Peace and Victory

A co-worker forwarded me an email and pointed out the sig line that the sender uses:

“The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I agree 100% that peace is best. Peace like that in Germany and Japan.

Here’s another Emerson peace quote:

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Now, I don’t know the context of either of these quotes, but I do know that you can only bring peace to yourself, while others can bring death and destruction to you any time they want to. Regardless of your personal desire for peaceful bliss. Six and a half billion people could all agree to never fire a shot in anger again, and stick to it 100%, and the remaining few thousands would enslave us.

The armistice that ended World War One meant peace. For a while. Because German nationalism and totalitarianism hadn’t been defeated, and because the terms of the peace were harsh, its adherents came to power and started it all up again. Naval treaties limited the sizes of navies between all the world’s powers in the 1920s and 1930s. Agreements and treaties were signed with Hitler. No one went to war when Germany and Japan first began taking things from others, because everyone else chose peace. Non-aggression pacts were signed with the USSR, by both the Nazis and others. Many deals, official and otherwise, were cut with Saddam and bin Laden over the years.

The war in Vietnam was given up by us. A million killed or enslaved AFTER WE LEFT. No wars in Rwanda, Cambodia, or Chile. Isn’t that peace nice? Millions upon millions dead because no one stopped the bad guys.

Black people in America, if they thought about it for a moment, would probably admit that sometimes war can bring about long-term good. (For an Abraham Lincoln quote similar to this Emerson quote, check out this post.)

Victory brings peace, not the other way around. Nine times out of ten, anyway. That’s what so many anti-war folks miss, I think. They want everyone to just get along. So do I. But six thousand years of human history indicates it’s not likely to happen any time soon. I don’t think anyone wants war (besides military suppliers, anyway) but the alternatives are often worse.

This isn’t to say that America should fight every war, and it isn’t to say that every conflict needs to be resolved through war. But war shouldn’t be off the table when national interests are involved. You can bet our enemies won’t take it off the table. To secure peace, however achieved, you must prepare for war. And fight, if need be.

Peace? Absolutely.

Peace through victory.