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Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war). – Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Epitoma rei militaris 4th Century AD
The United States has been at peace for the last 70-odd years. Yes, it has been involved in foreign conflicts since the end of World War II from the Korea War through the ill-named War on Terror. Yet during that time actual US soil has not been touched by war, except possibly by the terrorism of 9-11. The last year there was a real existential threat to US soil was in 1942, including a brief occupation of minor bits of what later became Alaska.
Through the first fifty years of that peace, the US was prepared for war, with the most powerful military in the world. Even prior to our entry into World War II we were preparing for war, with the largest peacetime buildup of the military in US history. We simply maintained that force after the war.
It worked, too. Despite domestic fears of a nuclear holocaust during that period, the very strength of the US arsenal kept our foes at bay. They did not wish to take the risk associated with attacking the US. Ultimately our biggest strategic foe, the Soviet Union collapsed under the economic weight imposed by challenging the US. It is gone.
Yet over the last 20 years we are not so prepared for war, despite the War on Terror. The US military has lost focus on its main objective: maintaining a powerful war-winning deterrent. Instead it is focused on environmental initiatives and identity politics. Where once the only color in the US Army was green, today it differentiates between different shades of black and brown, and gender, gender identity and gender fluidity, too. We have neglected the industrial base that supports our military. Even as our weapons grow more powerful those wielding them grow less ready.
Vis pacem, para bellum is one of the most famous Roman sayings. Most assume it dates to the expansionary period of Roman history, the late Republic or early Empire. It does not. It was first written down at the sunset of the Western Roman Empire in the Fourth Century. It was intended as a warning. The Romans disregarded that warning. Will we?Published in