Obama’s “Appeasement”

Listening to the news over the past week, one would be lead to believe George W. Bush is the most popular man in Washington. How else could one explain the glee with which the press corps lines up to repeat the damnable lie that Obama is weak on defense. The entire argument is based on the idea of a false contrast. Two bits that weave together to form the underlying theme:

To Israeli ears, Bush’s words were uncontroversial. Israel is beset by enemies who daily call for its physical annihilation and while doing so, build and support terror forces who attack Israel. For most Israelis, the notion that these enemies can be appeased is absurd and deeply offensive.

The only strong reaction that Bush’s remarks provoked in Israel was relief. In spite of the Bush administration’s own participation in the six-party talks with North Korea, its support for the EU-3’s feckless discussions with the mullahs, its paralysis in the face of Hizbullah’s takeover of Lebanon, and its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state run by Fatah terrorists dedicated to Israel’s destruction, at the very least, standing before the Knesset, Bush effectively pledged not to allow Iran to acquire the means to conduct a new Holocaust.

Along with:

Barack Obama says the United States should not negotiate with Hamas “unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence and are willing to abide by previous accords” that Israel reached with neighboring Arab states and the Palestinians.

Which of those objections does not apply to Iran? The Democratic presidential candidate has said he’s willing to meet, “without precondition,” with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The difference between Iran and Hamas, Obama says, is that Iran is a country and Hamas is a terrorist organization. It’s also true that the State Department describes Iran as “the most active state sponsor of terrorism,” a provider of “extensive funding, training and weapons” to Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups, and an opponent of the Middle East peace process with “a high profile role in encouraging anti-Israel terrorist activity — rhetorically, operationally and financially.”

To summarize the argument:

  1. Israel has hostile neighbors
  2. This includes terrorists groups
  3. Iran has ties to said terrorist groups
  4. Obama favors negotiations with Iran
  5. Therefore, Obama will appease terrorists

Anyone else see the series of flaws in the argument?

The writer of the second piece seems to swat aside the idea that Iran and Hamas are different due to a difference of status in the international system. Iran has funneled money to terrorist groups, and is therefore also a terrorist group. This standard can never truly hold up, as doing so would also label the United States as a terrorist group, for our funding of the Contras and other seedy groups in Latin America.

While the threat posed to Israel by an Iranian nuclear weapon is questionable, let’s accept the premise as valid for a second. In this sort of scenario, Iran can not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. The Bush/McCain policy locks in war, as negotiations are not seen as an option. Bush/McCain supporters would disagree with this assessment, stating they favor negotiations if and only if Iran agrees to a series of demands and that Obama and others want to appease Iran. This argument also has several problems. If the negotiations are to be over the end of Iran’s nuclear program, why would Iran giving up said program be a condition of the talks? If Iran took the steps to arrive at the talks, the talks instantly become useless as the issue over while they would occur becomes moot. The tactic is nothing more than a way to avoid the bargaining table without actually saying they avoiding the bargaining table.

Talking to Iran’s leadership is not appeasement. For starters, the dictionary defines “appeasement” as:

to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

Negotiation is not yielding. It is not concession. During the Cold War, would the American people have accepted concessions to the Soviet Union or China? Of course not. Yet, under the Bush/McCain doctrine, almost every president during the period appeased the Soviets, since they sat down at the table with them. The strongest nation in the world has nothing to fear for sitting down at a table with states which are hostile to us, but also extremely weak. If nothing else, they can be painted as the irrational party, instead of the current “Me Against The World” foreign policy of the Bush years.