"Yet men who followed that code -- the men of the Tokugawa Shogunate -- created and sustained the longest period of of peace that any nation has ever known: A period generally reckoned to stretch from 1600 until 1868. So while Europe was tearing itself apart, fanatical militarists gave Japan unrivalled peace."
I found this short lil essay by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) to be a thumbnail sketch of the West's clash of left-right political philosophies concerning the importance of military preparedness.
And later on: The Tokugawa Shogunate.