Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling described the tens of thousands dead in the Korean War as “undoubtedly worth it” because the United States needed to defend its reputation for resolve.[1] In 2013, President Barack Obama implicitly disagreed with Schelling, when he refused to carry out military operations based on his ‘red line,’ after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. Of all the hot-button debates about the use of military force, few arouse such recurring, intractable debates as whether, and when, it is worth fighting for reputation.

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