by Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago
Militarism is an ideology that sees society, politics, and culture as ultimately defined by war and allots the highest value to those activities that either prepare for or facilitate the waging of war. As a cultural ethos, this default value set is the result of and a participant in public opinion and its discourses, models, and metaphors (Ekirch 1956; Sherry 1995; Mundey 2012). The historical dynamic of militarism in the unfolding of the United States as a nation and its rise to the status of global hegemony has had a broad impact on Latina/o populations, since militarism has partly defined the mechanism for deciding who does and does not belong to the nation. In particular, given the marked violence that has characterized relations between Latin America and the United States, militarism includes either direct U.S. military intervention or the threat of U.S. military intervention, as well as U.S. alliances with the militaries and security forces of other nations. On the other hand, given the way the U.S. military has operated as a social program allowing upward social mobility to minority populations, Latina/o communities have also been targeted successfully for recruitment in the military machine. Against this background of intervention, militarism has reshaped the kinds of possibilities for inclusion and exclusion that have befallen the Latina/o community in the United States from World War I to the years leading to the War on Terror.