Victor Davis Hanson | Sep 23, 2021
Deterrence is the ancient ability to scare somebody off from hurting you, your friends or your interests -- without a major war. Desire peace? Then be prepared for war. Or so the Romans believed. It's
an easily understood concept in the abstract. But deterrence still
remains a mystical quality in the concrete since it is only acquired
with difficulty and yet easily forfeited. The tired democracies of the 1930s learned that lesson when they kept acquiescing to Hitler's serial aggressions..........Deterrence is omnipresent and also applies
well beyond matters of war and peace. The current crime wave of murder
and violent assault in our major cities is the wage of loud efforts to
defund the police and contextualize crimes as somehow society's rather
than the criminal's fault.
As a result, lawbreakers now believe there is a good chance that robbing people or hurting or killing them might result in monetary gain or at least bloody satisfaction. They no longer fear a likely sentence of 30 years in prison. So, they see little risk in hurting people. And innocents suffer.
With a border wall, an end to catch and release, and tough jawboning of the Mexican and Central American governments, a new American deterrent stance in 2019-20 discouraged once unstoppable waves of migrants.
Northern bound migrants knew that even if they reached and crossed the border, there was a good chance all such effort would be for naught, given quick apprehension and deportation.
So, in their rational calculations, migrants waited at home for less deterrent times. And they found them when Joe Biden stopped construction on the wall, renewed catch and release, and eased pressures on Mexico to interrupt caravans headed northward.
Abroad, Donald Trump restored the strategic deterrence lost by his predecessor.
loudly announced redlines in Syria while never intending to enforce
them. He gave the Taliban back their incarcerated terrorist leaders in
exchange for the return of the American deserter Bowe Bergdahl. And he
sent the Iranians nocturnal cash to coax them to conclude an appeasing
Iran deal. Aggression followed as U.S. deterrence eroded.
As an antidote to all that, Trump destroyed the ISIS "caliphate." He obliterated an attack of Russian mercenaries in Syria. He took out terrorist masterminds like Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and the ISIS cutthroat Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi............In sum, deterrence at home and abroad is now dangerously lost. And it will be even scarier trying to recover what was so rashly and foolishly thrown away...........To Read More.....