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A Take on ...
A Somewhat More Reasonable World

Do away with the French Army!

The author of this contribution proposes nothing less than doing away with the French army, from which we can easily extrapolate the idea of doing away with all armies. A bit provocative, right? If you think that this is worth a mini debate, feel free to state your opinion on this article in the “alliance” forum! [1]

Men like peace. Pacifist movements should therefore attract crowds of people. Yet this is not the case, and by far: a pacifist march will gather ten thousand times fewer people than a demonstration for retirement benefits or against the rising cost of living …

Why so?

The answer lies partially in what the average guy is told. The more he is told that war is horrible and criminal, the more he will be frightened, the more he will want to be defended, the more he will approve the existence of an army that seems the best tool to do so.

How can we break this vicious, albeit logical, circle? We cannot very well tell him that war is pretty!

The average guy will question his convictions if we demonstrate to him, without passion, with rigor, by means of comprehensible facts that he himself can check, that the army supposed to protect him actually threatens his security and compromises the future of his children and grandchildren.

Such is the case for our French army: it will never again be able to defend us, no matter how powerful it is and whatever the quality of its weapons and chiefs, because of how arms, the world, and our geopolitical situation have changed; it could instead provoke the total disappearance of our population were a major conflict to break out in the world, even if we were not involved in it—and the risk would become certainty if we were directly involved; it weighs on our economy—37 billion euros in 2010—therefore diminishing our already minute chances of not losing World War III, which is economic and cultural.

Whoever understands this will understand that our army has to be done away with, not for reasons of pacifism, antimilitarism, or love of peace and of one’s neighbor, but for reasons of pragmatism and concern for security. Of course, it would not have to disappear completely—a few very limited missions still fall under its responsibility—but almost completely, including its nuclear deterrence. This must be done without delay and with no expectation of reciprocity.

We can hear objections to this statement: there would be risks. Yes, of course! but much lesser risks than those we are running by keeping it. Let us not overdo ourselves in idealism; let us not seek an impossible absolute security; let us be reasonable and choose the lesser of evils. And then maybe, we will take one small step more for the cause of peace.

[1Editors’ note: The author would also be happy to receive your opinions via a private message. To send him a message, click on his name in the “The Authors” box and fill out the message form.


Pierre-Marie Guillon
Pierre-Marie Guillon is the author of Il faut (...)
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Photo under Creative Commons license:
Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Visiting a school rehabilitated par French troops.
by Embassy of France in Haiti

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