Thursday, August 20, 2015

Appeasement and the Left

From Thucydides’s Athens to 21st-century America, appeasement is not a winner.

Victor Davis Hanson

"The common bond among the various elements of the failed Obama foreign policy — from reset with Putin to concessions to the Iranians — is a misreading of human nature. The so-called Enlightened mind claims that the more rationally and deferentially one treats someone pathological, the more likely it is that he will respond and reform — or at least behave. The medieval mind, within us all, claims the opposite is more likely to be true.

Read Gerhard Weinberg’s A World at Arms or Richard Overy’s 1939, for an account of the negotiations preceding World War II, and you will find that an underappreciated theme emerges: the autocratic accentuation of the human tendency to interpret concession and empathy not as magnanimity to be reciprocated, but rather as weakness to be exploited or as a confession of culpability worthy of contempt.

The more Britain’s Chamberlain and France’s Daladier in 1938 genuinely sought to reassure Hitler of their benign intentions, the more the Nazi hierarchy saw them as little more than “worms” — squirming to appease the stronger spirit. Both were seen as unsure of who they were and what they stood for, ready to forfeit the memory of the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of their own on the false altar of a supposedly mean and unfair Versailles Treaty.

Hitler perversely admired Stalin after the latter liquidated a million German prisoners, and hated FDR, whose armies treated German POWs with relative humanity. In matters big and small, from Sophocles’ Antigone to Shakespeare’s King Lear, we see the noble and dutiful treated worse by their beneficiaries than the duplicitous and traitorous. Awareness of this pernicious trait is not cynical encouragement to adopt such pathologies and accept our dog-eat-dog world. Rather, in the postmodern, high-tech 21st century, we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we have evolved to a higher level than what Thucydides saw at Melos or Corcyra — a conceit that is dangerous for the powerful and often fatal for the weaker."
Obama's radical transformation of the USA is characterized by pusillanimosity with enemies, and attacks on allies and citizens. That indicates who, exactly, his friends and enemies really are. Always remember: the very first thing Obama did as President-elect was to visit Iran.


John Rhue said...

"Always remember: the very first thing Obama did as President-elect was to visit Iran."

I can't find a word about this anywhere. What do I have to google to find out about this?

John Rhue said...

I think my question dropped into Blogger's memory hole. I asked how to google info about Obama's trip to Iran.

Stan said...

Obama didn't go to Iran himself; he sent a secret messenger to the Mullahs as his ambassador, while still campaigning:

"The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign."

So how did Obama raise the $745 M for his campaign that year?