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If you want peace, prepare for war

June 1, 2018

In its 2018 Summary of the National Defense Strategy of the United States, the Defense Department offers the following ‘bullet’ point: “Prioritize preparedness for war — Achieving peace through strength requires the Joint Force to deter conflict through preparedness for war.”

This idea can be traced at least back to the classical Roman adage “Si vis pacem, para bellum” — If you want peace, prepare for war. While too aggressive for many of us, common sense does tell us that in a Hobbesian world of ‘all against all’, survival requires a defense adequate to the threats. Most of us can agree — If you want peace, prepare an adequate defense.

The great problem with the US military strategy is that we don’t live in a Hobbesian world; we live rather in a post World War II regime of US hegemony in which nuclear weapons make it an absurdity to think any war could be won. The US seems intent on constructing a world that doesn’t exist and its strategy therefore is exactly wrong: if you want peace, prepare for peace. And US power is so great, it’s reasonable to think it could indeed move the world toward real peace via a process of verifiable global disarmament.

To those who will assert this is utopian nonsense, I’d respond by simply asking why our government isn’t even trying. Where’s the proposal? Lacking one and facing instead the blunt preparedness for war, the only reasonable conclusion is that our government’s true goal isn’t peace. What then is it?

Here’s three adages that I think sum it up.

If you want to rule the world, prepare for war.

If you want to distract your population from the harsh truths of an unjust system, prepare for war.

If you want to maintain employment without promoting domestic collectivism, prepare for war.

The US state is violently acting against the interests of the American people and humanity. It’s far past time Americans reject the warfare state and demand its government present good faith proposals for peace.

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  1. David Harold Chester permalink

    The only way of getting some peace in this non-arabized part of the muddle east is to hit at Hamas and the Jihard will all that you have got!!!

    • The answer is clear. Israel needs to cease its barbaric actions and return to its 1967 borders.

  2. David Harold Chester permalink

    When the Arabs had a chance for peace (between 1948 and 1967) under these previous conditions they chose to make the 1967 war and their attitude has not changed. These boarders will not satisfy them and consequently our country needs to defend itself, however barbarically.

    Incidentally if you consider the ratio of civilians killed to soldiers and terrorists killed here and compare this ratio with what is going on in other war and terror zones, including Syria and some of the other US ones, you will find that Israel is the least barbaric country when it comes to these battles. War is hell, so the solution is to make it as less so as possible, because regrettably it cannot be made without hurting some innocents. Israeli soldiers have died because and when they do their best to not kill civilians–check the records before you make false claims!

    • David Harold Chester permalink

      Forgot to add how Hamas use their civilians as shields against returning fire!

      • I don’t want to enter into a debate on the history of this struggle. I find historian Norman Finklestein’s works extremely illuminating and his research runs diametrically against the narrative you espouse. Israel is now the dominant power in this struggle and it’s incumbent on it to offer a good faith proposal for peace. That has to mean the end of serrlements, the withdrawal to its 1967 borders, and the freeing of the people in Gaza. The US should cease supporting Israeli governments until such proposals are made.

  3. David Harold Chester permalink

    The Israeli government under Natanyahu has continuously said that it is open to meeting with the Palestinians for peace talks, but that the latter have always refused to join in. Preconditions of any kind including those proposed by Jim are unacceptable, both sides need to start off on the same footing, but the Palestinians will not even agree that there is a State of Israel, so what would you do?

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