War Is Always the Last Resort

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“War is always the last resort,” we hear this a lot; it is a constant refrain. Instinctively we all agree; no one wants a war. But what does it really mean, “War is always the last resort.” The emotional appeal of this statement often masks its almost nonsensical obviousness. What makes going to war the last thing you do is that it is almost always definitive. If what you are looking for is a definitive answer, war should be the first resort; not that we are advocating this policy. It is like the statement, “Whatever you are looking for, it is always found in the last place you look.” Well of course, Duh, you stop looking when you find it. It is the definitive nature of finding the object which makes the place you found it the last place you looked. Once you have found the object, why would you continue looking for it?

So it is with war. The victor will determine the resolution of the dispute. Those who say, “War is always the last resort” are usually willing to cede their point in order to avoid going to war to make their point. People who say, “All options are on the table,” we must assume “war” is included in all, are taken far more seriously because they have stated their willingness to do whatever it takes.

In a negotiation, a person who says, “War is always the last resort,” has weakened his own position because, no matter what has already been done, you can always think of something, however improbable, that has not been done. The list of things which can be tried is infinite and war is at the end of this list. War has effectively been taken off the table. In a negotiation, you will be lucky to get your negotiating partner to even listen to you because you have given up all your leverage.

In a negotiation, a person who says, “All options are on the table,” has strengthened his position. He has brought a sense of urgency to the negotiations. You will get your negotiating partners attention and perhaps even his respect for taking this position. In this scenario, negotiations are far more likely to yield a definitive, measurable result.

War is the last resort; but not because you are going to try everything on the infinite list first. War is the last resort because when you do resort to it, it will be definitive. Metaphorically, we are told, “War is just another arrow in your quiver.” But to remove it is to remove all the arrows. The only thing you will be left with is the quiver. ~ Terrell AronSpeer

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Terrell AronSpeer ~ Born in 1947 under an assumed name. I moved to Texas at age 3 and brought my entire family with me. I majored in economics at the University of Houston. My entire corporate career was spent in high tech engineering starting as an apprentice and ending my career as director of Customer Service for a multinational rapid prototyping corporation which I took from a garage shop through its IPO in under two years. My first involvement in politics was in 1952 working in the Eisenhower campaign. Since then I have worked in every Presidential race to date and in most off year elections as well. Except for a brief flirtation with the Libertarian Party in its formative years, I have always worked in Republican politics. I was asked to speak at the first Tea Party event from the court house steps here in Quitman. It was my first public speaking experience. I looked at the Tea Party movement as fresh troops to help restore Republican values to a broken Republican Party. In retirement I have become a writer, mostly humor and political commentary. Currently I am writing three books. One is near completion; a short piece of political satire. One is a three volume political tome detailing the history of the political parties, economic and monetary policy, and the application of conservative principles to current political issues. The other is the hopefully humorous story of my journey through cancer. I also edit, the “Sentinel”, the Lake Country Republican Club’s newsletter. The local Master Gardeners association took first in state for their newsletter which I edited. In addition I was honored to be the assistant editor to Michael Kinzie with his landmark newsletter “Tea Party 911.” Once again I am honored to be invited back as a guest blogger.