Friday, May 16, 2008

No Appeasement

I got into a furious debate last night with someone who couldn't stop talking about how Barack Obama will destroy America. I was bearing his tirade patiently until he got to talking about how wrong the left-wing media was to jump on President Bush's righteous suggestion that those who advocate holding diplomatic talks with heads of nations we won't currently talk to, such as Iran and North Korea, are promoting appeasement.

Bush's comparison is inapt. The appeasement of Hitler by western powers -- to which Bush specifically compared suggestions that we talk to Iran or North Korea -- didn't consist of talking to Hitler; it consisted of giving him the Sudetenland and acquiescing in his other conquests. There's a big difference between holding diplomatic talks and giving in to territorial demands.

Diplomatic talks don't have to be weak. They can be tough too. We talked to the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. That didn't mean we appeased it.

I'm not expert enough to say whether holding talks with Iran or North Korea would work better than the current strategy -- although the current strategy does seem like a disaster. But I do know that calling anyone who disagrees with you an appeaser is cheap claptrap.


10 lbs of awesome in a 5 lb bag said...

Chris Matthews agrees with you on the exact same point. Check out this YouTube clip, in which he skewers right wing talk show host Kevin James:

Closet Republican said...

You make a good point: mere talk is not appeasement. But Obama's comparison to our talks with the Soviet Union and China is also inapt. The Soviet Union and China possessed/possess great strength. We have in interest is negotiating with out equals.

In the case of Iran, or a terrorist group, merely speaking the particular leader furthers his interest. It brings that leader/ideology legitimacy. Even Hillary called Obama naive when he said in a debate that he would hold talks with Iran without preconditions.

Liberals seems to be fixated on Bush's use of the term appeasement, but the important issue, the one that McCain focused on during his bus interview, is whether "talks" with Iran is sound policy. This is a legitimate question. Instead of trying to make McCain seem like Bush junior, it would be nice if he would just discuss issue.