To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.
– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, January 4, 1788.
To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
– George Washington, First Annual Message, January 8, 1790.
You likely live a charmed life. Westerners haven’t even had to worry about the threat of Soviet invasion or nuclear attack in twenty years. Even before then things were pretty content. The occasional skirmish in Granada wasn’t anything to worry about, if anything it reaffirmed your feelings of safety, knowing that we could take the fight to whomever we felt necessary and that they lacked that ability.
Yes the postwar period was/is indeed a fine existence for westerners. There’s just one problem with it.
Nobody told the rest of the world. Outside the worlds modern-western nations nobody else has the impression that the world is at peace.
There were some significant moments. Korea was the first effort of the United Nations, and we know how thats turned out. Vietnam was the only other significant western war. Sorry Brits but the Falklands wasn’t too much of a challenge for you. And of course there was the cold war.
Looking at the rest of the world however is a different story. Government overthrows abound in Latin America and Africa while many Asian countries aren’t without their squabbles as well. Struggles and battles in the rest of the world have been of both the inter- and intra- variety. There is no shortage to conflict in the rest of the world.
Considering that, hasn’t it been a bit naive for the enlightened peace loving western leaders to throw down their weapons so they can more safely hug each other. Naturally there’s no need to arm your nation against a nation that is also not arming itself but what about the ones that are?