Role of the Military: Changing Views Research Paper

Pages: 16 (4882 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Government - Military Agencies  ·  Written: November 12, 2018

This man, the son of a potter, through all the changes in his fortunes always led an infamous life. Nevertheless, he ac companied his infamies with so much ability of mind and body that, having devoted himself to the military profession, he rose through its ranks to be Praetor of Syracuse. (pp. 55-56)

Not satisfied with this lofty position, Agathocles went on to seek higher office by using violence to achieve his objectives, going so far as to use the military to assassinate the entire senate of Syracuse to assume power himself. As Machiavelli confirms:

Being established in that position, and having deliberately resolved to make himself prince and to seize by violence, without obligation to others, that which had been conceded to him by assent, he came to an understanding for this purpose with Amilcar, the Carthaginian, who, with his army, was fighting in Sicily. One morning he assembled the people and the senate of Syracuse, as if he had to discuss with them things relating to the Republic, and at a given signal the soldiers killed all the senators and the richest of the people; these dead, he seized and held the princedom of that city without any civil commotion. (p. 56)

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The fact that Agathocles succeeded in assuming power by violently plotting the murder of legitimate political leaders further underscores Machiavelli’s views about how the military can be used in ways that are contrary to its traditional offensive and defensive roles. Moreover, Machiavelli’s influence on future leaders cannot be overstated, so his lack of vision with respect to trends in military technologies, arrangements and outcomes can perhaps be ignored to some extent. What cannot be ignored, however, is the contentious debate concerning who should serve in the military, and as the research that follows below indicates, this issue also remains largely unresolved today.

Who should be in the military?

Research Paper on Role of the Military: Changing Views Assignment

With some rare exceptions, historical views about who should be in the military in both the ancient and modern worlds have been primarily geared towards allowing males only to serve. These views should not be regarded as misogynic but rather as a pragmatic response to the need for having the largest and most physically powerful individuals serve as guardians of society (Jensen, 2017). For example, in Plato’s Republic, the following exchange between Socrates and Glaucon underscore these beliefs:

Socrates: Do we think that the females of our guard-dogs should join in guarding precisely what the males guard, hunt with them, and share everything with them? Or do we think that they should stay indoors and look after the house, on the grounds that they are incapable of doing this because they must bear and rear the puppies, while the males should work and have the entire care of the flock?

Glaucon: They should share everything—except that we employ the females as we would weaker animals, and the males as we would stronger ones. (p. 139).

Likewise, Aristotle believed that it was the fundamental obligations of all citizens (read male) to contribute to the civic good through military service, all in an effort to provide a stable society in which others could make meaningful choices about their own lives. In this regard, Simpson (1997) notes that Aristotle believed that a military “alliance gets its usefulness from its numbers even if they are all of the same kind, for the nature of an alliance is to provide the sort of help that a greater weight does when it presses down the scales” (1997, p. 38). In his work, Politics, Aristotle makes this specific point:

A city-state consists not only of a number of people, but of people of different kinds, since a city-state does not come from people who are alike. For a city-state is different from a military alliance. An alliance is useful because of the weight of numbers, even if they are all of the same 25 kind, since the natural aim of a military alliance is the sort of mutual assistance that a heavier weight provides if placed on a scales. (p. 27).

Using this view as a point of departure, Aquinas (1987) also believed that a nation’s ruler should encourage military service by qualified male citizens and leverage its military forces in ways that promoted the social good and protected the defenseless from enemy forces.

According to Aquinas (1987), no specific natural law stipulates whether service in the military should be voluntary or obligatory and this requirement is also situation-specific. In some cases, it is reasonable to suggest that ancient kingdoms such as the Hittites and Egyptians enjoyed a “peace dividend” by virtue of entering into an alliance and the need for massive standing armies was reduced. By very sharp contrast, countries such as Israel today that are surrounded by belligerents believe that it is vitally important for all adult citizens to serve their country, either through active military service (it is noteworthy that lengthier service times are still required for males compared to females) or some type of approved community service activities.

The decision concerning who should serve in the military has therefore been historically relegated to national leaders, many of whom may have had few historical precedents to guide them in the process. It is little wonder, then, that the decisions concerning who should serve in the military may backfire in major ways, with neighboring nations viewing large-scale mobilization as an act of war and respond in kind. Likewise, the failure to maintain a minimal level of defensive military forces may encourage adventurous national leaders to take advantage of this perceived weakness and wage total war. This point is also made by Koritansky (2017) who emphasizes that, “Within a particular socio-political context, it may indeed be a terrible mistake to make military service compulsory even though the natural… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Role of the Military: Changing Views" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Role of the Military: Changing Views.  (2018, November 12).  Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

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"Role of the Military: Changing Views."  12 November 2018.  Web.  16 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Role of the Military: Changing Views."  November 12, 2018.  Accessed January 16, 2021.