Jaw Jaw

Winston Churchill famously said that it was better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War, War.” Most of us would agree; but what to do with someone who refuses to discuss the issue? How do you negotiate with someone who is psychotic and bent on using the military to settle disputes? How do you reason with someone like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un? You do your best, but when your best fails you need to be ready to fight. And that is where many Western nations hit a wall, Canada included. We do not subscribe to war as a favoured option to dispute resolution and that is good; but the other side of the coin is that you need to spend the resources necessary to make the military option a credible one. That is where Canada drops the ball.

Our tiny military works hard to be professional but lack of strong leadership, sound strategy and effective equipment cannot be overcome by more hard work or inspiring slogans. Teddy Roosevelt had many failings but his foreign policy concept of “speak softly and carry a big stick” has much to recommend it. It would seem that too many of our leaders in the West today believe that we should “speak softly and carry no stick.”

4 thoughts on “Jaw Jaw

  1. Even psychopaths can discern strength and intent. The best way to avoid conflict is to signal clearly one’s capability and willingness to use force. Deterrance arises from a clear, common understanding of respective capabilities and will.

    Our capability is insufficient; and our will is not apparent. For the moment, we are protected by geography – our isolation and proximity to one powerful, and relatively friendly neighbour. One might question whether our reliance on geography was ever wise, but that shelter is eroding sharply. Latitude and longditude will not save us in a world where the air and space are contested, let alone in a cyber world where our neighbours and rivals are everywhere and everyone.

    Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.

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  2. It’s grimly funny that the years we spent studying why various tribal chieftains and religious hysterics felt able to challenge us appear to be wasted. If, as we learned from a certain Saudi, people naturally love the strong horse, it also logically follows that predators are fond of weak horses.

    Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam.

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