What does this quote mean? I didn't think it made much sense, since diplomacy exists and no country is unbeatable.

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    Douglas MacArthur was more of loudmouth than a general. Consequently lot of things he said sound catchy but don't have much sense :D – rs.29 May 4 at 19:48

"I didn't think it made much sense, since diplomacy exists" - But, GIVEN war, defeat or stalemate are not as good as winning.

"...and no country is unbeatable" - Obviously, but I don't know how this could support your confusion over the quote.

  • I though he was saying that the US could only win (after all, there is nothing but victory). Thank you, though, it makes much more sense now. – The New Kid and his DeLorean May 4 at 17:00

Douglas MacArthur is one of the most notorious Military leaders in modern warfare possibly only seconded by Patton himself. He said this in a speech in 1951 during the height of the Red Scare.

But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.

War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.

In war there is no substitute for victory.

There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history's clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. It points to no single instance where this end has justified that means, where appeasement has led to more than a sham peace. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only other alternative.

The quote is meant to solicit a response from elected leaders to do something about, what was then seen as a threat to the free world. In current time it could be likened to terrorism or Islamophobia. The point of the speech in which the quote is found almost echoes something similar in recent history. He was advocating that war was already upon us (USA) and we just didn't know it and the only way to win that war that was thrust on us is to do what he had done in WWII meet the opponent head on, with everything we had.

Now, hindsight being what it is. We know that the "imminent threat" he perceived has not come to fruition. While China is known for harassment of western nations and for state sponsored cyber attacks, and currency manipulation the war Douglas saw being thrust on the free world was never seen (or just hasn't happened yet). If a war were to break out between the US and it's allies MacArthur would be proven right, appeasement but only begets new and bloodier war.

  • Odd that you think that 1951 was just "during the height of the Red Scare" and that there was no imminent threat. Why, the Korean War was raging at the time, with the People's Republic of China the power behind North Korea! – Meir May 5 at 15:23
  • @Meir McCarthyism lasted from 1947-1959. In 1953 you had the trial of the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. As for the "imminent threat" we did have the war raging, but that was to contain the perceived threat of communism. The same as it is today, we like to think that this is history but it still plays out and the threat today isn't imminent but it is present. – EvanM May 5 at 17:11
  • First of all, McCarthyism didn't last "until 1959"; McCarthy was censured in 1954 and died in '57. Next, the war was initiated by North Korea invading the South, something you again conveniently leave out (and instead pretend as though it was initiated by the US). – Meir May 5 at 19:07
  • @Meir I used McCarthyism interchangeably with Red Scare (rightly or wrongly, to me they are interchangeable). It finally ended in 1959 when the Supreme Court ruled on the matters of limiting anti-communist speech. So officially, it ended in 1959. – EvanM May 6 at 2:03
  • @Meir I am not pretending that the US initiated anything, I just pose the question of "imminent threat" to the US and make a suggestion that with the vantage of hindsight it wasn't a real threat. You're putting words in that aren't there. I make no judgement on the past merely observe what I can and try and understand it in the the context it was occurring in with providing a correlation to today's issues for understanding. – EvanM May 6 at 13:20

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