We are not a warlike people. Quite the opposite. We always seek to live in peace. We resort to force infrequently and with great reluctance–and only after we have determined that it is absolutely necessary. We are awed–and rightly so–by the forces of destruction at loose in the world in this nuclear era. But neither can we be naive or foolish. Four time in my lifetime America has gone to war, bleeding the lives of its young men into the sands of beachheads, the fields of Europe, and the jungles and rice paddies of Asia. We know only to well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted. We simply cannot learn these lessons the hard way again without risking our destruction.

– Ronald Reagan July 17, 1980

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