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Deterrence vs. Appeasement (WT)

Leading up to the onset of World War II, western democracies like Britain and France viewed a policy of appeasement toward Germany as the path of wisdom and restraint. It seemed prudent to make concessions to aggressors if it meant avoiding a bloody war. When Nazi Germany rearmed the Rhineland, annexed Austria, and seized an area of Czechoslovakia the British and French response came in the form of paper: the Munich Agreement, which conceded these territories to Germany under the condition they make no land grabs. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared to a cheering crowd that the agreement meant “peace for our time.”

Concessions often bring about peace in the short term, defusing tensions for a while…but the aggressor’s initial demands are not forgotten and, in fact, they are often bolstered by newfound doubts about their enemies’ resolve. As such, a greater conflict ensues. This was the case in 1939 when Germany broke the still-new Munich Agreement and invaded Poland, starting World War II.

The lesson of deterrence is one which is hard-learned time and time again. In this one-hour program, Victor Davis Hanson’s insights guide our investigation of the United States’ successful deterrence of enemy aggression in the past and the efforts to sustain it in an era of rogue nations and nuclear proliferation.

Freedom - If You Can Keep It (WT)

After four months of secret debates in Independence Hall, the Framers of the Constitution emerged before an expectant crowd. A woman asked Benjamin Franklin what form of government they had devised. “A republic,” he replied. “If you can keep it.”

Today, presidents of both parties bypass Congress to write laws and make war. Congress cedes its power to bureaucrats that no one elected. The courts fail to check the other branches. And we the people? Nearly two-thirds of college students—the people who should know better—believe freedom of speech should be curtailed. How did we get here?

The three-part series Freedom – If You Can Keep It arrives just in time. Looking at freedom through the lens of the Constitution, this groundbreaking series explores how we put freedom in writing in the summer of 1787; how we spread freedom over the centuries to all of “we the people”; and how we risk freedom today by ignoring the words of the Framers.

Our guide is the distinguished appellate court jurist Douglas Ginsburg—once a nominee to the Supreme Court, and a preeminent expert on the Constitution. Throughout the series, experts of all stripes—conservative, liberal, libertarian—will debate key issues of liberty: religion, civil rights, separation of powers, and more. And we the people will speak our minds.

Filming will take viewers across the country and around the world—from the boulevards of Paris to the cobblestones of Williamsburg to the sidewalks of New York. Places where we can illustrate freedom in a fresh light, with fresh stories.

By the end, viewers will grasp the battles to invent freedom, expand freedom, and safeguard freedom. And they’ll understand that our republic will last only as long as we can keep it.

The Cost of Freedom (WT)

Following the Vietnam War, the draft was ended and U.S. defense expenditures declined. Consequently, Warsaw Pact forces outnumbered NATO forces three to one in Europe—destabilizing deterrence in the region. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown therefore sought to “offset” the numerical advantages held by U.S. adversaries. The result was a long and expensive R&D initiative which emphasized satellite positioning and communication, precision-guided weapons, and a new field of research: stealth. The systems which emerged were never used against Soviet forces but were directly responsible for the ease with which Iraqi Forces were defeated in the Gulf War and, while expensive to develop, came to define the way America’s military operates today.

The United States has maintained the most powerful military in the world in order to effectively project power around the world, protect American interests, and serve as an effective deterrent to adversaries—but at what cost? With an annual military budget of about $640 billion dollars the U.S. spends more on its military than the next 15 most powerful militaries combined. This one-hour documentary examines the questions, in light of a mounting U.S. budget deficit, of how much power is necessary and what does America, and the world, get for the money spent?