The most fundamental paradox is that, if we're never to use force, we must be prepared to use it and to use it successfully. We Americans don't want war, and we don't start fights. We don't maintain a strong military force to conquer or coerce others. The purpose of our military is simple and straightforward: We want to prevent war by deterring others from the aggression that causes war. If our efforts are successful, we will have peace and never be forced into battle. There will never be a need to fire a single shot. That's the paradox of deterrence.
Ronald Reagan "Armed Forces Day," radio address to the nation, The White House