White House Down: Emmerich sure likes destroying that building, doesn’t he?


I don’t really have much to say about the movie itself, I must admit. Fun film. A bit over-the-top (but that’s Emmerich for you). A few cliches. Some light moments too. Though “The President wants to do the thing.” was a little too much for me.

But the main talking point about this film, at least for me, was the idea that the military-industrial complex was the ‘villain’. This is not new – the first time I remember reflecting on it was after I’d seen Gundam SEED Destiny, and I’m sure that wasn’t the first commercial property to consider it. Going by the denouement, what this film seems to be advocating is that we try to turn away from preparing for the possibility of conflict and look to politics by other means instead…such as diplomacy. Which is probably a pretty controversial (quite possibly ridiculed) argument in certain circles.

Is it a valid argument to make? This is a difficult question to answer. The military-industrial complex in the US is, from what I can gather, huge, with many vested interests. I’ve read about senators that fight to have military bases or production lines in their states, because of the jobs that come with them. Defense is one of those industries that the US is almost certainly not going to move offshore in order to keep costs down, for they probably consider national security far too valuable. And the millions of dollars spent on R&D in this complex probably feeds into other industries too, thus contributing to the economic prowess of the one superpower in this world.

But if we are to look at the complex as a means to an end (peace) rather than an end in itself (jobs etc), then what does all the funding that goes into this complex do? If not into fighting wars, it goes into combating piracy, transnational crime…or it’s used to deter others from attacking. (Though, going by certain events of the 21st century, that didn’t really work.) Ultimately, most of it goes into addressing problems after they have gone wrong. Just like the Western medical industry, it doesn’t usually deal with the causes of disagreement and conflict.

But not all is doom and gloom – programs that are aimed at such causes are, from what I understand, starting to gain traction. For example, the development and implementation of counterradicalism policies has gone through much change since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Whilst I do not expect any government to abandon all military spending, perhaps more people are starting to realise that getting the latest, most expensive gun isn’t the only or even the best way to peace and security.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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