Security policy is a very important factor of a nation’s strength as it determines considerably its political independence and social stability. Security policy is not just the implementation of a nation’s deterrence policy so as to protect its human capital and infrastructure but also it is the way of preservation and protection of a society’s values and principles by external threats or challenges. However, in order to be credible and plausible, security policy needs effective armed forces, which consequentially means that their efficiency is determined predominantly by the level of a nation’s defence expenditures.
BY DR THEODORE METAXAS and EMMANOUIL MARIOS L. ECONOMOU | MAY 11, 2012
The need for powerful armed forces had already been noted since ancient times. Power, for Thucydides, is expressed through military means and measured through military capabilities. The 5th century A.D. latin author Vegetius suggested to the Roman emperors “si vis pacem, para bellum”, which means “if you wish for peace, prepare for war”. Niccolò Machiavelli, in accordance with Thucydides and Vegetius proposes that force is related to military capabilities, while the 18th century King of Prussia, Frederick the Great had come to the conclusion that “diplomacy without credible armed forces is like music without instruments.” Finally, the famous Prussian General and war theorist, Carl von Clausewitz, in his On War suggests that “war is merely the continuation of policy by other means”.
The correlation between security and military capabilities is also corroborated by modern scholars of international relations. Some examples include Edward Carr who in his Twenty Years Crisis proposes that military strength plays the crucial role for the formation of international relations, a thesis consistent with Frederic the Great’s ideas. Another leading representative of the “classical realist” school of international relationships, Hans Morgenthau, admits that military strength is the predominant (but not the only) factor for the political power of a nation.
The major contribution of our analysis in this paper is that we examine how defence expenditures affected security policy in both Europe and the United States. Although we acknowledge that this is hardly an approach that fully justifies by its own the ways which security policy is shaped by states globally, we do think however that the issue of defence expenditures is of major importance when a state intends to implement its grand strategy, a major implication of which, includes its security policy. In the first chapter we further analyze the issue of a nation’s power based on military spending. Our findings, both theoretical and empirical indicate that military spending can have negative or positive implications not only in geopolitics but also in other aspects of a nation’s grand strategy, like economic performance.
Published in Journal of Global Analysis (PR) Vol. 3 No. 2