Deterrence - Deterrence reduces costs




Secretary of State John Foster Dulles's comments on massive retaliation were published in the Department of State Bulletin on 25 January 1954:

"In the face of this strategy [of Soviet expansion], measures cannot be judged adequate merely because they ward off an immediate danger. It is essential to do this, but it is also essential to do so without exhausting ourselves.

"When the Eisenhower administration applied this test, we felt that some transformations were needed.

"It is not sound military strategy permanently to commit U.S. land forces to Asia to a degree that leaves us no strategic reserves.

"It is not sound economics, or good foreign policy, to support permanently other countries; for in the long run, that creates as much ill will as good will.

"Also, it is not sound to become permanently committed to military expenditures so vast that they lead to 'practical bankruptcy.' …

"We need allies and collective security. Our purpose is to make these relations more effective, less costly. This can be done by placing more reliance on deterrent power and less dependence on local defensive power.

"This is accepted practice so far as local communities are concerned. We keep locks on our doors, but we do not have an armed guard in every home. We rely principally on a community security system so well equipped to punish any who break in and steal that, in fact, would-be aggressors are generally deterred. That is the modern way of getting maximum protection at a bearable cost.

"What the Eisenhower administration seeks is a similar international security system. We want, for ourselves and the other free nations, a maximum deterrent at bearable cost….

"The way to deter aggression is for the free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing."

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