Moments before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, worst-sheriff-ever Johnny Behan told the Earps that he had disarmed a gang of lawbreakers. After the bloody gunfight, it turned out that Behan had simply asked the outlaws if they were armed and then taken them at their word.
For the Behans of the world, the path of least resistance is a seductive policing philosophy. You get to claim a victory and look tough while avoiding any sort of uncomfortable conflict. It’s a win-win outlook if you care more about optics than real security, and — unfortunately — it’s also been the cornerstone of the past eight years of American foreign policy.