Appeasement doesn’t work. Throughout human history governments and leaders have sought to avoid conflict by appeasing the other side. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave numerous concession to Hitler’s Germany between 1937 and 1939 allowing Hitler to grow stronger and stronger before attacking the British and starting World War 2. At the time Chamberlain gave a famous speech proclaiming “Peace in our time.”
President George W. Bush gave us the Bush Doctrine which was basically a line in the ground stating you were either with us or against us after the 911 attacks. States that harbored terrorist would be treated as terrorists. After the Bush administration demonstrated this policy in Afghanistan and Iraqi Muammar Gaddafi gave up his nuclear and WMD program voluntarily in December 2003.
Sadly Bush’s state department under Secretaries Powell and Rice pursued appeasement with North Korea. North Korea was given over 1 billion in US assistance and had assets unfrozen in exchange for promising to dismantle nuclear weapons programs. Again and again North Korea gamed the diplomacy to get aid in exchange for promises it broke later. North Korea even proliferated its’ nuclear enrichment technology to the Syrians. Today North Korea continues to pursue nuclear weapons.
The Obama administration has been even worse. President Obama went on an apology tour of the Muslim world shortly after being elected.
“My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.”
– President Obama to Al Arabiya, 2009
Obama’s government has been content to lead from behind and provide lukewarm support to Israel. Iran grows closer and closer to a nuclear weapon and we did nothing to support the populist uprising there and in Syria.
Islamic extremists around the world are testing the Obama administration. Using a silly low budget video that hardly anyone had seen, tens of thousands in the Muslim world have attacked our embassies and consulates, sovereign US ground. They stormed our Egyptian embassy tour down our flag and put up a flag similar to al-Qaeda’s. The embassy had condemned the film earlier in the day and continued to do so even during the attack.
Later in the day September 11th, 11 years after the attacks on NYC and Washington extremists attacked the consulate in Libya killing the ambassador and three others. Whether or not the attack was planned clearly the government should have been prepared and ready to strongly defend our sovereign embassies.
We must respond strongly to these attacks, protesters have a right to protest but they have no right to use force on our embassies and consulates. These aggressors must be hunted down and killed wherever they are. The governments must stand with us and provide security or we must withdraw our diplomats and our aid money. America and Israel have long been the scape goat in the Muslim world. Governments take our money and then foment anti American sentiment to cover for their own failings.
We must return to the Bush doctrine. Iran must stop its’ nuclear program or the US should launch air strikes against it. We must stand with Israel our one strong and true ally in the region. North Korea likewise must stop its’ program or be subject to airstrikes and further international isolation. We must stand with our allies and support freedom and countries that embrace peaceful relations with us and do not harbor our enemies. We may continue the five party talks but must not give the North Koreans anything until they prove they have stopped their programs.
This column is not a call to nation building, our nation must only be involved militarily in conflicts if our security is at stake. We cannot build nations and must not waist our treasure and blood on such endeavors. Our enemies will behave differently if they believe America will stand up to aggression swiftly and clearly.
Diplomacy can work and armed conflict should be avoided, but it must be strong with clear messaging and accountability. Diplomats must have a clear message and not compromise on American security.
When Ronald Reagan was elected many predicted our cold war with the USSR would get worse or that Reagan might even start WW3. Reagan refused to compromise on security to the USSR and was willing to walk away from the table in Reykjavik when he couldn’t get a good deal. The USSR fell and Reagan was largely responsible for the longest peacetime expansion in US history.
The Arab spring has been a mixed bag for the region but mostly bad for the US, we must not lose sight of our principles and we must maintain a strong posture in the world. Peace through strength not appeasement is the long term philosophy our leaders must embrace to keep America safe and free.