Monday, May 26, 2008

How's that for appeasement?

While news of Bush's alleged jab at Obama over "appeasement" seems to be simmering down, I thought to finally open up my college dictionary. What it tells me is that appeasement means "the policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace."

The fuss a week ago was that Obama has announced that he would openly engage Iran at the negotiating table. As disastrous as I believe an Obama presidency would be, this actually concerns me the least. Obama wishing to talk to Ahmadinejad, the mullahs, or anyone else for that matter is really pretty small potatoes. As my dictionary tells me, talking to a potential adversary is not the same thing as making an actual peace offering.

The argument that always comes up is that the Allies appeased Hitler at Munich in 1938 by handing the Sudetenland, a German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia, over to Hitler and that is the main reason that World War II erupted. In short, it was not merely talking to Nazi Germany. As long as would-be President Obama doesn't hand over a Shiite province of Iraq over to Iran, he would not be appeasing. As Pat Buchanan cleverly put it, Bush has once again made a hash of history (for anyone without a dictionary "hash" in this context means "mess").

All of the noise made about appeasement is just that. In fact, all this noise testifies to the so-called resolve of this administration regarding national security. Proof: we're already talking to North Korea who probably already has a genuine nuclear weapon. So why is talking to Iran appeasement when talking to North Korea isn't?

While it took me some time to finally question the wisdom of the Bush administration's foreign policy (late 2004/early 2005), I have been even more reluctant to consider conspiracy theories. No, I don't believe the U.S. government was complicit in any way with 9/11 but I do believe this administration has been duplicitious and selective in who they perceive as our enemies. It has been an arrogant foreign policy with no regard for history or responsibility. Bush came in with a humble foreign policy (no nation building) but he's leaving with the most arrogant one that spits in the face of our Founders.

So, we are led to believe that talking is appeasement and reckless while bull-headedness and aggression is reasonable and prudent. One important historical note: we coexisted with a heavily-nuclear armed Soviet Union but the possibility of an Iran with a single weapon is unacceptable. So, we are told, pre-emptive war is the answer.

Preventive war is committing suicide out of fear of death, as Bismarck said.

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