published Monday, June 16th, 2014

Smith: Peace through strength

The phrase used by President Ronald Reagan, "peace through strength," was eloquently recalled last week by Dr. Kiron Skinner in a Forbes' online article.

Appreciate these words: "In Reagan's era, 'peace through strength' meant undertaking a massive peacetime military buildup and doing so with bipartisan support. It also meant conveying to the adversary that this military buildup and America's restored faith in itself represented, not preparation for war, but rather a policy of credible deterrence that would facilitate bilateral talks."

Skinner, a founding director of Carnegie Mellon University's Center for International Relations and Politics and a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, went on to clarify the foreign policy approach. Reagan, he wrote, "emphasized that strength was not the goal but was instead part of a strategy to achieve world peace: 'Our strength is necessary to deter war and to facilitate negotiated solutions.'"

After reading Dr. Skinner's writing, I watched a seemingly entertaining, yet void of meaning, YouTube video a few days later. The online video, "Dances with Deer," featured a pit bull dog inside a wrought iron fence with pillars of stone stacked about 5 feet high anchoring the corners of the enclosed area.

Outside that fence, peering in at the barking dog was a deer. For about two minutes, the deer runs from one pillar to the next alongside the barking pit bull. The deer appears to playfully hide behind the pillars as if to taunt the dog, whose instincts were on full display in its constant pursuit of the prancing animal.

The only thing preventing the panting, barking dog from harming the deer was the fence.

As I watched, Dr. Skinner's article came to mind.

Through a light-hearted video, I had just witnessed the value of security -- a swift-of-foot creature enjoying its liberty without fear.

The American way of life -- the right to own property, travel, work, spend, etc. -- is at its best when our freedoms are guarded and protected. The physical presence of security, whether through a vigilant military or our men and women in local law enforcement, fosters freedom and encourages the coexistence of individuals respecting each other's inalienable rights.

Without this committed approach to securing our freedom, we are at the mercy of terrorists and hostile countries that would destroy the nation that we claim to love and protect.

Ronald Reagan, who spent his early years as a Democrat, addressed Americans in his Feb. 26, 1986, speech regarding his "highest duty as president: to preserve peace and defend these United States."

The unifying Republican observed, "We know that peace is the condition under which mankind was meant to flourish. Yet peace does not exist of its own will. It depends on us, on our courage to build it and guard it and pass it on to future generations."

Peace is a result of, not the passive absence of conflict, but the strategic and collaborative acts that cultivate and facilitate "credible deterrence" and "solutions," as noted by Dr. Skinner.

America is in danger. Elections determine policies on terrorism, border security and keeping our military strong.

The monster of political interests has knocked down the pillars that have traditionally held strong the fence of national security.

Yet, peace through strength still works.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm and serves on Tennessee's Economic Council on Women.

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inquiringmind said...

Kiron Skinner - a Hoover think tank Reaganite and Romney - auntie Tom apologist. Please Robin, at least identify your sources, not relying misleading us with her university affiliation to give her credibility.

Exactly what are you saying? "Credible deterrence" and "solutions" are euphemisms for a bigger and better military industrial complex. I would think you might wish to spell it out in plain terms unless you are trying to fool someone. Didn't you learn in Sunday School that those who live by the sword die by the sword?

Exactly where is "American in danger," can you elucidate specifics for us?? What is endangered is the Red way of life, American will go on for a while I expect. I think the big monster knocking down the pillars, is the tea party knocking down the pillars of your Red party about which minority the country has little to fear or worry about. They are a "self-limiting" process because they kill and eat each other.

I think Ike identified the problem better than Ronnie. Ike saw where the corporate military culture and eager military brass wanting bigger guns was leading America, into more wars and a grossly exaggerated percentage of our Federal Budget. Too bad Bush the Younger did not learn something from that great Republican President. As it was it took Jimmy Carter to put the pedal to the metal and bring the USSR to its knees by accelerating spending on selective strategic military programs (and letting the fact slip to the USSR about what we were doing), almost killing our economy to spend the USSR into the ground. Not a good way to prove your thesis Robin. We are still paying the price for that one.

June 16, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.

"America is in danger. Elections determine policies on terrorism, border security and keeping our military strong."

As long as America is guided by neo-cons, religious fundamentalists, imperialists, military/defence corporate interventionists, and plunder-as-usual politicians, the country is in danger.

On a local level of "security" there's greater chance your business partner will kill or seriously injure someone while DUI than a jihadist walking down Market Street. When will you speak out against 4,5, 6-time repeat DUI offenders as a greater threat to the citizens of Hamilton County than a democrat in local politics?

June 16, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.
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