Shouldn't Peace be the Priority?

Peace. Many spend their lives pursuing it, but it never lasts. Each new generation must fight its way to a free and prosperous lifestyle. When one threat is put down, the next is already rising.


Peace, however, is not the ultimate priority. For example, in the name of "peace" the free nations of the world could have opted-out of fighting against Hitler in World War II. Each nation could have surrendered before a shot was fired. But would "peace" be worth having if it was under the iron fist of such an evil dictator?


Peace is more than the absence of conflict.


Some nations bow to the demands of conquerors (a practice called "appeasement") but rather than resulting in peace, appeasement has always proven to result in death, tyranny, and even larger-scale wars. Compromising with evil leaders emboldens them to do more evil, not less.


Strange as it is to say, the only way to experience peace is to occasionally go to war (or to be so powerful that no enemy would bother attacking).


Those who insist that "peace" is a solution in itself need to learn the lessons of history. Peace has never been an effective weapon against the onslaughts of aggressors. Only those nations that are willing to fight for their right to be free enjoy a peaceful existence.


Any national commitment to non-action is really an invitation for every despot, dictator or tyrant to steal, kill, or destroy as he pleases.


The "peace only" movement is based upon a very unbiblical premise: that mankind is basically good at heart. It assumes that if we could just talk over things reasonably we could all come to an understanding, sign a treaty, and go home. The Bible speaks differently:


"As it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."


(Romans 3:10-17 NIV)


By nature, people do not live in peace with one another. Conflict is inevitable. Treaties and coalitions may assist us in keeping threats to a minimum, but in the long run, the only way to achieve peace is through strength of arms and strength of character.


Education may help. Economic ties may help. Acts of goodwill may help. But only a strong policy of military strength, a core of solid moral values, and courage to lead in the face of opposition can preserve lasting, meaningful, free peace in the world.


World War I was without a doubt one of the bloodiest and most brutal conflicts ever fought, with millions dead, thousands wounded, countless acres and towns destroyed, poisons deployed, and much more. The carnage was far beyond any one man's comprehension. Interestingly, the intellectuals of Europe were publishing books and articles promising that no major war could ever happen again (due to the economic interconnectedness of major powers) right up until the first shots were fired. They had made the mistake of assuming that people would act in ways that made sense -- that people are basically good and reasonable.


"Not so" is the verdict of history.


So, should peace be a priority?


Absolutely! But not at any price. I would rather fight for liberty than bow peacefully in the face of evil. Peace is a by-product of freedom and justice, not an end in itself.


All of us long for a peaceful life where we can raise our families in safety with the ability to pursue happiness in any way we choose. But this freedom--this peace--can only be won by constant vigilance. We must wage a never-ending battle against evil, whether it be against the evil in our own hearts or that of a dictator on the other side of the world.


Those who want peace for tomorrow may be called to fight for it today.


Strategies for Peace


1. Personal courage and love. Peace between nations begins with peace in our homes and in our own hearts. Moral character defined by integrity, honesty, and faithfulness is the first step toward a life and world of peace (Ephesians 4:25-32).


2. A free republic-style government, where the people can choose their own leaders, and where those leaders are accountable to law. The most peaceful and prosperous nations of the world are those ruled by free people under law.

3. A super-powerful military sticking up for liberty.
Someone has to maintain the power to confront evil as it rises, or even before it rises. Without an "arsenal of democracy," there would be nothing to stop power-grabs and oppression across the world. Peace doesn't have to come through war, but it must come through strength and the ability to decisively win any and all wars.


Of course, these strategies aren't fool-proof. People won't always do things that make sense. Some people are evil, and will sacrifice their own lives to hurt others. But, in the end, the three points presented here are the only historically and morally viable solutions for a world in conflict. These represent the clearest and most realistic pathway toward peace.


Discussion/Thought Questions:


1. When Nazi Germany rose to power and began gobbling up surrounding nations through military invasions, then persecuting vast numbers of people in horrific ways, would there have been any non-military solution for the world to achieve peace and freedom? Thinking back in history, who and what led to the defeat of Germany and the liberation of Europe?


2. When the Soviet empire began mass-producing nuclear weapons with first-strike capability against the United States, what policies were put in place to prevent this "first strike" by the Russians? Did they work? Why?


3. On 9/11/01, terrorists attacked American cities out of what can only be described as reckless hate, religious fanaticism, and political anger. In what ways did America respond to this attack? Was the response effective in preventing further attacks, and if you say yes, why?


4. What prevents nations that disagree with the United States from attacking it? What does the U.S. have that "preserves" its peace?

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