Foreign Policy recently ran an article titled “There’s No Such Thing As Peacetime.” The article makes some quite salient points, the most notable in the title itself.
There has been a great deal of political discussion over the threat of ‘perpetual war’, as though there has ever really been a time when the U.S. (or any military power) has not had troops in danger, if not active combat. War is a constant. It’s peace, real peace, that’s a rarity. It would be best to consider it not ‘peace’, but ‘a pause between combats.’
Part of the issue of this fear of perpetual war is political; it serves as a means to point out how the political opposition is terrible, because they’re going to “suck us into perpetual war.” The larger part of it, however, is societal. It is indicative of a problem we’ve had in American society for decades now: We want permanent solutions.
The doves want to end war, usually by way of some vague notions of diplomacy and a background of, “What if they had a war and nobody came?” “We’ll end the wars!” makes a great campaign slogan, but it hasn’t happened, and it isn’t going to happen, for the simple reason that quitting doesn’t address the goals and agendas of the enemy. For a war to ‘end’, both sides have to agree that it’s over.