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The deterrent effect works on the belief on the part of the opponent that a retaliation will be forthcoming. Despite how much we don’t want to retaliate, our people and theirs will be safest if we pretend that we always will.

A friend of mine posted the following meme on Facebook: my fingers hovered over the keyboard then I thought ‘No’ and realized that it would not be a good idea to offer my friend a mini-dissertation on a 4-second internet meme. So here’s what I would have written.