National Security

Restoring Deterrence to Have Peace

Like it or not, the U.S. exerts great influence in the world — one way or the other.

Harold Hutchison · Oct. 8, 2019

The world is not a nice place. It seems odd to have to say this, but in today’s upside-down world such a statement is necessary. In an ideal world, disputes would be based upon high moral values and resolved through nonviolent negotiations that lead to a compromise all sides can live with. In an ideal world, nobody would think of trying to use force to resolve a dispute.

In that ideal world, the People’s Republic of China would be swayed by a simple reminder that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, and that cracking down on peaceful demonstrators or forcibly returning Taiwan to the fold is wrong. In an ideal world, senior leaders of Iran would not be voicing a desire to wipe Israel off the map.

As you are well aware, we are not in an ideal world. We’re nowhere close to one. So, why isn’t China trying to force Taiwan under the rule of the butchers of Beijing? The answer is very simple: If they were to try, they know that the United States Navy has the capability to sweep the People’s Liberation Army Navy from the seas. China would be at the mercy of the United States as a result. That is something that the Chinese are rational enough to want to avoid.

As The Patriot Post team has pointed out during coverage of the U.S. Navy’s issues, navies take a lot of time to build — or rebuild. Could China’s leaders survive such a setback, especially given the situation in Hong Kong? They’re not going to want to take that chance.

In essence, American strength deters hostile action. The same dynamic largely works with Iran. Yes, it shot down a MQ-4C Triton UAV, but its direct acts of aggression and belligerence haven’t caused any American fatalities. Well, no recent fatalities is the more honest way to put it — America still owes Iran for that theocratic regime’s provision of IED components to Iraqi insurgents. But the reason Iran hasn’t moved much beyond talk is that the mullahs know full well that America is willing to deliver a major butt-kicking if they push things too far.

So, from these two examples, we should understand that deterrence, in order to work correctly, has two components. First, there is the ability to deliver a devastating blow, and second, the willingness to deliver said blow should a country cross certain lines. If either of these is missing, then deterrence will inevitably fail.

Prior to President Donald Trump taking office, Barack Obama had reduced America’s deterrence capabilities in both ways. His defense cuts severely limited America’s ability to bring the pain, and he also was singularly unwilling to deal with Iran in the decisive manner needed. In short, BO gave the message that America could be a global doormat.

The fact is, if America is to avoid war, it never hurts to have a strong military in all facets. But it is also equally important to ensure that when a foreign country does something along the lines of firing missiles at a Navy destroyer, then we are able and willing to make them pay. Otherwise, we may very well find ourselves again in an armed conflict in the Middle East. Or elsewhere.

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