Monday, March 19, 2007

Precise attribution

Since Munich in 1938 the word appeasement has become synonymous with the foreign policy of one's opponents. But it does have a specific meaning: we should give this aggressor precisely what he wants, for no consideration, because otherwise he will do something deleterious to our interests. Furthermore, if we do so, his demands will cease. If you want a case study, have a look at this article in the Guardian. Arguing that Iran is right to seek a nuclear bomb and we are wrong in trying to stop them, Cox argues that:
It is entirely understandable that they should now wish to maximise their security. Any regime in Tehran that neglected to develop nuclear weapons would arguably be failing in its duty.
And why?
The Iranians have warned that military action against them would provoke a military response. They might block the Strait of Hormuz, through which 18% of the world's oil supplies pass every day. They might annex southern Iraq, prompting a Sunni response that could bring about a regional conflagration sucking in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
There you have it - they threaten us, so lets give them what they want, and hope they go away satisfied. Didn't work last time though...
It is, I suppose worth pointing out two further points here. The first is that Iran itself voiferously and continuously denies that it is seeking nuclear weapons. For what that is worth. The second is that the Guardian opposes Britain retaining nuclear weapons, but argues for Iran to acquire them. That's not Chamberlain-style appeasement, that's a George Lansbury style foreign policy.
I would close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war and say to the world "do your worst".
What could possibly go wrong?

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