December 11, 2007
The Wages of AppeasementBy Christopher Chantrill
For conservatives the story of the recent National Intelligence Estimate is unbelievable. What would possess the analysts in the federal intelligence bureaucracy to issue a finding that Iran has abandoned its military nuclear weapons program?
Given the secrecy that surrounds all government ventures into nuclear weaponry we wonder how anyone can presume to know with "high confidence" whether Iran or any other nation has or has not a nuclear weapons program. And why would anyone so blatantly try to appease a revolutionary regime like the Islamic Republic of Iran?
The answer is simpler than you might think. In the view of the western educated middle class, appeasement works every time it is tried.
There is more. The policy of appeasement, consistently applied by the educated middle class throughout the past century, has proved to be the royal road to political power and influence -- for the educated middle class.
First they appeased the struggling working man, arguing that "people have needs." They built a welfare state and put themselves in charge. Then they moved American blacks, condemned to second-class citizenship by discrimination and racism, from the Southern plantation to the liberal plantation. Then it was traditionally marginalized women and gays. All the while establishing bureaucracies and programs administered by guess who?
So it is not surprising that the western educated middle class believes that the way to deal with Muslims in general and Iran in particular is through appeasement.
Appeasement may be the "rational" policy for Iran in their view. But it is not appropriate when dealing with western critics of the educated middle class. For them the appropriate liberal tactic is ruthless shaming.
You can see how the shaming works by examining the recent problems of two writers, Mark Steyn and Martin Amis.
In October 2006 Maclean's published an excerpt from Steyn's America Alone. In response the Canada Islamic Council is filing human rights complaints in Canada arguing that Steyn's Maclean's article subjected "Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt." Now lefty commentators are piling on. Blogger Jim Henley writes "I knew Steyn was a bigot," and Steyn has to respond.
British author Martin Amis is in similar trouble. In an interview in 2006 after the foiling of a plan to blow up several passenger jets in flight he said:
Lefty professor Terry Eagleton saw an opening and accused Amis of opinions like a "British National Party thug." Then author Rowan Bennett weighed in:
You can get a full rundown on the Martin Amis flap from the New York Times blog. Martin Amis was last heard of in the Guardian pleading "No, I Am Not A Racist."
Really, what's not to like? In order to show support for helpless victims of otherness intolerance you shame the neocon theocrats by putting them through the human rights meat grinder or by calling them racists.
It's easy to assume that all this NIE nonsense and literary name-calling is pure cynicism. But we should give our liberal friends the benefit of the doubt and allow that they actually believe that their policy of appeasing the enemies of the West is moral and just. There are people who really think that the problem is a deep "hostility to Islam and intolerance of otherness."
(What about liberals, their deep hostility to Christianity and their intolerance of Christian otherness?)
But wait, you say! Islam is different. Its doctrine of jihad is completely different from the militant working class of 1845 or the African American rioters of 1965. These people want to take over the world!
Maybe so. But you cannot expect your average progressive to abandon a political tactic that has worked so well for over a century on the say-so of a bunch of neocon theocrat bigots.
Our liberal friends want a world free from injustice and otherness; they believe that the right and just thing to do is always to appease the latest group that declares itself a victim.
So we should expect them to oppose the Bush forward strategy for the foreseeable future. They may back off a bit when a Democrat is in the White House. But Republican presidents can expect nothing but trouble.
Facing down the revolutionary thugs and boldly outdaring the dangers of the time is the conservative thing to do. We look at the world and want to make it safe for democratic capitalism. We believe that in a federal budget with two trillion dollars of pensions and social programs there ought to be $0.7 trillion for defense.
What will it take to change the minds of America's liberal intelligence community? Probably nothing short of electoral disaster.