International crises should not be treated as a poker game, waiting for one side to blink.
Well defined red lines are essential to enable a pause in the escalation of a crisis to determine if war is avoidable or inevitable, e.g. the invasion of Poland was the red line that Germany crossed in 1939.
The Cold War was a very long poker game. Replace " weapons of mass destruction " with "red lines" ,and you have written the sequel for Rise of the Jingos: Iraq Pt II -- maybe we could get Sylvester Stallone to play the part of John McCain.
The Cold War was no poker game, the nuclear red line was drawn by both sides and neither side stepped over it.
A classic example of how red lines should be employed in order to avoid war.
Nuclear weapons were never used because they simply are not practical weapons just as the Germans did not use poison gas in WW II. Had the Russians not stepped back from their red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis my theory would have been tested.
The Domino Theory is yet another example of how inflexible dogma can lead to war. We should have passed on both Korea and Vietnam, given the inconclusive results of the Korean War and the fact that nationalism has proven to be stronger than communist ideology , as evidenced by the Vietnam/China war in 1979 .
Fly, I disagree with your assessment of Korea and Vietnam. The Truman Doctrine was good policy. It showed our resolve to resist communism. To have 'passed" on those wars would have been a mistake.
theflyonthewall, nuclear weapons were considered practical enough in 1945 when they brought WWII to an end – and, what?? the Germans did not use poison gas in WWII?? Maybe you did not hear of Auschwitz.. Treblinka.. Sobibor.. Buchenwald..... ??
And during the “Cuban Missile Crisis” the only thing that prevented the unleashing of MAD was the red line drawn by the US. (By the way the Russians did not “step back” from “their” red line but chose not to cross the one drawn by Kennedy - a demonstration of how the red line principle works when backed up by a strong President).
Everyone knows about the atrocities committed by the NAZI's. I was not referring to that , and you know it. I was referring to the use of poison gas as a weapon of war.
Kennedy was quite reckless and overreacted in order to appear strong after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. We came within a hairs breath of a very hot war over something that was best left to diplomats -- withdrawing nuclear weapons from Turkey which was done anyway after all of the saber rattling histrionics.
WW II was the last war In which nuclear weapons made any sense at all. The impracticality of the tactical use nuclear weapons has also occurred to Pentagon planners and that is why weapons such as Atomic Annie ( nuclear cannon ) and the even more absurd Davy Crockett ( nuclear tipped 75 mm recoilless rifle) were shelved long ago.
And ,of course, there is always the element of irrationality frequently fueled by red lines or other intellectual straight jackets. Thank God that we have had enough sense to put aside the proscribed thinking that is a part of the red line metaphor and have been able to avoid a nuclear exchange.
Fly here are two words that I feel are very important to why we were held off in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam etc.. "Limited Warfare"
The only thing that motivates these two countries action in the middle east is power or "oil" it has nothing to do with diplomacy. The communist agenda consumes the very innocent of it own people. If they treat there own people as slaves and machines then who are they to be diplomatic? There diplomacy is nothing more than a looming threat. Only emotionaly moved by force unlike the USA who are emotionaly moved by Oprah.