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Political Science: Security, Defense & Political Point of View Based on the Film Lone Survivor (2013)


In the historical and contemporary world, the orientation of people is that a form of governance is exercised in a particular area, as power has internationally been decentralized to respective sovereign states to establish diplomacy. Nevertheless, international politics are significantly characterized by a hegemony that has political superiority over other United Nations member states. Concerning international politics, there are the power and authority struggles that exist, as there are the obstacles and opportunities which present themselves when sovereign states interact politically. Therefore, some concepts arise from international political activity, i.e., defense and security, which emanate from the comparative perspectives of politics and power. The variables defense and security are political science attributes that are utilized to realize the processes and behavior of the international community, especially when it comes to classical groups present in government and how they influence diplomacy, international humanitarian law, political strategies, and warfare that exists in history and the modern world.

Warfare is a political concept integrated with international humanistic attributes such as freedom, democracy, authority, equality, power, and political dominance. With the dealing of systems of governance and power, security and defense are significant attributes. Political security entails the prevention of a government in authority from participating in activities that propagate the violation of humanitarian law and rights ordained to man and specifically from militarization threats posed as political challenges. All sovereign countries have an army, while others have additional security agencies of the Navy and the air force for defense. Additionally, it is important to note that many politically dominant countries have armed themselves with nuclear warfare, which is supreme in the modern world. Based on the film Lone Survivor (2013), the concepts, i.e., political science and international politics, defense, and political security, dominate the plot as the storyline is historically based on real-life events where war was prevalent for a specified time.

Movie Review: Lone Survivor (2013)

Based on a nonfictional novel that highlighted the war between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the United States of America Navy SEALs, who operate in the air, sea, and land as they learn up-close and distant combat with tactics of land navigation and explosives and weapons training, the film adapts the warfare concept of defeating militia through the totality of military action; during the Battle of Abbas Ghar. In the Korangal Valley, there is a Taliban warlord, Ahmad Shah (Rotten Tomatoes Trailers., 0:39), responsible for the deaths of American Marines in the region for peacekeeping missions and to completely eradicate the illegal militia that has taken control of the region. Therefore, there is a team of additional four-man SEALs team who are tasked with capturing the Taliban leader; Danny, Marcus, Matthew, and Michael (Rotten Tomatoes Trailers., 0:17). They get to identify Shah, but because the local militia is collaborating with Shah as they are his sympathizers (Rotten Tomatoes Trailers., 1:17). Their mission is to extract the Taliban leader and take him to the United States for extradition purposes. Still, they are overwhelmed by the numerous Taliban members who rain a hail of bullets and bombs, and Danny is killed. Soon after, Michael is killed as he tries to get a signal leaving Matthew and Marcus desperate for support as the Taliban have surrounded them (Rotten Tomatoes Trailers., 1:43). Soon, Matthew is cornered. The militia kills him, and the Taliban subdue Marcus but surprisingly gets to escape. He is rescued by an Iranian who lives in Afghanistan; it is a surprising realization that the Iranian group, Pashtun, has a code of conduct and honor as they live a secluded and independent life in the mountainous region. He also sends a friend villager to the American base to report on Marcus, the only surviving SEAL. Shah attempts to kill Marcus, but the villagers hide and defend him as they are governed by self-respect and hospitality. However, Shah returns with his gunmen and attacks the villagers, but the Rangers arrive from the American base and get to neutralize the Taliban attack.

Critique Discussion: Analysis of Security, Defense & Political Points of View Based on the Film & Classroom Material

For one to comprehend the attainment of national and international security, and subsequently, the international defense mechanisms and how they operate to ensure the actualization of political stability, the United Nations is an international formation that must be scrutinized. All sovereign countries are United Nations member states except Palestine and the Vatican. Therefore, with Afghanistan experiencing political instability, which makes their citizens unsafe for the lack of defense mechanisms, such as a functional army, the other member states of the United Nations aim to achieve political stability in all spheres of influence through the Security Council, which the UN-Charter mandates. The members must be peace-loving, and the Arab world is part of the agenda. The Security Council aims to ensure the maintenance of international security and peace to ensure international political stability. The Security Council’s permanent members include France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America (Raunio et al., pg 527). It is the sole reason why in the film Lone Survivor, the United States of America sends their own MARINE and SEALs troops to Afghanistan to ensure that the Taliban are eliminated through the attack and extradition of their leader Ahmad Shah and face justice at the International Court of Justice. The action is based on the Department of Peace Operations, which is strengthened to ensure that there is the harmonization of all the activities of respective member states in a manner that political stability is attained through defense mechanisms, such as the navies, armies, and air forces, to attain nationalistic and international security (Raunio et al., pg 517). The obligation must be carried out in a manner that there is the aspect of good faith to develop friendly relations among all the nations through international cooperation as the Taliban militia group has proven to be an Afghan and international problem as it violates fundamental freedoms and human rights through their extremist and negative ideologies based on detrimental principles found in sects of Islam. The Taliban is a militant political movement based on Deobandi Islamic fundamentalist tenets of belief that have caused insurgency in the country as it has taken total control (Terpstra., pg 1144).

Based on international security studies, there is the evolution of theoretical approaches which determine the security and defense policies adapted to the international community in a manner that all countries are latent politically so that there is no conflict. For international political stability, international security must be integrated through the provision of defense so that respective sovereign states must be peaceful for the entire world to experience tranquility (Raunio et al., pg 517). For instance, through the film Lone Survivor, it is examined that the lack of peace in Afghanistan caused the international community to intervene in the conflict caused by the Taliban, on their native land, through the use of the United States of America and their Marine and SEAL teams. Additionally, it is important to comprehend that military force is a main concern. It is used if need be because, in contemporary society, there is the black market where illegal firearms and ammunition are sold to militia groups such as the Taliban, who have dominated the Afghan region (Terpstra., pg 1144). In national security, military force is the primary defense element as all countries have legal access to ammunition, guns, rocket propellers, submarines, and aircraft used during the war, as experienced during the First and the Second World Wars. Security is susceptible to being degraded by radical dangers which can neither be controlled locally nor internationally, as examined through sects such as Al-Shabaab, which have periodically caused terrorist attacks and security concerns in the African region, specifically countries that share the Horn of Africa. With the development of international politics, it is examined that there is the ideological warfare which was rather “quiet” as it was fought based on capitalistic versus communist ideologies making international security and defense concepts be revolutionized to become more contemporary and adaptive with the current world (Raunio et al., pg 518) and the situations which arise and cause there to be security concerns for the lack of up to date defense mechanisms.

Therefore to comprehend security, defense, and international politics, examined through the lens of political science, some approaches have been developed so that security can be understood and attained internationally. First, it is examined that security and its measures entail the absence of threats to internationally acquired and developed values. The international and nationalistic values are that there ought not to be any form of militia groups as the state provides the citizens and their property with defense systems, such as the army, Navy, and air force, to ensure that their respective citizens have a sense of security (Raunio et al., pg 524). The international security value is that there ought not to be divergent sects in all respective member states of the United Nations, as experienced in Afghanistan, where the Taliban had gained control and political authority over a region that belongs to a sovereign state. Hence, the objective approach is that the state must be secure so that all internal or external enemies must be deterred based on military capabilities (Raunio et al., pg 527). It is why the American Marines and SEALs were integrated with the defense mechanism of Afghanistan to ensure that the Taliban leader Shah was extradited as he was an enemy of the state. The military capability of the United States of America is compared to be greater than that of Afghanistan in the film Lone Survivor, a reason why an objective approach was used as a defense mechanism to retain the national security of the country as their political orientation was being unbalanced by the Taliban militia group (Terpstra., pg 1145).

Additionally, there is the subjective approach based on politics, specifically the debate of parties or actors within a state having power that may cause the citizens of a specific place to fear because of the imminent threat. In the film Lone Survivor, it is examined that the Taliban have infiltrated security, and they rely on the defense of the militia group rather than the national institution head of security, the sole reason why they are sympathizers and cannot withstand the authority and power of Shah over the Korangal Valley region. It is a reason that highlights that military capabilities are essential as the Afghan region lacks essential military services to defend the villagers against the militia (Raunio et al., pg 524). For a sovereign nation to have political stability, there is the need for defense mechanisms that ensure safety to use legitimate force through military actions with the aid of armament to ensure that all areas under a specific jurisdiction are safe and secure for civilian occupation and economic activity. As examined through the discursive approach, the emergency condition to oppose the threatening development is realized through the United States of America helping Afghanistan with specialized and trained SEALs to extradite the warlord causing political instability in the Korangal Valley. Therefore, the general outlook and perspective of having political stability are having a secure country rather than being defensive, as it will cause cyclic conflict.

As political science is the examination of power and authority from an international, domestic, or comparative perspective, there is the analysis of the issue of defense to achieve security in a manner that there are different political systems in the world. The United States of America follows a political orientation where an overall federation governs all the states in the sovereign country. Subsequently, the presidential system is altered every four years between the political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats (Raunio et al., pg 516). Additionally, it is a sovereign republic guided through a stipulated constitution that oversees the respective federal republics, i.e., the states. Therefore, it is conclusive that the general framework that guides the American political structure is a federal constitutional republic and an independent presidential system that has distinct arms, which comprise the United States Congress, House of Representatives, and the Senate, the Executive headed by the president and the Judicial arm headed by the Supreme Court.

On the contrary, based on the film Lone Survivor, it is examined that the Taliban militia group has weakened the Afghan political structure as their political orientation is based on a totalitarian emirate authority governed by Islamic policies and theocracy, which the Taliban Movement has monopolized the national power. There is no parliament to make legislations, no president to head the country’s Executive, nor a judicial system to ensure that rules and regulations are facilitated and implemented. The policy of the Afghan nation is based on power struggles between the warlords, and the policy-making (Raunio et al., pg 522) is dependent on the internal Taliban policy debates, which are largely individualistic depending on the strong Taliban leader who has wielded the most power on the Afghan territory. As examined through the film Lone Survivor, the Afghan territory is not organized in a manner that there are defense policies and strategies which are effective and efficient in the handling of security threats. To handle such threats, there are defense mechanisms that are politically inclined to ensure that peace and stability are attained through armed and security forces, which are solely intended for warfare, and with the characterization of world politics being largely democratic, they have no political affiliations as it is examined through the Taliban militia which fights on the commands guided by personal interests (Terpstra., pg 1146) for the armed forces are responsible for international public order and enforcement of the international law guided by humanitarian concepts. In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s actions are an act of terror hence the need for a peace mission to ensure human security in conflict areas and are deployed internationally by transport ships or air transport in the case of lighter forces as in the case of Danny, Marcus, Matthew, and Michael who are a four-man SEALs team who are tasked with capturing the Taliban leader; Ahmad Shah, after the MARINE team has been compromised and the Navy cannot be effective as Afghanistan is a land-locked country. Additionally, the Space Force is not adaptable to the mission, and the rocket force, which uses nuclear warfare, would injure both innocent civilians and the Taliban, hence inefficient.

For instance, there is the political consideration that is critical for any sovereign state to have so that the population feels and is indeed safe from both internal and external threats. It is achieved through defense planning and policy-making, which is examined to be prevalent in the United States of America. This country provides Afghanistan with military support to ensure the Taliban leader and his militia group are contained. There is the geopolitical reasoning which makes sure that the United States of America intervenes in places experiencing political instability so that their respective places have reinforced defense mechanisms to ensure safety, especially so that economic and social perspectives are carried out as they may (Raunio et al., pg 521). There is the influence that the Middle East and the larger Asia have on the economy of the United States of America. For instance, in the film Lone Survivor, the Taliban leader, Ahmad Shah, has political influence and control over the Korangal Valley, which is internationally recognized for its logging and lumbering activities, and the Taliban forces carry out other economic activities illegally (Terpstra. pg 1146).

Additionally, with conflict in Afghanistan, the neighboring Iran and Iraq territories are oil suppliers to the international market, and the United States of America is a primary beneficiary. Hence the orientation of international politics is that there must be a geostrategic which must be formulated to ensure that peace is attained through military action in countries that may disrupt international trade, which is controlled politically as the nationalistic leaders that ensure that security is attained. For national security to be attained, the fundamental pillar which is required needs military action so that there is a fight against international terrorism and transnational criminality. Taliban, as a militia group, there is the examination through the film Lone Survivor that the sect propagated international criminality through acts of terror. It is realized that the final survivor amongst the four SEALs team which was sent to retrieve the Taliban leader had to seek asylum in a village which is occupied by the members of the Iranian tribe Pashtun; hence there was the risk of conflict spillover to neighboring countries. The Taliban recognizes itself as the sole authority in Afghanistan as it refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Therefore, the SEALs had to have an effective plan, and it is the sole reason why they did not come blazing their guns as it would alert the Taliban militia and cause a bloodbath from the hail of bullets that the members of the Taliban were ready to use against the military sent by the United States of America. For a nation to attain political stability, there is the need for security to be attained in a manner that the defense is set up with a plan of action that is focused on the end goal, which is to eliminate the Taliban forces by making sure that their leadership structure is disoriented once Ahmed Shah is removed from the area which he is the authority and head of society and controls all political affairs informally. Hence, the need to employ a military capability that has integrated instruments of power to safeguard the security of a nation in a manner that the terror propagated by the Taliban forces (Terpstra., pg 1147) is effectively tackled in a manner that there no challenges which are realized, especially long-term threats. It is the reason why, through the film, there is the integration of all the available mechanisms that ensure that political stability is attained through the MARINES, which had previously been sent, and now the SEAL team, which has one survivor as the Taliban retaliated in a manner that was heavy as they used ammunitions and grenade propellers to ensure that the defense forces attained by Afghanistan from the United States of America are neutralized by all means necessary. It is important to note that for a country to be regarded to be politically inclined towards the right direction, there are fundamental aspects that must be secured through the available and disposable to attain national and subsequent international security hence the defense mechanism will be tailored in a manner that the following aspects are defended. The first is the territory that belongs to the government, has international allies, and has partnered with other nations. Secondly, national interests are realized to be important for security and include aspects that are humanistic and dear to the population, which are either inside or outside of the territory. The social and humanistic concepts which must be safeguarded include the rule of law, which makes everyone equal before the eye of the constitution; there are nationalistic values, the freedom of the people inside and outside the territory, the democracy, which makes the nationals not subjected to dictatorship systems of political governance and the impact of the territory in ensuring that there is international security as the defense mechanism within a political structure must be fashioned in a manner that there is the role and responsibility to ensure the protection of both the people, their properties and their social wellbeing.

Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that there are areas in the international community where spheres of influence have contributed to specific countries being politically unstable. For instance, it is a fact that there are countries in the African and Asian continents that are prone to being in cyclic conflict as they have not established defense mechanisms that can protect their citizens and offer them security. Additionally, it is often the case that there are specific cases, such as the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, that have infiltrated the political structure in a manner that the defense mechanisms (Terpstra., pg 1147 & 1148), such as the army, have been infiltrated over a prolonged period making the country’s political structure weakened in a manner that Taliban leaders assume the role of nationalistic leaders. In such a scenario, there is the need to attain political structure through defense mechanisms characterized by collaboration. It is a fact that there is a need for regional security, and with the aspect of conflict in Afghanistan, which has Islamic and extremist neighbors such as Iran, there is a need to actualize peace through security cooperation. It makes it possible and justifiable for there to be International Security Institutions. For example, in the conflict-prone countries in Africa, there is the African Union, whereas, in Asia, where Afghanistan is situated, there is the Collective Security Treaty Organization which was formulated so that there is regional security and political stability in the countries which were formally associated with the Soviet Union. It is realized that in history, the Soviet Union has assumed political responsibility in Afghanistan. It had sent defense mechanisms to ensure security and control as the Soviet Union assumed total and authoritarian political control, which saw the military take control of the nation in 1979 in its capital Kabul and other parts of the country. For the attainment of international political stability through the establishment of security in Afghanistan, it is examined that for reinforcement of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, headed by Russia, there is the collaboration formulated with the aid of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which has a politico-military faction that has geographical reach to the Asia-Pacific partner so that the transnational crime which has aided Afghanistan’s Taliban with the illegal supply of weapons can be eradicated. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is also oriented as a political and military alliance formed to ensure international security (Raunio et al., pg 516) worldwide when combatant help is needed. The United States of America is a key act in the organization. In the film Lone Survivor, the country is examined to send its armed forces to Afghanistan, as it is a global partner of NATO. The military committee is structured in a manner that there are strategic commands oriented in a manner that there is either the allied command of operations or the allied command of transformation based on the nature of the security threat and defense mechanisms available in the country experiencing political insurgency.


Due to the various perspectives integrated with national and international politics, there is the question of the morph of defense mechanisms in a manner that the scare propagated on a population and their security is handled in a more decentralized manner. Defense planning and policy-making to achieve international peace have raised the question of security privatization, a dominant concept and perspective which has gained prevalence in the contemporary world. There are individuals, companies, and multi-national corporations which have examined there to be a need for security as there are the political orientations that have caused security to be amiss in various countries and spheres of influence where militias such as the Taliban, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have prevailed. The local governments have been left volatile in a manner in which there is a need for security privatization. A security vacuum was realized after the disappearance of the bipolar world, which dominated the Cold War era as the conflict was propagated based on capitalism or communism. With the increase of terror and insurgency, which may lead to political coup de tats (Terpstra., pg 1149), has exposed that the nature of warfare has changed significantly hence the need for revolve if the field of military privatization as there are the logistics and legitimacy and assist the governments at a fee for the privatized military and security sector. Politics, security, and defense inefficiencies have caused private security to protect expensive, dangerous, and crucial nuclear power plants in First World Countries against terror attacks.

Energy is a fundamental resource that needs security so that economic activities may continue through established industries. With international political instability, affordability is polarized because of geopolitical interests and supply disruptions, which cause supply and demand imbalances and increasing prices. Citizens need to feel secure that they can run their economic sectors and afford oil, gas, and electricity. Rebels attack key energy sectors such as solar and wind energy as a combatant strategy, but it decreases self-sufficiency in energy production. It is the sole reason there are mercenaries who attain intensive material compensation for their security services and combat, in which they participate and reclaim a neutral stand to be available for the next contract.

Additionally, international banks such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund need supreme security; other examples include the Bank Reserves of the United States and high-security prisons which hold international and influential warlords, drug traffickers, and other people who are an international threat. Security privatization has also provided a political challenge as defense or armed contracts are attained, as mercenaries act independently, free from state or international control. They may undermine the authority of a government within a territory as it is motivated by private gain and does not act for the benefit of a state. Nonetheless, privatization of security is essential because health, migrations, and inequalities polarize the issue, making security approaches cumbersome, such as the recent cases of Coronavirus, which has had an impact on health. In the case of Afghanistan, health security is amiss because the Taliban’s authoritarianism with COVId-19 needed global commitment and cooperation to improve health procedures for the citizens through the World Health Organization. More so, migration patterns have intensified, especially as people flee from conflict regions and political instability, which threatens national interests, with xenophobic reactions realized in neighboring countries. In matters of environmental security, there is the case of bombings and environmental degradation, which occurs, and the chemicals from warfare affect the Ozone layer negatively. Additionally, there is the illegal logging of trees that the Taliban facilitates in the Korangal Valley, degrading the ecosystem to purchase warfare ammunition to continue with the insurgency, making the region prone to human and national insecurity (Terpstra., pg 1153). Therefore, in the study of governmental operations and international politics, defense is a key sector as with security, economic and social activities will continue and make the entire world progressive.

Work Cited:

Primary Source:

The Coursework materials and modules provided.

Secondary Sources:

Lone Survivor Official Trailer #1 (2013) – Mark Wahlberg Movie HD

Raunio, Tapio, and Wolfgang Wagner. “The party politics of foreign and security policy.” Foreign policy analysis 16.4 (2020): 515-531.

Terpstra, Niels. “Rebel governance, rebel legitimacy, and external intervention: assessing three phases of Taliban rule in Afghanistan.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 31.6 (2020): 1143-1173.


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