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Appeasement.

 
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 05:49 pm
For years and years, conservatives have told us that talking to repressive regimes is tantamount to appeasement. And we're not talking some kind of everyday appeasement here. Nope. It's good, old fashioned Nazi/Adolf Hitler style appeasement here. Like, what Mr. Chamberlain did. Holocaust-enabling. That kind of thing.

Need a reminder? Okay.

Here's an excerpt from President Bush's speech in front of the Knesset, from May 15, 2008:

Quote:
They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis.

And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.



McSame, Republican Candidate and Maverick, completely agrees, of course:

Quote:
Senator John McCain, who has been critical of President Bush on the environment and other policies this week, on Thursday morning wholeheartedly endorsed Mr. Bush's veiled rebuke in the Israeli Knesset of Senator Barack Obama that talking to "terrorists and radicals'' was no different than appeasing Hitler and the Nazis.

"Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,'' Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. "I believe that it's not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn't sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.''



Okay. Got it. No sitting down with with religious extremists in Iran. It would just make you the next Neville Chamberlain.


And, of course, the same goes for Mr. Obama, who would actually be willing to talk to "the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea in order to bridge the gap that divides" those countries from America.

How dare he!? Can we at least call him Barack Chamberlain now?


Well, here's how McCain sees it:

Quote:
"I think that Barack Obama needs to explain why he wants to sit down and talk with a man who is the head of a government that is a state sponsor of terrorism, that is responsible for the killing of brave young Americans, that wants to wipe Israel off the map, who denies the Holocaust. That's what I think Senator Obama ought to explain to the American people.''


Nevermind the fact that Obama did give an explanation whenever he answered that question.


So.

What's new? Well, maybe the news that the Bush administration now has decided to send the third highest ranking diplomat to sit down and talk with representatives of Iran. About Iran's nuclear program. In the highest-ranking meeting between America and "the terrorists and radicals" in three decades:

Quote:
The United States announced Wednesday a senior US diplomat would attend international nuclear talks with Iran, in the highest-ranking meeting between the two foes in three decades.

In a major policy shift, the White House and State Department said Under Secretary of State William Burns would attend the Saturday talks with Iran on a "one-time" mission to underline US conditions for ending the atomic stalemate.

In Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran was ready for negotiations over the nuclear crisis but warned it would not step over any "red lines" in the search for a deal.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Burns would go to Geneva "to listen" to Tehran's reply to a new incentives offer for freezing uranium enrichment -- a program the West fears conceals a drive for nuclear weapons.


Funny, eh?

So, how do we call that now? Uhm. According to Rice's spokesman Sean McCormack, it's a "new tactic". A "signal" to the "reasonables" in Iran. Which includes an incentives package, offering benefits in nuclear energy, trade, finance, agriculture and high technology - if Tehran halts uranium enrichment.

Anything else? Yeah.

Quote:
Former State Department official Suzanne Maloney told AFP that the US diplomatic move marks "a departure" from earlier Bush policy "because it effectively endorses the idea of talks without preconditions."
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 05:57 pm
i am sure a "talking head" will be able to explain this to your total satisfaction , such as : " one has to be flexible ... different times require new ideas ... and so on " .
i'm sure you fully appreciate the new approach being taken . :wink:
hbg
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 06:23 pm
Hah! Well, yes, I do appreciate the new approach.

But I'd also love to hear an explanation why the Bush administration thinks that talking with "terrorists and radicals" is all of a sudden such a splendid idea, when it was 1939 style appeasement merely 2 months ago.


And, by the way, in spite of Bush's speech to the Knesset, Israel apparently didn't get the memo that Talking To Them Is Holocaust Enabling either...



Ha'aretz

Quote:
The prisoner-body exchange between Israel and Hezbollah should be seen in its wider context. After several years of boycotts and isolation, this summer saw the walls of dialogue breached. Israel renewed its contacts with Syria, agreed on a cease-fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, exchanged prisoners with Hezbollah and offered to negotiate with Lebanon over the fate of the Shaba Farms - and all this as negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over a final-status agreement continued apace.

The U.S. administration has joined the nuclear negotiations that the European Union is conducting with Iran and made it clear that it opposes any Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

What on earth is going on here? Are George W. Bush and Ehud Olmert, in the days and weeks before the end of their terms of office, trying to do anything they can to record some sort of political accomplishment, to avoid being remembered as leaders who led their countries into failed wars? Or have they simply recognized the limitations of force and been left with no choice but to talk to the "axis of evil" without the enemy first altering its behavior? Iran is still enriching uranium, Hezbollah and Hamas are stockpiling missiles, Syria is giving its support to them all - and, suddenly, everyone is a legitimate partner for negotiations.

American officials mock their Israeli counterparts any time they recite long-winded monologues about "the struggle between moderates and extremists" in the Middle East. How does this struggle exist in the same universe as Israel's agreement to talk to Hamas and Hezbollah? the Americans ask. But their excuses for changing American policy vis-a-vis Iran sound exactly like Olmert's excuses for agreeing to a cease-fire with Hamas and a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. The Americans and the Israelis insist that it is not dialogue, that the tough policy remains intact and that they do not believe the other side.

...


Interesting article. Also noteworthy, bit further down:

Quote:
The U.S. administration told the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem in advance that it was sending a senior diplomat to talks with Iran, but only did so hours before the news was due to be published anyway. There were no consultation and no coordination. Yesterday, a senior State Department official visited Jerusalem carrying messages that were designed to placate Israel over the planned meeting with the Iranians. If it is a success, the next stage could be the opening of an American representative office in Tehran, with the goal of being able to "talk to the Iranian people."
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 06:57 pm
old europe wrote:


But I'd also love to hear an explanation why the Bush administration thinks that talking with "terrorists and radicals" is all of a sudden such a splendid idea, when it was 1939 style appeasement merely 2 months ago.




Let us assume there is an explanation. Let us also assume you would not be privy to it.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:03 pm
Foofie wrote:
Let us assume there is an explanation. Let us also assume you would not be privy to it.


No worries, Foof.

Unlike with the former policy of attacking and invading countries in order to make sure that they wouldn't, potentially, become a threat at some point in the future, I'm perfectly happy with the policy of using a diplomatic approach in order to settle differences - with or without an explanation from the Bush administration.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:18 pm
foofie wrote :

Quote:
Let us assume there is an explanation. Let us also assume you would not be privy to it.


this seems like a major policy shift to me . i would think that the administration would welcome the opportunity to let the citizens know the reason for such change - should be good public relations imo .
hbg

(i spoke too quickly ... right wingers surely would NOT be in favour of this kind of "appeasemant" .)
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:26 pm
old europe wrote:


I'm perfectly happy with the policy of using a diplomatic approach in order to settle differences - with or without an explanation from the Bush administration.


Your largesse is quite admirable, in my humble opinion.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:27 pm
Foofie wrote:
old europe wrote:


I'm perfectly happy with the policy of using a diplomatic approach in order to settle differences - with or without an explanation from the Bush administration.


Your largesse is quite admirable, in my humble opinion.


Thank you.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:37 pm
It's only appeasement when Democrats do it.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:43 pm
hamburger wrote:
this seems like a major policy shift to me . i would think that the administration would welcome the opportunity to let the citizens know the reason for such change - should be good public relations imo .
hbg

(i spoke too quickly ... right wingers surely would NOT be in favour of this kind of "appeasemant" .)



Major policy shift indeed.

It is, frankly, quite puzzling. Maybe the Bush administration really doesn't care much about public opinion at this point (and why would they?). Maybe it's a final attempt to leave office being able to point to some kind of accomplishment. Bit of a mystery.


Of course, if you were cynical enough, there'd also be an alternative explanation: it's not about finding a solution. It's merely a fig leaf. A way of being able to say "Hey, we tried it your way, we talked to them - and it didn't work. Told you so. Now we regret this very much, but we'll have to bomb them."
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 07:57 pm
old europe wrote:
hamburger wrote:
this seems like a major policy shift to me . i would think that the administration would welcome the opportunity to let the citizens know the reason for such change - should be good public relations imo .
hbg

(i spoke too quickly ... right wingers surely would NOT be in favour of this kind of "appeasemant" .)



Major policy shift indeed.

It is, frankly, quite puzzling. Maybe the Bush administration really doesn't care much about public opinion at this point (and why would they?). Maybe it's a final attempt to leave office being able to point to some kind of accomplishment. Bit of a mystery.


Of course, if you were cynical enough, there'd also be an alternative explanation: it's not about finding a solution. It's merely a fig leaf. A way of being able to say "Hey, we tried it your way, we talked to them - and it didn't work. Told you so. Now we regret this very much, but we'll have to bomb them."


Well, if the U.S. tries to talk, and it has no positive results, then ANY country that takes action can say the U.S. tried, and if they could not get any positive results, who could? This is not the "cynicism" you refer to above. This is just the diplomatic two-step that nations do, before any other action can be taken. History books have to make the good guys look good. That is not cynicism, just the way the world works, in my opinion.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 08:16 pm
Sure. You try a diplomatic approach, you even talk to leaders of countries whose position is the opposite of yours, you see if there's any way to come to some kind of agreement.

I agree.

The amazing thing is just that it was the Bush administration who has said that that was the wrong approach. That talking to "terrorists and radicals" would only grant them legitimacy. That America doesn't talk to extremists. That this sort of policy is tantamount to appeasement. That not talking to them was more effective than talking to them.

And that has been echoed by Republicans for as long as the Bush admin has been trotting out that line - including the majority of conservatives here on this site.

In that "diplomatic two-step that nations do", conservatives have maintained, for sevenandahalf years, that it would be absolutely unforgivable to make one step (sit down and talk to extremists), and that only the other step (threaten them, bomb them, invade them - roughly in that order) would guarantee success.


Which is why I find this sudden full about face quite remarkable.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 11:15 am
Quote:
Condi's coup: how the neo-cons lost the argument over Iran

Secretary of State's influence pivotal to Bush's change of policy

Condoleezza Rice was George Bush's handmaiden for the war in Iraq but she is now emerging as the best hope for avoiding a military conflict between the United States and Iran.

The Secretary of State, who is one of the few people with the President's ear, has shown the door to Vice-President Dick Cheney's cabal of war-hungry advisers. Ms Rice was able to declare yesterday that the administration's decision to break with past policy proves that there is international unity in opposing Iran's nuclear programme. "The point that we're making is the United States is firmly behind this diplomacy, firmly behind and unified with our allies and hopefully the Iranians will take that message," Ms Rice said.

Mr Bush's decision to send the number three in the State Department, William Burns, to attend talks with Iran in Geneva at the weekend caused howls of outrage that were heard all the way from the State Department's sanctuary of Foggy Bottom to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. A parallel initiative to reopen the interest's section of the American embassy in Tehran, which would be the first return of a diplomatic presence on Iranian territory since 1979, has also received a cool response from neo-conservatives.

"This is a complete capitulation on the whole idea of suspending enrichment," said Mr Bush's former UN envoy, John Bolton. "Just when the administration has no more U-turns to pull, it does another."

In public, Ms Rice has been as bellicose as any neo-con when it comes to Iran, calling dialogue with its leaders "pointless" and declaring: "For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons."

She had been the prime mover behind Mr Bush's disastrous policy of "preventive wars" and cheerleader of his expansive plans to reorganise the entire Middle East and to "export democracy". But with the rumblings of war with Iran growing steadily louder, Ms Rice worked feverishly behind the scenes to stop sparks from flying in the drive by the US and Israel to shut down Iran's nuclear programme.

The breakthrough, if that is what it turns out to be, that persuaded Mr Bush that it was time to end the 30-year boycott of high-level diplomatic contacts with Iran, came from the simple act of Ms Rice signing her name to a joint letter offering sweeter terms to Tehran than it had seen before.

The very act of putting her name to a package of incentives presented in Tehran last month persuaded the Iranian authorities that there was movement that would allow them to proclaim victory over the US, while ending their nuclear programme.

When he saw Ms Rice's signature on the document, Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, was visibly stunned, according to those present at the meeting. He formally responded to the offer with a letter addressed to Ms Rice and the EU's foreign policy envoy, Javier Solana, as well as foreign ministers of the five other countries at the talks.

...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 01:31 pm
edgarblythe wrote:
It's only appeasement when Democrats do it.

Stop calling, folks. We have a winner!
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 04:58 pm
old europe wrote :

Quote:
Of course, if you were cynical enough, there'd also be an alternative explanation: it's not about finding a solution. It's merely a fig leaf. A way of being able to say "Hey, we tried it your way, we talked to them - and it didn't work. Told you so. Now we regret this very much, but we'll have to bomb them."


you may not be far off the mark !

Quote:
Rice says Burns' attendance is a "one-shot deal"


Quote:
U.S. changes tactics in talks with Iran, N. Korea
Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:00pm BST
By Sue Pleming - Analysis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The political clock ticking, the Bush administration has shifted tactics and plans high-level talks with Iran and North Korea, meeting foes once part of President George W. Bush's "axis of evil."

Senior diplomat William Burns is set to see Iran's nuclear envoy in international talks on Saturday and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet North Korea's foreign minister for the first time, most likely on Wednesday, in Singapore.

Several foreign policy experts say the decision to be more open to engagement reflects a more pragmatic foreign policy -- adopted after other approaches failed.

"The president realized that our old policies were not working. We have been putting ourselves into a corner and were continuing to lose more and more ground on critical issues," said former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt, Ned Walker.

The Bush administration insists the diplomatic steps are not a policy shift, particularly on Iran where Rice says Burns' attendance is a "one-shot deal" and full-blown negotiations can happen only if Tehran gives up sensitive nuclear work.



read article in full :
APPEASEMENT
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 05:55 pm
edgarblythe wrote:
It's only appeasement when Democrats do it.


I thought the conservatives called it "treason" until Bush agreed with Obama to talk to our enemy, Iran.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 06:51 pm
old europe wrote:

Which is why I find this sudden full about face quite remarkable.


O.K., you find it "remarkable." Since I believe I have a greater vested interest, as an American citizen, in any diplomacy the American administration does, I find it "hopeful."

At least give credence to the reality of our different perspectives, inasmuch as I am a U.S. citizen, my family has been here since the latter 1800's, and this is the only country my family resides. I have more at stake, so "remarkable" is really not part of my lexicon, as it can be yours.

I can empathize with your perspective, I am hopeful you can empathize with mine.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 07:10 pm
I wonder if Iran's testing of mid-range missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv had anything to do with the Bush Admin's appeasement of that country's regime.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 07:24 pm
Foofie wrote:
Since I believe I have a greater vested interest, as an American citizen, in any diplomacy the American administration does, I find it "hopeful."


Good for you. In that case, it seems you have changed your opinion over the course of the last couple of weeks, too.

I mean, not so long ago, you said

Foofie wrote:
The majority of Israelis don't feel comfortable with Obama's saying he will talk to the Iranians directly. So, Bush got a multiple standing ovation upon completion of his speech. He talked about the Nazis, and he talked about the historical foolishness of talking directly to one's enemy. It just so happens that Obama said he would do that.

Hey, if it is such a good idea to talk directly with the Iranians now, then the same thinking should have been correct with the Nazis. So, why not mention the analogy? Problem is, it would not have been correct to talk to the Nazis, and it is still not correct to talk to one's enemies. I believe Obama took umbrage, since he didn't expect this brilliant verbal "chess" move.



So let me ask you at this point: if it is so "hopeful" to talk directly with the Iranians now, then the same thinking should have been correct with the Nazis back then. Right?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 07:50 pm
old europe wrote:
Foofie wrote:
Since I believe I have a greater vested interest, as an American citizen, in any diplomacy the American administration does, I find it "hopeful."


Good for you. In that case, it seems you have changed your opinion over the course of the last couple of weeks, too.

I mean, not so long ago, you said

Foofie wrote:
The majority of Israelis don't feel comfortable with Obama's saying he will talk to the Iranians directly. So, Bush got a multiple standing ovation upon completion of his speech. He talked about the Nazis, and he talked about the historical foolishness of talking directly to one's enemy. It just so happens that Obama said he would do that.

Hey, if it is such a good idea to talk directly with the Iranians now, then the same thinking should have been correct with the Nazis. So, why not mention the analogy? Problem is, it would not have been correct to talk to the Nazis, and it is still not correct to talk to one's enemies. I believe Obama took umbrage, since he didn't expect this brilliant verbal "chess" move.



So let me ask you at this point: if it is so "hopeful" to talk directly with the Iranians now, then the same thinking should have been correct with the Nazis back then. Right?


I cannot agree. Remember, the context of my statement was the "brilliant verbal 'chess' move" by President Bush. What President Bush said to the Israelis (who obviously are an anti-Nazi audience) does not necessarily have anything to do with the present possible willingness to talk to the Iranians. You seem to be looking for absolutes in a world of diplomacy, where absolutes might not be the rule?

But, I might be the wrong person to discuss whether it would have been correct to talk to the Nazis, since my background is Jewish. That variable should disqualify me as an impartial respondent to your question. Ta-ta.
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