Although Great Power politics may be necessarily tragic, there are other strategies available.
For instance, I am privileged to be living in a state which hasn't had any great power ambitions for about half a millenium, and hence can play different cards.
Forgoing offensive military capability allows us to have shelters sufficient for the population. According to MAD, states which have declared nuclear first strike capability can't even attempt to protect a significant percentage of their populations without creating a very risky imbalance of power.
Also, a certain amount of our security was dependent upon not being the most powerful state in our neighborhood. This is less true today, but for many of these previous five centuries, all of our powerful neighbors were better off to have us independent than in the hands of their enemies.
Finally, the lack of offensive power, posture, and history makes it much easier to defuse, rather than aggravate, situations. We accidentally invaded a less powerful neighbor a few years ago, but instead of it becoming a problem, our foreign minister apologized, their foreign minister said "no worries, it's not like you came in with tanks, or for that matter, even loaded rifles", and everyone at the press conference had a glass of wine and hors d'oeuvres and maybe another glass or two...
States which have been known to invade other states often enjoy short term success (there are some notable exceptions who have managed to sustain expansion over centuries) but the historical long run teaches that, although it may seem difficult to ride a tiger, dismounting securely is even trickier.