Utanian Presidential Debate 303

TOPIC: The Military Build-up
SUBTOPIC: Military policy
The present administration has committed billions of Punds to the purchase of military materiel to protect the nation against external threats amongst other objectives. What will your policy be toward the military -- a purely defensive force, a high-profile peacekeeping force, or a force that should be equipped to challenge the greatest powers in the world?

Candidate
Name
Pres. George OKARVITS
Gov'r Edward R. HOPE
Kyle LANGLEY MP
Max BOORNAL MP
Cameron OLDS MP
Robert TALIN MP
.
President Okarvits
Gov. Edward Hope
Kyle Langley, MP
Max Boornal, MP
Cameron Olds, MP
Robert Talin, MP
Party's
policy
Strong defence force
Must be politically neutral
Strong peacekeeping role
Small defence forces
A "representative" peacekeeping role (c/w national wealth)
Strong defence forces
Military should be able to protect Utanians whereever they are
Small purely defensive forces
Neutrality; would join ANNV
Would seek alliance within Burovian realm
"Adequate" defence forces
Some peacekeeping capability
Some force projection capability
Small, politically-neutral military
Strongly supportive of peacekeeping role
Debate
points
Defence forces are "insurance" against the unthinkable
Cannot rely on building the necessary equipment when it is needed; it must be ready in advance
Sought as President to secure country's defence first
South Bay's instability a threat
Utania has peacekeeping responsibilities on world stage
Utania was created by peacekeepers from Zartania and Whitlam
Agrees with President on all but "amount"
Utania has limited resources, thus commitment to military should be smaller
7% of GDP on military is too much
Would seek to reduce financial commitment to military
Would seek to reduce commitment to Dignania, share with wider world, but not at expense of peace
Would reduce size of military
Agrees with President's policy of seeking to adequately defend nation
Military not just insurance, but also "guard dog" deterrent
Only if an enemy is too scared to attack is defence working
Utania should be involved in peacekeeping, in enforcing the peace
Expand, not reduce, military, to project peace around the globe
Military is a lure, not a deterrent, because it encourages its own use
Bad leaders may use strong military to compensate for poor diplomacy
Small purely defensive military
Defensive means no aircraft carriers, no long-range bombers
Mutual defence pact with all nations, particularly Burovian realm
Policy of "peaceful deterrence"
First and last line of defence
Properly equip soldiers
Multi-faceted threats likely
Seek to reduce costs
President was right to spend big to properly defend nation
Likely threats are small incursions, terrorists and saboteurs
Should have strong peacekeeping capability
All with fewer personnel
Best
Quote(s)
"Spending on defence is like insurance. You never know when you are going to need it, indeed we hope to never have to use it, but you are very happy to have it when you do."

"I have worked to ensure that at the end of my first term as President, that is about now, that Utania's defences are ready, are capable of repelling an attack, capable of defending this nation."

"Defence is about doing the same for other emerging nations that was done for us: bringing peace, safety and security."
"I find myself disagreeing with the President not on principle, but on amount. Simply, I believe the President has us paying too much, on too high a level of insurance given the low levels of risk we face."

"We are currently paying over 7% of GDP, a figure that exceeds almost all nations of Vexillium."

"I would scale down our commitment in Dignania. Utania is too small a nation, too poor a nation to focus so much of our country's meagre resources on this worthy task."
"Utania's military is an insurance policy, but it is also a deterrent that effectively warns off our enemies, simply by its presence."

"We have strength, we have the resources, to make a difference to the world around us. And we should be seeking to achieve such ends. We must be not only capable, but willing to enforce the peace."
"The military, I would contend, is not a deterrent, as Mr Langley suggests, but a lure... Frankly, the military is a tool for despots and stupid, ignorant leaders to solve their personal differences with other leaders."

"I will immediately sign a universal non-aggression clause and seek to have it enshrined into our constitution."
"Competing objectives require subtle fine tuning of the system, rather than blanket ideological targets." "I would also seek to redress the racial imbalance in the services by particularly pushing the training and promotion of Utani servicemen to increase the number of Utani officers in our ranks."
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Edited extract:

OKARVITS: Firstly, it is important that we understand the purpose of our military forces: Spending on defence is like insurance. You never know when you are going to need it, indeed we hope to never have to use it, but you are very happy to have it when you do.

It is not a matter of whom we have to fear, but whether we are adequately prepared for any threat to our sovereignty. We cannot predict where our enemies will come from, nor ever know when they will strike if we did know who they were. And military equipment is so expensive and technical to manufacture, that we cannot just build all the tanks and jet fighters we will need to repel an enemy on the day they choose to attack us. We must be ready in advance.

I have worked to ensure that at the end of my first term as President, that is about now, that Utania's defences are ready, are capable of repelling an attack, capable of defending this nation. That is my minimum position, my fall-back. So that if I fail to win a second term as President, I at least know that the country's defences are ready.

Yes, it IS fair to say that Utania has no real enemies right now, but there are threats. The instability, the breaking down of government in certain areas of South Bay remains a significant concern, as it does to the government of South Bay.

In terms of policy, I have described now the core to my defence policy, but there is a second, lesser arm to Okarvits defence policy, that I believe is less directly concerned with our own immediate security, but is part of our responsibilities as a nation on the world stage, a nation that is stable and capable.

I have made every attempt to ensure that Utania can provide assistance on the international stage, that we can provide troops to keep the peace when it is required. I believe this is partly to provide for our own security, but also as part of our role as a nation of the world.

In a community, and that is what Vexillium is: a community of nations, there is mutual responsibility, mutual care. What affects one, ultimately affects all. A rebellion in one state can breed terrorism, and as the Ordlanders and Porto Capitalians have found, that can spread to nations around the wound.

If we cannot help to provide security for the rest of the world, then how can we look at ourselves in the mirror? For let us remember that our own nation was created by the actions of two nations that acted quickly to secure our peace.

Finally, I reject any suggestion that I have been building our defence forces to threaten any other nation. I regard the use of our brave men in uniform for offensive actions as being completely against the mandate of the defence forces, and General Arjaat agrees implicitly with me.

Therefore, let me re-emphasise that defence is about insurance, insurance against the unthinkable, against the unpredictable. It is also about doing the same for other emerging nations that was done for us: bringing peace, safety and security.

HOPE: Allow me to firstly thank the President for giving my reply to this question. (Laughter)

I agree with the President, Defence is an insurance policy. Defence of our nation is paramount, and a vital necessity before any prosperity can flood this nation.

Therefore, I find myself disagreeing with the President not on principle, but on amount. Simply, I believe the President has us paying too much, on too high a level of insurance given the low levels of risk we face.

There is no faulting the President's rationale, for there is no denying that Utania needs to insure against any threat against us, and there is no denying that we need to play our part in keeping peace in our region, and in the wider world. However, I believe this debate, Mister President, is not about whether what you are doing is right, but whether the extent to which you would commit our limited resources is a fair and reasonable amount. On this point, you and I disagree.

I believe we, as a poor nation, have vastly more limited resources than countries like Zartania and Lendosa, and therefore should be paying far less in defence, contributing far less to global security than we are.

We are currently paying over 40 billion punds toward defence, which is more than 7% of GDP, a figure that exceeds almost all nations of Vexillium. In the longer term, removing capital costs to buy ships, fighters and tanks, we will still be paying 4% of GDP, and I believe, for a nation with more pressing needs, this is simply too high a commitment.

I remain, as the President is, committed to the defence of our nation. However, if elected, I will seek to reduce the overall expenditure toward our defences, focusing on the areas of expenditure that are most cost effective.

As President, I would scale down our commitment in Dignania. Utania is too small a nation, too poor a nation to focus so much of our country's meagre resources on this worthy task. I believe it is time the Burovian and Lendosan countries of this world should help shoulder this burden with us. I will not, however, permit this transition without first ensuring that the peace is guaranteed as best we can.

I would scale down the number of army divisions we currently maintain, focusing on the tools of our defence rather than maintaining large numbers of troops. I also believe that the nature of the threats we will face in the future is changing, that small, tightly-focused forces are more necessary in this modern age to combat smaller and terrorist threats than large armies of tanks and artillery.

I believe the President has done right in properly equipping the defences of our nation, but it is a question of timing and speed of that equipping.

I believe that the President has fulfilled his desire to see the nation well equipped to face any threat before us. I believe now we must look to more finely tuning our forces and slowly reduce the overwhelming expense that our defences represent.

LANGLEY: President Okarvits has right by the people of this nation in preparing our previously meagre forces, to providing a sufficiently trained and prepared force that is not only defensively capable, but represents a deterrent to regional threats.

Now, this latter aspect cannot be discounted in defence policy. Yes, Utania's military is an insurance policy, but it is also a deterrent that effectively warns off our enemies, simply by its presence. The military is not only our insurance policy, but, to draw the analogy further, they are our big, vicious-looking guard dog that keeps our enemies at bay.

I strongly disagree with Governor Hope's proposal that the military should be substantially reduced is capacity, in number, because although this may save us a few punds, we will pay the price in increased risk. Having fewer tanks means we are less of a risk to attack for an enemy.

When we write defence policy, we should be writing it in such a way that we look not to having an insurance policy, but that we have so fierce-looking a guard dog that we will never need to rely on our insurance. For, be sure, to use our insurance means losing lives, losing land and equipment, even if only temporarily, and all for what? No good will come of it.

Finally, I want to speak briefly on our international commitments. I believe that Utania is not as poor as the Governor would have us believe. We have strength, we have the resources, to make a difference to the world around us. And we should be seeking to achieve such ends. Our peacekeeping is a good example, but it must be peacekeeping with teeth. We must be not only capable, but willing to enforce the peace.

I believe we have such willingness in General Gordain, and I believe that we need leadership in the President to back the General and the wider military to achieve these aims.

In short, I believe the military should be expanded, not reduced, and should be put to good use to defend not only our nation, and our interests, but defend peace and liberty around the world. It is our obligation to our children, and theirs beyond. For the next three hundred generations.

BOORNAL: Well, we have heard defence talked of as being like insurance, being the country's guard dog, that it should be reduced in size, or that it should be used as a deterrent to various threats on this nation.

The military, I would contend, is not a deterrent, as Mr Langley suggests, but a lure.

I would suggest that the military lures not enemies but national leaders, not all, but some, to think of it as a blanket in which to wrap themselves, to protect them from the diplomatic disasters they create. And this planet has seen aggression arise, over and over again, not from expansionist desires of national leaders, but because diplomatic routes have failed, and, oh well, politicians still have the military to press their desire on other nations. And as the other nation has a military as well, conflict, death, destruction and refugees result.

Frankly, the military is a tool for despots and stupid, ignorant leaders to solve their personal differences with other leaders. Under a perfect world, there would be no need for a military, and we must strive toward that world.

I am not, in these statements, suggesting that the military is to be dispensed with altogether should I be elected President. What I am suggesting is that the Utanian military will not be allowed to be a tool of vain men ever.

If elected President, I will immediately sign a universal non-aggression clause and seek to have it enshrined into our constitution. This will mean that no nation need fear Utanian defence forces, because they could not ever be used in any offensive capability. Consequently, defence spending will be significantly reduced because only one aspect of the military will be supported: defence, not offence.

Why do we need long-range bombers? Offensive capability, not defensive. Why do we need an aircraft carrier? Offensive capability, not defensive. This is the sort of cuts I would look carefully at bringing into being.

I would furthermore look to establishing a mutual defence alliance with every nation on the planet, starting with the Burovian commonwealth. If we are part of an alliance with the Burovians, who would want to attack Utania? There, Mister Langley, THERE is your deterrent!

Utania should, as a nation of peace, be looking to build a culture of peaceful defence, instead of wasting badly needed government funds on war-toys for nationalists of our possible future. If Utania ever falls under a dictator, I would suggest that her military is well-stocked for an aggressive war against numerous neighbours. I would work to prevent that outcome for all time.

TALIN: I support the President in his quest to see the country better armed. When I first joined his cabinet, Utania had bolt-action rifles, forty year old armoured vehicles and a handful of ships that had little in the way of missile defence capability. Had our soldiers been called upon to defend the nation, while we may well have repelled an invasion, there is no doubt human casualties would have been extremely high.

The President has ensured that our defence forces are better equipped, better trained and better supplied, so that maximum defence is drawn from the commitment that our brave men and women in arms have made to defend this nation with their lives.

Though, this is not to say that I do not see room for reform, room for change.

I believe we should not be prepared for mass invasions by large hostile nations, such as Armatirion, as we should be prepared for small scale incursions as we experienced in June 301. I believe we should be better prepared to tackle threats from small enemy cells performing terrorist actions within our borders. I believe we should have a defence forces that are well-equipped to lead humanitarian missions anywhere in the world.

I believe that our personnel should be better paid, would perform a comprehensive review of the structure of financial incentives for serving personnel. I would also seek to redress the racial imbalance in the services by particularly pushing the training and promotion of Utani servicemen to increase the number of Utani officers in our ranks.

But, I also believe that these aims can be fulfilled with fewer personnel, and with fewer resources committed, better targeted at where they are most needed.

As President, I would seek to fulfill these aims with the cooperation of military personnel.

OLDS: Our military personnel are our first and last line of defence against any unknown enemy that may threaten our shores. I believe that the Utanian people demand a strong defence force to protect their homes, their businesses, and their lives.

Our first priority should be to successfully defend ourselves. In this, we must also speak to the task of properly equipping our personnel with the means to defend us without having to unnecessarily sacrificing their own lives. Coupled with this is an equal priority to reduce the financial cost of this defence. Competing objectives require subtle fine tuning of the system, rather than blanket ideological targets.

I believe the threats we face are multi-faceted. They are terrorist cells, they are major humanitarian crises, within or outside out borders, and they are major invasion forces and smaller incursions. We must be able to defend against all of these.

I will ensure that our forces are provided the necessary materials. I will ensure that we are successfully defended. As President, I will reduce the costs of doing so.

This will be my commitment.

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