attention on such expenditure.  

  1. Political instability may originate within a nation-state itself as a result of unjust or inequitable policies. Expenditure on arms and armed forces may then be undertaken for the purpose of suppressing dissidents, making such expenditure morally unjustifiable at their onset.

  2.  The expenditure on arms and armed forces to address transnational threats within one’s own soil would be highly unjustifiable if they are excessive and lead to the loss of civil liberties and rights in some countries.

  3. Powerful nation-states with regional or hegemonic ambitions may attempt to exert their influence on weaker states by either raising their own expenditure on arms or providing arms disguised as foreign aid to potential client states. Such expenditure is patently unacceptable as they violate the spirit of genuine international cooperation and peaceful development in our world today.