U.S. military weakness will provoke enemies to be aggressive because they do not have to fear U.S. retaliation if they misbehave. Meanwhile, our friends (and those we consider to be “neutral” too), are unable to believe in our ability to protect them.
It is a fact that weakness — even apparent weakness—“provokes” hostile and fanatical elements to advance step by step, further and further because they do not fear harsh retaliation from a (perceived) “paper tiger.”
Gaining the reputation that the only surviving superpower would rely in crisis essentially on “diplomacy” would deprive the U.S. of the capacity to deter aggressive/fanatical elements in the international scene at an early stage. The belief in “diplomacy”, without the implicit or explicit threat of being backed by strong military forces and the will to use them, is an illusion. It was precisely that illusion which guided Neville Chamberlain in his Munich deal with the German dictator. It was the first step on the road toward WWII.
“Brilliant fools” never understood the devastating effect of “provocative weakness” on a totalitarian dictatorship like the USSR.
Just as in the 1930s “brilliant fools” didn’t understand that their policy of softness and relenting—the politics of appeasement—substantially contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The power-dictator Adolf Hitler perceived softness as “provocative weakness.” It made him demand more and more, it let him break the Versailles Treaty without sanctions, and ultimately led him to march into Poland because he believed that England was too weak to make good on its guarantees.
The principal misconception in the thinking of most politicians was to believe that in dealing with a dictatorship, friendliness and yielding would produce the same in the opposite side. In fact, in dictatorships—as is the case with sharks—it causes the opposite effect: their appetite increases and so does the danger of being devoured.
This basic problem will persist in the future. The West will never avoid the test of will.
It is intrinsic to the history of peoples for thousands of years. It has always been difficult for the fat, bourgeois West.
Brilliant fools and know-it-alls advocate “provocative weakness”, the fool’s gold of world politics.
See more in www.worldsecuritynetwork.com/fritzkraemer