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Alternatives to ‘peace through strength’


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Foundation for Defense of Democracies

None are preferable to robust deterrence

Clifford D. May

Mar. 29 2023

A policy of “peace through strength” means doing what is necessary to instill fear in our enemies, to convince them that we have both the capability and the will to cause them serious harm. If that deters them, armed conflicts are avoided. If not, “peace through strength” also means we have the power to decisively defeat them.

If that’s not our policy, if our enemies think we are eager to placate and appease, incapable of using force effectively or reluctant to do so, they’ll conclude we are weak. And, for tyrants, weakness is blood in the water.

What brings these thoughts to mind: Over the weekend, Tehran-backed militias attacked a U.S. military outpost in Syria killing one American contractor and wounding another, as well as wounding five U.S. service members.

This was not an isolated incident. U.S. troops in the region have come under attack from Tehran-backed groups 78 times since the beginning of 2021, according to Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla who, as head of Central Command, oversees American troops in the Middle East.


Mr. Xi told Mr. Putin that “the world was going through changes unseen in a century – language pointing to the brighter future he said he hopes to usher in.”

Not brighter for Americans, I’d wager, nor for those around the world who value freedom. Unless you think I’m vastly exaggerating, you’ll agree that rebuilding America’s military and economic strength to deter our enemies should be Washington’s top priority.

For now, it is not.

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