Appeasement is the Art of Losing Slowly

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I am a student of America’s foreign policy. During my twenty-three years in the U.S. Army I helped implement our foreign policy both here and abroad. The primary enemy of the United States during my career was the former Soviet Union. I say former because we won the Cold War.

During my twenty-three years of active duty I served seven U.S. Presidents. Some were strong and some were weak when dealing with the Soviet Union. For a third of my career “détente” was the basis of our foreign policy. The term was used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1971, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War. Détente ended after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on December 24, 1979.

May I suggest that détente was another word for appeasement, which is the art of losing slowly?

I was stationed in Germany on a date that is etched forever in my mind – September 5, 1972. On that day an Islamist group called Black September invaded the peaceful Olympic village in Munich, Germany. Sixteen innocent and unarmed Israeli athletes and one German police officer were killed. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of that attack. So what did I learn about Islamists on that fateful day? I learned that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I also learned on that day everything I needed to know about shariah Islamists and their ideology.

Let us fast forward to November 4, 1979 and the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. On that date the United States learned in very stark terms all it needed to know about shariah Islamists when fifty-five U.S. embassy employees were taken hostage. But what did President Carter learn from that experience? Appeasement is the art of losing slowly because in the end President Carter lost the Presidency to Ronald Reagan. It was only minutes after President Reagan was sworn in that the hostages were on an airplane headed home. Why, because the Iranians knew that President Reagan would not appease them rather he would use the full force of our military to end the hostage crisis. It was President Reagan who called the former Soviet Union an “evil empire” and confronted its leaders rather than appease them. President Reagan knew that appeasement is the art of losing slowly.

Let us fast forward to September 11, 2001 and the fateful events on that day. Yet again we saw the resiliency of shariah Islamists to do what they say they will do. It also showed how both Presidents George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton misunderstood the lessons of September 5, 1972 and November 4, 1979. While President Bush did push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait he failed to see the global threat posed by shariah Islam. President Clinton had numerous opportunities to take Osama bin Laden into custody but failed to do so. President Clinton continued to deal with the issues in the Middle East by negotiations and appeasement of the Palestinians. His hope for a solution led to intifada – a holy war against Israel that has not ended.

Let us again fast forward to the P-5 +1 talks concerning Iran and its quest to obtain nuclear weapons. Since September 5, 1972 every U.S. President has tried diplomacy and sanctions to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Détente, the failure to define Iran as an enemy and diplomacy are different forms of appeasement. Each slowly leads to the appeaser losing. Time is always on the side of those who are being appeased.Dr. Jay Bergman, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, in his column “Understanding the Iran talks” writes, “[A]n analogy comes to mind that suggests what the results of these negotiations are likely to be. The analogy is with the Munich conference at the end of September 1938, at which Nazi Germany, Italy, France, and Great Britain forced Czechoslovakia to cede to Germany the so-called Sudetenland, in the western part of the country, where some (but by no means all) of the three million ethnic Germans living there were demanding, in the name of self-determination, that it become part of Germany.” “For good reason Munich has become code for the appeasement of regimes that cannot be appeased because there is no limit to the demands they will make,” notes Professor Bergman.

We have new words for détente, they are coexist and tolerance.

Let us fast forward to today. Our leaders tell us we must peacefully coexist with shariah Islam and embrace Islamic beliefs in the name of religious tolerance. We cannot criticize those who daily criticize us. We cannot call for the end of oppression under Islamist rulers, secular and theocratic alike, even though these Islamists call for our death and destruction on a daily basis. We must tolerate those who have sworn to kill us in the name of our Judeo/Christian beliefs.

Jerry Gordon, Editor of the New English Review and Middle East expert put it best when he wrote, “Islamic countries are wedded to an ossified totalitarian creed denying civil and human rights and a future – the basis of the Judeo Christian value system and Western dynamism.”

I close with the words of Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam”, whose family for three generations has fought political Islam in Syria and the United States. Dr. Jasser writes, “If the Islamists have their way, the United States will find itself with a nation within a nation, one governed by the precepts of the U.S. Constitution, the other under the sway of shariah.”

Dr. Jasser notes the observation of French philosopher Joseph de Maistre who wrote, “Every nation has the government it deserves.” I for one want to retain and strengthen our Constitutional Republican form of government. Something every American, regardless of faith or belief, must embrace or we will continue to lose slowly our liberty and freedoms.