Jaw-jaw v. War-war

Roland Paris considers the Prime Minister’s comments on soldiers and arguments.

Turning back to Libya, it is true that Gaddafi needed to be confronted, because he had paid little heed to international demands that he stop attacking Libyan citizens. But Harper’s remarks yesterday went further. Indeed, he came close to lampooning the idea of diplomacy itself. Who needs a “mouthful of arguments” if you can land a good punch? It doesn’t take much imagination to hear the snickering behind that quotation.

Nor does it take much imagination to think of alternative quotations Harper could have used in his speech. Here’s one, for example, from a man who certainly knew how to land a punch, and whom the prime minister himself has described as “incomparable”: Winston Churchill.  The incomparable Churchill famously said this: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” That comes from someone who understood the terrible price of war.

See previously: Handful of soldiers v. mouthful of arguments and Soldiers, arguments and revolution

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