March 2, 2018 Print

Johan Norberg visits the Korean Demilitarized Zone to learn how the North and South have maintained peace despite constant threats and nuclear testing in The Price of Peace: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg. Photo Credit: Kip Perry. Photo design from press kit.

The Price of Peace: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg, a new documentary produced by Free to Choose Media, a project of Atlas Network partner Free to Choose Network, is set to release to public television stations around the United States on March 23, 2018. The one-hour documentary explores the costs and advantages of deterrence as a strategy to promote peace, by examining societies and historical examples from around the world.

Hosted by Johan Norberg, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of several books exploring classical liberal ideas, The Price of Peace features several in-depth interviews such as one with Major General Brian Bishop of the United States Air Force, witness to the 1976 Korea Tree Incident. In the incident in question, an American officer attempting to trim a tree in the demilitarized zone was attacked by North Korean soldiers, which prompted the U.S. to respond with massive show of force, deploying thousands of troops and B-52 nuclear bombers to cover as men cut down the tree in question.

Trailer for The Price of Peace, a new documentary produced by Free to Choose Media.

“Foreign policy is a difficult subject for most liberty-minded individuals,” said Robert Chatfield, president and CEO of Free to Choose Network. “Every strict non-interventionist benefits from having the United States Navy protect shipping lanes that allow for international trade. Every pacifist gains when we avoid war but is at a practical loss to explain how humanity is better off where dictatorships have been allowed to flourish.”

Also featured in the documentary is a detailed interview with the son of Soviet Red Army officer Stanislav Petrov, who in 1983 received a false alarm that American missiles had been launched. Petrov’s skepticism of the nature of the alarm led to his refusal to launch retaliatory missiles, likely avoiding a third, nuclear world war.

"Right now the discussion about security policy is lost somewhere between the neoconservatives who wanted to re-arrange the world militarily and the drawbridge/do nothing reaction to its failures," said Norberg. "This is an attempt to re-interpret our need for a strong defence to protect our freedoms. Because we need it to stand up to foreign aggression. An appeaser, in Winston Churchill’s memorable phrase, is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Other topics of exploration featured in the documentary include a focus on the Maasai people of East Africa and their deterrence-based warrior culture, an examination of the 1982 Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina, and an analysis of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s failed appeasement strategy following the annexation of Austria and the lead up to the Second World War, in which Great Britain and France allowed an unopposed takeover of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland region by Germany.

The Price of Peace examines the balance between intervention and deterrence which has been central to American and NATO foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War. Despite the fall of the Soviet Union and the increased democratization of the world, nuclear weapons are still prolific among regional superpowers. Relatively recent events, such as the Argentine invasion of the Falklands due to a perceived lack of defense and the Russian annexation of Crimea following the denuclearization of Ukraine, show the value of deterrence as a tool to promote peace, even into the 21st century.

“We’ve created an overwhelming military force to deter war in America,” continued Chatfield. “This creates a double-edge sword; the U.S. is a global super power that other countries turn to for protection. When does their battle turn into ours, such as the case of North Korea?”

The Price of Peace premieres on March 23rd, 2018, and plays throughout the following month on public television. A preview can be seen here.

Free to Choose Media is an Atlas Network partner that focuses on producing engaging and educational media to promote classical liberal ideas.