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Nixon on Will and preserving freedom:

Today, no one would deny that the USA is the most powerful and defended country in the world. No one in the world dare cast a dirty glance at her. There are things about defense which it would do India good to learn from the US. I would like to quote a few words about defense of a nation, which Richard Nixon wrote. We as Indians might not agree with Nixon on many subjects but we could not question his patriotism and commitment to his nation.

Let us see what Nixon has to say about preserving freedom. It is worth pondering upon.

In his book "The Real War", Nixon wrote: "Nations live or die by the way they respond to the particular challenges they face. Those challenges may be internal or external; they may be faced by a nation alone or in concert with other nations; they may come gradually or suddenly. There is no immutable law of nature that says only the unjust will afflicted, or that the just will prevail. While might certainly does not make right, neither does right by itself make might. The time when a nation most craves ease may be the moment when it can least afford to let down its guard. The moment when it most wishes it could address its domestic needs may be the moment when it most urgently has to confront an external threat. The nation that survives is the one that rises to meet that moment: that has the wisdom to recognize the threat and the will to turn it back, and that does so before it is too late."

"The naÔve notion that we can preserve freedom by exuding goodwill is not only silly, but dangerous. The more adherents it wins, the more it tempts the aggressor."

Nixon went on to write: "There are two aspects to national will. There is will as demonstrated by the nation itself, and there is will as perceived by the nationís adversaries. In averting the ultimate challenge, perceived will can be as important as actual will. Although an American President would launch a nuclear strike only with the most extreme reluctance, the Kremlin leaders must always assume that he might; and that if truly vital interests of the nation or the West required the use of nuclear weapons, that he would do so. If they are to be effectively deterred from the ultimate provocation, they must perceive that such a provocation carries with it the ultimate risk.

"National will involves far more than readiness to use military power, whether nuclear or conventional. It includes a readiness to allocate the resources necessary to maintain that power. It includes a clear view of where the dangers lie, and of what kinds of responses are necessary to meet those dangers. It includes also a basic, crystalline faith that the United States is on the right side in the struggle, and that what we represent in the world is worth defending.

"For will to be effective, it must necessarily include the readiness to sacrifice if necessary Ė to deter those goals that are merely desirable in order to advance those that are essential; to pay the cost of defense; to incur risks; to incur the displeasure of powerful constituencies at home and of raucous voices abroad."

 

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