But that is because peace is a paradox. To have peace, you must be prepared for war. You may speak softly, but you must carry a big stick. And like happiness, the worst possible way to go about finding peace, is by going out and looking for it. Because to pursue peace is to deliver a signal of weakness that all but invites war. Peace is produced not through goodwill, those with whom goodwill is easy to achieve are not likely targets for war, but through deterrence. War is deterred the same way that crime is deterred, through vigilance and strength.
To let go of that strength and relax your vigilance brings not peace, but instability and eventually war. This understanding of human affairs is reflexively rejected by those who assume that "we" are the real problem. That "we" are the reason why there is war. "We" are the reason why the enemy does not trust us. "We" are what stands in the way peace, love and understanding with the whole world. And if the peace initiatives fail, clearly "we" are the ones to blame and must try harder to break through and reach an understanding. And if "we" are lucky, we may wake up from this form of madness before the tanks of the people we worked so hard to achieve peace with roll into Poland.
Because there is nothing quite so pathetic as the leaders of a free nation crawling before tyrants and thugs in search of peace, beating their own breasts and offering more and more concessions in trade for false promises and falser hope.
Consider Israel's outreach program of shipping their films to film festivals, which is ironic when you consider that the average Israeli film is just as Anti-Israeli, as the average American movie is Anti-American. Israeli consulates are still flogging The Band's Visit. The Band's Visit is one of those charming movies that every liberalized country makes sooner or later, and in the words of film critic Roger Ebert showcases a vision of; "Arabs and Israelis, that shows them both as only ordinary people with ordinary hopes, lives and disappointments. It has also shown us two souls with rare beauty".
The Band's Visit was meant to promote Jewish-Arab and Israeli-Egyptian co-existence. The movie however was banned in Egypt, where any actual talk of co-existence with Israel is virtually a criminal offense. Which made it all the more absurd for the movie to depict an Egyptian band visiting Israel, when Egyptian writers, musicians and filmmakers are effectively barred from visiting Israel at risk of being expelled from their respective guilds. The few who have like playwright Ali Salem who faced ostracism, expulsion from the Union of Egyptian Writers and police interrogations for merely visiting Israel, have paid a high price for promoting "normalization" with Israel.
That is the "peace" that exists between Israel and Egypt, 30 years after Camp Sinai. That is the only peace that will ever exist between Israel and Egypt, for the simple reason that it is a peace based on three wars in which Israel demonstrated that it would not allow itself to be conquered by Egypt. That is of course the only way to stop a war, to demonstrate that it will not succeed.
Had England and France backed down Nazi Germany in the Rhineland, there likely would have been no WW2. Had the United States put its soldiers where its boycott was in Asia, there would have been no Pearl Harbor. Had the Allied troops in Russia intervened more directly against the Bolsheviks, there would have been no Cold War. And the list goes on and on. There are far more modern cases where a raised fist would have stopped a devastating war, then when a handshake or a hug would have done the same thing. And some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century could have been prevented not by diplomacy, but by preventing the diplomacy itself which more often than not has accommodated conquest and genocide.
But naturally the people who made The Band's Visit and their cultural ilk have learned absolutely nothing from their actual experience in Egypt, or understood belatedly that their enemies are not interested in seeing them as fellow human beings with ordinary hopes, lives and disappointments. To paraphrase Cassius, they insist that the fault lies not in their enemies, but in themselves. Or in those intolerant people around them who insist that their country must be vigilant and strong, instead of a pushover for the sort of people who burn books when they cannot burn the writers themselves.
To quest for peace is as pointless as questing for constant summer or constant day. To so is to ignore the natural balance of human affairs, and to bring on war anyway... only a war on increasingly unfavorable terms. For though men may cry peace, peace-- but there is no peace. Only preemptive surrender.