by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Members of the Obama administration have insisted that the Taliban are not terrorists. Those responsible for the recent Paris killings are not radical Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular. Jihad is a “legitimate tenet of Islam.” And “violent extremism,” “workplace violence,” or “man-caused disaster” better describe radical Islamic terrorism. Domestic terrorism is just as likely caused by returning U.S. combat veterans, according to one report by a federal agency.
What is the point of such linguistic appeasement?
The word “appeasement” long ago became pejorative for giving in to bullies. One side was aggressive and undemocratic; the other consensual and eager to avoid trouble through supposedly reasonable concessions.
But appeasement usually weakened the democratic side and empowered the extremist one.
The architect of appeasement — for example, Neville Chamberlain, former prime minister of Great Britain — was predictably a narcissist. Chamberlain believed that his own powers of oratory, his insights into reason, and his undeniably superior morality would sway even a thug like Adolf Hitler.
President Obama currently is convinced that his singular charisma and rare insight into human nature will convince the Taliban to peacefully participate in Afghan politics. Obama will supposedly also win over the Iranian theocracy and show it how nonproliferation is really to everyone’s advantage.
“Reset” diplomacy with Putin was supposed to lessen tensions — if, after the 2012 election, Putin just had more exposure to a flexible statesman of Obama’s wisdom.
Throughout history, without the vanity of the conceder, there would never have been appeasement.