After four years of economic decline, a Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, gas lines and 444 days wondering if our hostages would ever come home again Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency and reacquainted the world with a long dormant foreign policy known as, Brinkmanship. The Liberals and Media were convinced we were on the verge of Armageddon. The rise of the Nuclear Freeze Movement was an end result of this hysteria.
Lead by Senator Kennedy who colluded with Soviet counterparts to spread propaganda that Reagan was unstable probably did more to drive our nation closer to a confrontation than anything from the President. In fact if you read The Reagan Diaries you come to realize just how concerned the President was over the state of the decline of American power. He was also keenly aware that anything he proposed would be scrutinized, even ridiculed. But he also knew that to continue on the course of decline would mean a far more dangerous world for everybody, especially generations yet to come.
A prime example of the 'ridicule' would be Reagan's Star Wars Program. I won't get into the laundry list of denigration, we all remember it very well. What is forgotten is how just by proposing such an idea he brought the Soviets to the bargaining table in Iceland. We also, now know, that the offshoot of that R+D is our modern GPS, our laser/satellite guided weapons, modern weather forecasting, cell phone technology and the Internet to name a few. Reagan's use of our armed forces to intercept terrorists, special operations and install the first modernization of long and short range nuclear weapons since the 60's showed NOT mental instability but rather a whole lot of balls. For Brinkmanship requires you push the envelope all the way to the edge and you don't blink.
This scares the crap out of our enemies.
President Donald Trump's use of our military capabilities only drives America to war in the minds of the Liberal Left.
Understanding the use of Brinkmanship, when and where to use it, is best left to the adults in the room, leaders like General Mattis. The missile strike in Syria did nothing to bring us closer to a confrontation with Russia. We did not hit any Russian equipment, troops or bunkers. The MOAB strike does NOT signal an escalation in our use of weaponry. I will even go out on a limb and propose that even if we strike a North Korean military target the Chinese will not respond.
You must ask yourself two quintessential questions before you laugh at what I have written. What CAN the Russians or the Chinese do? The onerous becomes their own. What targets can they hit that would be seen as 'measured' or 'proportional'? NONE!
It would require they hit us directly. Either they fire upon our deployed soldiers directly, our carriers directly, an airfield in a NATO country or (worse) one of our cities. At that point in time it would become their fault for starting WWIII. What Russian or Chinese leader is crazy enough to do such a thing?
This is what Brinkmanship does. It literally scares the crap out of our adversaries that they back off. That we as a nation are resolute in our resolve to protect our allies, protect ourselves and push the issue right to the edge of that precipice. Once there we look our adversaries in the eye and say; "..your move.."
There are a few other factors that must be addressed. Our international trade and interdependency on each other virtually secures there will not be a confrontation between the superpowers. We are not dealing with Kruschev's Soviet Union or Mao's China anymore. What we ARE dealing with is the last few hold outs of lunatic fringe dictators whose clock is ticking. Assad is in no position to act upon us militarily. If he does he is toast.. Even Putin understands that. Little Kim may spaz out and begin pushing buttons, but then again all that would mean is he is toast as well. China would understand that they failed in their efforts to reign in this madman and would have little leverage to argue (or counter) a massive US retaliation.
The Clinton Administration gave North Korea billions in aid if they curtailed their nuclear program. Officials smiled, signed documents, cashed the check and kept on building weapons. In a stunning display of history repeating itself The Obama Administration gave billions in aid to Iran if they curtail their nuclear program. Officials smiled, signed documents, cashed the check and kept right on building weapons.
This is not Brinkmanship. This is insanity. History is replete with insanity being the precursor to war far more often.
Brinkmanship not only prevents wars but, as history has shown us, has even ended them.