There are some fights you can't win. Even if you had all the fire power you needed (however you define fire power in your particular fight), if you used it, you'd destroy something too precious to you to make it worth it. So even though you might have every right to fight, you don't fight. Even though you really need what you might win in a fight, you don't fight. If you're angry and feel threatened, you master yourself and you don't fight.
This is a very hard lesson. But most people have to figure out how to learn it. Most nations have to figure it out, too. There are some fights in which no amount of force will get you what you want, need, or have a right to. You have to get those things in a slow, roundabout way. Sometimes the other party has to come to exactly the same conclusion.
It is usually perfectly obvious to bystanders when someone has started to destroy themselves in their quest to get what they need. It is rarely as obvious to the involved parties. And because the calculus of when, exactly the use of power becomes detrimental to the powerful is a very personal calculus, only the involved parties can actually know where the line is.
It's hard to watch.