Diplomacy without military power is like music without instruments

An article in the Deccan Chronicle caught my eye. It makes an important point: We need to empower our warriors with the right tools and strength if we expect them to expand their reach in our protection.

It makes a quote which pretty much summarizes our current state:

Diplomacy without military power is like music without instruments.

~ Prussian king Fredrick the Great

Our main problem is a cultivated powerlessness. A hangover from days of Satyagraha, where the pretense is that non-aggression or inaction is non-violence. Inaction over security IS violence. While the deliberate neglect of the Armed Forces brought us soft power by adding credibility to our claims of non violence, it has brought us friends the way the helpful girl-next-door gets appreciated. No one really takes her seriously, and she isn’t the one people think of for a date.

It is important to remember that the non-violence that we are kind of basing our identity on, didn’t only succeed out of shaming the adversary, but from the show of numbers and the capacity of non-cooperation to paralyze the government enough to be a real threat. Without that, it was just another bunch of people protesting.

Non-violence is our origins as a country. While it doesn’t mean that it is out of fashion, it is a seriously concerning thing to realize that in over six decades, we still use the original crutch as our identity in the world without fulfilling what it would take for non-violent protection to be effective either.

Today, we have a lot of soft power that emerges from our non-threatening stance. However, it won’t be long before it renders the soft power meaningless too, if we continue like this.

After all, like horse trainers say – the horse of good temperament isn’t the one who is half dead and thus doesn’t over react or harm, but the one who is in the prime of health and responds well anyway. Not because he can’t hurt, but because he doesn’t need to.

In other words, without comparable military power projection, exploring in Vietnam is like a deer choosing to graze outside a lion’s den. It can, and the lion may not attack at once, but it definitely isn’t because the deer is capable of taking care of itself.

However, enough of my thoughts, do read the article, it is full of important things to consider from a strategic perspective

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About the Author

Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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