That statement was brought back to the forefront of our consciousness by Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s but has been used for centuries according to the annals of history. It is believed that it was spoken by Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 1st century. Hadrian is reportedly to have said, “Peace through strength, or failing that peace through threat.” Others have used it through recorded history.
The idea of ‘peace through strength’ was a principle I learned in elementary school and discovered that to avoid being bullied or intimidated you had to demonstrate a show of force or strength. If you were successful the bullying and intimidation ceased to exist and you had peace. In the military this was once again brought to immediate awareness in boot camp where a group of guys from New York thinking they could intimidate the rest of us and bully their way into getting what they wanted had to be confronted. A few guys from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas joined me in meeting this challenge head on and although there was a little physical altercation the peace immediately ensued after their leader was knocked unconscious. We did not want to fight but we were not going to be bullied so STRENGTH allowed us to negotiate or demand PEACE. I have seen this principle many times in life and while it is not always about physical strength it is STRENGTH. You NEVER attempt to negotiate from a position of weakness if you expect to achieve anything lasting and worthwhile.
As I reflect back on some of the most recent presidential administrations I find that most of them were able to present the idea that American Strength would be a force to be reckoned with if there were hostilities or aggression and for the most part it was effective. That changed somewhat with 9/11 but we still stood as a threat to the aggressors around the globe and people ‘feared’ the American military might and our resolve to use it. That was not the case under Jimmy Carter as was demonstrated in the Iranian Crisis and the hostages. That changed with the election of Ronald Reagan and it is my conviction that the Iranian government fully believed that President Reagan would use force if necessary and backed down. Peace was maintained during the Cold War because of STRENGTH not because of weakness, lack of resolve, and mealy mouthed rhetoric.
If you attempt to negotiate from weakness you had better be one exceptional negotiator or you will lose every time. Today we have the double edged sword of the perceived weakness of the current occupant of the White House and a belief by most of the world that we are incapable of doing what needs to be done militarily. That view is shared by some of our commanding leaders in the military and the Pentagon. Our military has been systematically decimated and diminished to the point that we may not be able to handle a single front conflict and most assuredly would be severely strained and stretched to go to two fronts. We are no longer considered STRONG by those who would do us harm. They view the mealy mouthed rhetoric of this administration as a sign of weakness and have watched as we in America the dismantling of our military machine. Both are indicators of the seriousness of our situation and the danger around the globe for America. Barack Obama, John Kerry, the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Justice, and Hillary Clinton all have demonstrated disdain for our military and thereby reduced us to ‘talk’ with no ‘walk’ to back it up. That is not saying our military could not it is saying those in power WILL NOT.
America is no longer ‘feared’ but we are still ‘hated’. When you have people in the highest positions of power who do not believe that America or any nation has any moral authority to stand for right and resist tyranny, terrorism, and despotism you have a situation where only bad things can ensue. Mr. Putin in Russia, North Korea, China, and the Islamic States have no fear or respect for the American president and do not believe we as a people have the resolve nor does our military powers still rise to the level of being a direct and imminent threat should they act, thus you see aggression like never before. It will not get better UNLESS and UNTIL we reverse course and restore the STRENGTH that will bring PEACE for our people. Again let me reiterate I believe in our military but not our leaders. I believe in the American military might but not the political leaders in Washington and the so-called leaders in DC negate the might of our military because they will not allow our forces to do what they are trained and capable of doing! That is the disastrous and dangerous part!
God bless you and God bless America!