Doctor David A. Owen looks into the concepts of security, war and government functions during the conflict time in his lecture on the concerns of international policies. He also focuses on the eleven life lessons from Robert McNamara, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense (Owen, 2020). It is essential to study history and learn from it.
A Brief Summary of the Lecture and McNamara’s Principles
When people generally think of the security of a State, they usually connect it to the military and the government. The U.S. had about one and a half million active-duty soldiers in 2015 and nearly fifteen times more veterans the year before. Government security policies are directed at giving protection to the citizens and the freedom of the country. Conflicts, wars being their most violent type, are meant to create disbalance. They can be divided into different types, according to their purpose: offensive and defensive, preventive and preemptive, conventional and nonconventional, and others. (Owen, 2020). Wars are always destructive, but at least humanity can learn from them.
McNamara participated in war conflicts both as a soldier and as a Secretary of Defense. In The Fog of War documentary, he mentions that every military commander makes mistakes and the best one can do is learn from them. McNamara’s eleven lessons include, among others, empathizing with the enemy to understand their motivation, maximizing efficiency to minimize the necessary resources, and, most importantly, following the principles of proportionality. They state that the damage done to the enemy should be proportionate to the goals achieved; otherwise, it leads to unnecessary sacrifices and the loss of resources (Morris, 2003). This principle is essential to understand the calculations and rationality behind the delicate balance of international security.
Morris, E. (2003). The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara [Film]. Sony pictures classics.
Owen, D. (2020). GOVT 251 International Security [Video]. Millersville media space. Web.