Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

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August 8, 2006

When Negotiation Is Merely Appeasement

by Nick

We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analysing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a programme would be rejected by the people of this country, even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with the dictators. –Neville Chamberlain

I found reading the words of the man who nearly brought destruction to the British Isles and Europe in the years leading up to World War II to be both enlightening and astonishing. Then-Prime Minister Chamberlain sounded not too dissimilar from how the American and European Left sound today. Whether speaking on the need to see things from the other’s point of view–no matter how barbaric–or the infallibility of diplomacy, it was like I was reading the latest missive from DailyKos or the most recent editorial in the New York Times.

Chamberlain was thankfully succeeded by a man of strong will and stronger judgment. One who was neither afraid of being blunt in words nor being decisive in action:

We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, “No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us.” The people with one voice would say: “You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst – and we will do our best.” –Winston Churchill

In later years, Churchill criticized Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement, saying that it is nothing more than feeding others to a crocodile, hoping you’ll be the last to be consumed. What makes appeasement so dangerous–particularly from the Chamberlains of the world–is that they themselves may not realize what they are asking for:

This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. –Neville Chamberlain

Central to their misguided belief is that peace is always possible. How they justify this central premise, I have never heard articulated in a logical manner. Men fight for many reasons. Sometimes they fight over property. Sometime over some slight–real or imagined–made by one against the other. But sometimes they fight because they hate the other with every fiber of their being. As in the case of the proverbial Hatfields and McCoys, it is entirely likely that conflicts of the latter kind are rooted–somewhere in the fog of antiquity–in disputes of a more tangible nature. Whatever their origin, when it comes to pass that one group defines themselves by their very hatred of the other, such matters become irrelevant.

Diplomacy can only provide a solution when the discord is directly tied to a given action or series of actions. When a state fights another, not because of who they are but because of what they did. In such cases, negotiation can provide the means to provide redress for the offending parties. The source of agitation now removed, peace is possible, indeed likely.

When the catalyst for one state’s aggression against the other isn’t what they did but who they are, there can be no peace. There can exist for a time an uneasy ceasefire. A hostile and brooding silence. But the roots of the conflict remain in place. Such an untenable situation is hardly to be desired, yet this is the limit to what negotiation can bring us. For while agreements between ambassadors and heads of state can silence the guns, they cannot change the hearts and minds of people.

What the West, Israel, and the parts of the East not already fallen face with Islamofascism is precisely the latter situation. Only intentional ignorance could lead one to any other conclusion. From the attempt to push Sharia in France and England, to the hostility of several immigrant muslim activism groups in the West, to of course the words of their own leaders, one can be left in little doubt as to the intentions of Islamic leaders. Just as Mohammed himself preached death to non-Muslims, so too do these groups. They hate the way we pray (or don’t pray), they hate the freedom we allow women even more than the freedom we allow men. They hate us for no reason but the fact that we are not them. And though many Muslims may not feel the same way, far too few will stand up against the despotic tyrants who cage their people and seek to murder us in our beds. There is no possibility of peace with men who hate you for who you are. Only an ephemeral and strained armistice.

If this is your goal, then by all means, engage in talks that will usher in your temporary truce. But know what it is you are asking for. Know that as long as you leave the men who hate you in power, they will be plotting your destruction, even as you drop your guard for the ‘peace’ you have bought.

Crossposted from Indian Cowboy


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7 Comments

  1. So you are suggesting we kill all muslims?

    Comment by John Newman — August 8, 2006 @ 1:38 pm
  2. let’s see ‘islamofascism’, ‘muslim leaders’, ‘groups’

    not to mention that the entire post was based on the premise of state vs. state, not individual vs. individual.

    nope nowhere in there did I attempt to indict the common muslim or say that we should kill all muslims. I really wouldn’t want to kill my ex-girlfriend, my old roommate, our the guy who I’m going to hang out with tonight.

    All I said was that you cannot negotiate for peace with a party/state/nation/group who does not want peace but your destruction.

    Comment by Nick — August 8, 2006 @ 1:48 pm
  3. If you can’t negotiate peace it would seem to me your only option is war. Last time I checked wars didn’t kill parties, states, nations, or groups, they kill individuals.

    Comment by John Newman — August 8, 2006 @ 2:11 pm
  4. John: If you can’t negotiate peace it would seem to me your only option is war.

    Peace requires the active cooperation of all parties. War only requires the active cooperation of one party. This is a lesson we seem to regularly forget.

    It’s no different than a fight between two people. One can refuse to fight, the other one can still do violence. The non-fighting individual could even concede everything the fighter wanted, and it would still not change the fact that both must choose to not fight, whereas only one has to choose to fight.

    There’s a belief that a piece of paper that says all is now peace, love and flowers somehow makes it so. Even with all of the evidence to the contrary, including the behavior of the US in the past.

    It is, of course, true that individual’s are, and always will be, responsible for their individual actions (see the various things I’ve written on sovereign individuals for details). The individual soldier must always make the choice to pull the trigger, or not, when confronted with a soldier in the enemy’s uniform. That said, none of that changes the fact that nowhere did Nick advocate killing Muslims because they are Muslim, or killing all Muslims. Those are words you put in his mouth.

    Whether soldiers are choosing to fight because their alternative is death or imprisonment, or because they believe in the cause, or for some other reason, is irrelevant so long as two things are true:

    1. The individual soldiers follow the orders they are given.
    2. The individual leaders of various groups, parties, nations choose to make war.

    History teaches that sometimes negotiation and diplomacy can, indeed, prevent war. And that sometimes it cannot. Sometimes we have to see that all the diplomacy and negotiation is doing is encouraging aggression, as was certainly the case in 1939. As was the case in 1950, in Korea. And China in the 1930′s. And many other places where we tried diplomacy when the other side was determined to fight.

    When someone has declared that their intent is practice genocide upon you because of your race or religion, it seems unlikely that you can negotiate away the root cause of the conflict.

    Comment by Eric — August 8, 2006 @ 3:07 pm
  5. I guess you missed my question mark. That means it was a question.

    Comment by John Newman — August 8, 2006 @ 3:50 pm
  6. I was talking to Mike (who comments here) about this a while ago: We agreed the best course of action is to attempt to change the mindset of the region from “Islam is always right” (much as Christianity was in the crusades) to a more open minded faith like Christianity today.
    How do we do this? Education, democracy, remove tyranical extremist leaders and let the common people run their country in a civil way that is open and accepting to all.

    Comment by Ryan — August 8, 2006 @ 9:30 pm
  7. What question mark?

    edited

    Okay, I realize you meant in your first comment now. That said, the way that is posed does not come out as an open ended, fact finding question. It comes out as a rhetorical question to reinforce your views of what you think others say/feel/think.

    Comment by Eric — August 8, 2006 @ 9:44 pm

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