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Old June 25 2013, 08:57 PM   #47
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
Edit EYZ wrote:
When faced with opponents who could care less about killing you, pacifism is suicidal.
The thing is this is easily enough to maintain when there's a guy waving a gun around in a hospital, less so when involved with nations. Richard Nixon, criminal mastermind and founder of the EPA/friend to Native Americans (showing the complexity of the world in one person), approached the FAR more radical Chinese Communists than the Soviets. As a result, the nation most seemingly likely to go crazy on the world became our closest trading partner.

Irregardless of your opinion of China's morality then (or now), it was a victory without firing a shot.

In many situations, it's the only non-suicidal answer.
"Yes Minister" talked about this a bit as its usually more complex than "us or them." In the Grand Design, they talk about the chief problem of nuclear war being no one actually knows what the hell would trigger someone deciding to drop a nuclear bomb. Invasion of West Berlin? What if it's actually a military coup from within West Berlin? What if it's a rogue commander? Ect ect ect.
Nixon and China, or the cold war.
I find your perspective interesting. It is the perpective of the super-power, which has the means to protect itself or at least to deliver a devastating retaliation.
And, indeed, in these cases, all that is required for some form of negotiation to take place, as opposed to violence, is for the opponent to be unwilling to take the substantial risk of being conquered/annihilated (sometimes during history, even this was not the case).

But this is not the perspective of most who fought - or fight - for their life, or freedom, or right to pursue happiness. They didn't - and don't - have the options power gives one. And their oppressors don't have to weigh in a balance a highly increased existential risk if continuing their actions.

Of course, I'm an author too and I had a really good inspiration that I'm going to have to put in a book someday that peace is a lot harder to do and requires a lot more toughness than war because you need to have rock solid self-control as well as a willingness to work around things you might consider grave injustices.
Well, if humans were angels, peace would be easy.
It was discussed how, after WW1, the victors purposefully humiliated, tried to punish the defeated.
Were they jerks?
I think one could only judge them when one's son dies fighting in the war, when one's family was victimised.
Mostly, they were human - there was nothing moustache-twisting about their actions; their desire for revenge - "justice" - is easily understandable.

It is about choosing the method that won't end with your opponents having a good laugh and then killing you and all participants to the non-violent demonstration, in the process also terminating your movement and its goals.
That's the thing, though, if your enemy wants to annihilate you and you can't beat him--another option needs to be found because Plan B actually sucks just as much as Plan A. History is filled with courageous self-sacrificing souls who stood up to Genghis Khan because they feared annihilation--and were annihilated because they stood up to him.

Galling as it was, surrender actually won the day there.
I think there are several issues in play here:
Is naked survival the only goal? The ones who surrendered were not treated nicely by any measure of the imagination.

The ones who resisted assumed they had a chance of victory. It was a gamble they lost; but, if won, it would mean freedom and relative quality of life over de facto slavery.

Was there a third option? Resist - a high risk, but potentially high-reward enterprise. Or surrender - and face the consequences: you, your family and your descendants. I see no third choice; no super-power to come up with the resources that create such options.
"Let truth and falsehood grapple ... Truth is strong" - John Milton
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