Free Markets, Free People


The Price Of Appeasement

We’re known here at this blog for being adamant about denouncing plans which appease terrorists.  It’s a absolute no-win situation for the appeaser.  Pakistan is now in the middle of learning that hard lesson:

Pakistan’s strategy of trying to appease Taliban militants is showing signs of backfiring, as extremists move within 60 miles of the capital and threaten to spread their influence throughout the country.

Really? What a surprise. They caved to the Taliban demands and allowed them to impose Sharia law in the Swat valley in return for promises the Taliban would lay down their arms.

And, unsurprisingly, the Taliban have reneged on the promise. That, of course, has Hillary Clinton huffing and puffing at Pakistan:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Wednesday that Pakistan’s government is “basically abdicating to the Taliban” by agreeing to let them implement Islamic law in the Swat region last week. Instead of putting down their weapons, as the government had hoped, the insurgents have since moved fighters into the neighboring Buner region, local lawmaker Istiqbal Khan said.

Of course that’s precisely what appeasement buys with zealots. Absolutely nothing except an even weaker position for the appeasers.

Additionally, the Taliban have turned the Swat valley into a theocratic hell while the Pakistani government stands by and tut-tuts:

President Asif Ali Zardari has blamed the Taliban for a wave of assassinations in Swat in recent months, and he condemned a recent video that showed militants flogging a young woman they accused of having an improper relationship.

There is a glimmer of good news however. There seems to be a public backlash building among Pakistanis with even conservative members of the Pakistani parliament distancing themselves from the militants. However in the complicated world of Pakistani politics, that may end up meaning nothing in a real sense as the Taliban, who recognizes no authority and certainly no obligation to live up to any promises, relentlessly pushes to expand its hold on northern Pakistan.

~McQ

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26 Responses to The Price Of Appeasement

  • The problem is that the elected politicians in Pakistan are the landlords, and the Taliban are working the peasantry.  Its not as if the Taliban are prosletyzing in Las Vegas, and with the added bonus of promising land, they are going to around for a long, long time.

  • Don’t forget that the Taliban was in large part a product of the Pakistani ISI, and Pakistan is still playing a double game of trying to stop the Taliban in Pakistan while supporting them in Afghanistan.  It’s less appeasement and more “blowback.”

    • If you think appeasement works differently in a situation where you really are trying to STOP the guy you’re appeasing and not playing a double game you haven’t paid a bit of attention to North Korea, as but one example.

      Appeasement is acknowledgment that you CANNOT stop(or are unwilling to stop)  someone in the first place, and must bargain to get them to stop themselves.  Since you cannot stop them they lose nothing by taking advantage of your inability, or unwillingness.  Good Lord, how many times does this have to happen before that’s understood? 

      It hasn’t EVER been different – classic examples exist throughout history from the micro level of the bully in the school yard demanding your lunch money “just today” to the macro level as  easily documented cases from the Romans trying to buy off the Huns through the inevitable mention of Hitler and the Europeans powers all the way up to the current government of North Korea.

      Appeasement is tribute by those unwilling to put a stop to bad behaviors.

      • You’ve defined appeasement into meaninglessness.   Ironically, the British policy called appeasement was something very different.  Based on a belief that they had mistreated Germany at Versailles, the Conservative government of Neville Chamberlain decided to appease legitimate German interests believing if they undid the mistakes of Versailles they could at least buy time.  Chamberlain thought a war was likely, but his military told him they wouldn’t be ready until 1943.   Many British conservatives had no real problem with a “fascist balwark” against Soviet bolshevism.  So British appeasement was not at all what you define appeasement as being, they never thought they’d simply give Hitler what he wanted so he wouldn’t act, they decided to purposefully appease only legitimate interests in a hopes that it might help the situation.  Meanwhile, Chamberlain continued to prepare for a war he was almost certain would come.   I know you didn’t bring up Chamberlain so I’m not talking about you here looker, but there are a lot of people ignorant of history who actually believe the British were simply trying to appease Hitler so he wouldn’t start a war.

        • Gee, what would we do without Erb’s knowledge and wisdom? I don’t think I could make it through the day without collapsing into the fetal position contemplating my ignorance.

        • Yeah, you go ahead and focus on the plan of the appeasers and not the ‘appeased’.
          I think we can assume Hitler’s plan really didn’t give a rat’s hind end what the British plan was.

          Ditto for Attila – an appeasement example you’ve ignored, and ditto with NoKo from Carter on down.

          And of course you’re talking about me, I’m the only one who defined appeasement and mentioned Hitler.
          And of COURSE they were trying to keep Hitler from starting a war.  Sane people don’t want a war, and they’re generally the ones who are doing the appeasing.  But that’s always the excuse, sane people aren’t prepared to deliberately go to the brink of war very often.    Instead they convince themselves if they will pay the bully today, TOMORROW they’ll get to keep their lunch money because the bully will have ‘learned’ or maybe tomorrow the bully won’t be hungry, or anything but the sane reasoning that all they did was teach the bully where to go every day for his lunch money.

      • Dr. Erb, since they and the French didn’t start re-arming until 1938, but started appeasing in 1935, I’m afraid your story doesn’t hold any water. Nice try though.

        And the “they wouldn’t be ready” until 1943, I have NEVER read that…do you make this up as you go along? The people interested in the era 1942/43 were the SOVIETS and the GERMANS who believed they’d be in the best place to fight, in that time frame…the Totalitarians were planning on being ready for war in a certain time frame not the Western democracies.

        But I can tell you are a Poli Sci Major, you don’t do history real well.

        • What?  1935 – you mean the public declaration that they were going to re-build the Wehrmacht in contravention of the Versailles treaty -  it was for peaceful purposes!  peaceful I tell you!
          And re militarization of the Rhineland in 36?  more peaceful actions.

          and I can understand “they decided to purposefully appease only legitimate interests in a hopes that it might help the situation”  – I mean what wasn’t legitimate about allowing the Germans to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1938 & 1939?  Surely that would only lead to peace for everyone (oh, screw those Czechoslovakians, they weren’t REALLY a country anyway, that was territory England and France had every right to cede to Germany!)  It was all quite legitimate.

          If only the allies hadn’t chosen to start trouble and resist, there would have been no reason for World War II.  What business was it of the British and French if he occupied Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland?  Was he hurting them?  nooooooooooooooo!!!!   They were just being imperialists!
          Clearly the allies were just looking for an excuse to attack Germany!

          • Well, Looker their war WAS a war of choice and aggression…did Germany attack England, NO! But did England attack and occupy Germany, YES.  I agree Churchill was a war-monger and a war criminal!

        • Joe, the policy of appeasement was put forth by Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who took office in 1937.  If you want an education about what appeasement was, I direct you to my blog entry, what is appeasement.  Consider it a bit of free education. 

          You also might try to understand how the world looked in the thirties, when the Brits were more afraid of Bolshevism than fascism, and felt guilty about the horrible Versailles Treaty.  The Prime Minister when Hitler remilitarized the Rheinland, Ramsay McDonald, said “sure we could have stopped the militarization.  Hitler would have fallen from power, but what would the world have gained?”  Hindsight has 20-20 vision.  The point is that the silly caricatured definition of appeasement so often used by the right wing is not to be taken seriously by anyone trying to understand world affairs.  It’s too simplistic.

          • Joe, the policy of appeasement was put forth by Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who took office in 1937. And no, I don’t have to link to anything that supports the claim that appeasement was his official policy instead of something ad hoc. I decree it, and that should be enough for all of you. Heck, it’s enough that I just mention Chamberlain, who I’m sure none of you dense righties has ever heard of. If you want an education about what appeasement was, I direct you to my blog entry. Consider it a bit of free education, and not link whoring, and no, it doesn’t link to any other sources, but that doesn’t mean it’s just more of my own blathering, no sir! It’s deep, content-laden analysis, and definitely not trite platitudes that don’t really mean anything, so stop saying that!

            You also might try to understand how the world looked in the thirties, when the Brits were more afraid of Bolshevism than fascism. Well, I mean except for the war stuff that started in the late thirties. And since I decree that they were more afraid of Bolshevism, you just have to accept it, and no, I don’t have to link to anything that supports it, so you really, really ought to stop saying that!

            The Prime Minister when Hitler remilitarized the Rheinland, Ramsay McDonald, said “sure we could have stopped the militarization. Hitler would have fallen from power, but what would the world have gained?” Only perhaps prevention of a hundred million deaths, but hindsight has 20-20 vision, and even though appeasement has never worked in the long term in all of history, it might have worked that time, so give the Brits a break on this. The point is that the silly caricatured definition of appeasement so often used by the right wing is not to be taken seriously by anyone trying to understand world affairs. Because right wingers are thick, and incapable of serious understanding of world affairs in the manner of we wise leftists with godlike powers of political science, plus it’s too simplistic.

            So why don’t you all just admit that I’ve got it all figured out and you’re all clueless? You would feel better for your honesty, and then I’d get the pleasure of knowing that my time here has been well spent, because I come here to educate and enlighten you dense righties, and definitely, definitely not because I have an obsessive compulsion to come here and lecture you to feel better about myself. Why, I can stop coming here any time I want to! I’m not either pursuing narcissistic pleasures that I can’t resist! Stop saying that!!!

          • Joe, the policy of appeasement was put forth by Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who took office in 1937

            Ah, so it’s all the fault of conservatives. See how this sutble crap gets slipped in, gang? I mean, ignore that tehres a major difference in the basic political structure, that changes the modern meanings in our respective countries, Scott.

          • So Erb’s argument is that Chamberlain had no choice but to appease Hitler’s interests because Britain was not militarily capable of dealing with Germany’s aggression.

            OK. But then Erb also wants to argue that America needs to reduce its military capacity so that it cannot fight on multiple fronts which would put us in the same position — the need to appease our enemies who will ultimately screw us.

            Great plan based on known historical facts.

          • Well then Mr. 20-20.  You can explain how Chamberlain was responsible for the French and English failing to do anything when Hitler proudly announced, in 1935, that he WAS going to raise the number of troops in the Wehrmacht far above the limit set in the treaty that ended WWI.

            Scrunch your eyes up real tight and ask what happened in Iraq when Saddam decided he could use his aerial weaponry on the Kurds AFTER the 1st Gulf War.  Now ask what would have happened if we had said nothing instead of telling him he NOW had a no fly zone over HIS country that we would enforce.

            Just imagine for a moment, Dr Appeasement.

  • Well, when Hillary finds the “moderate” Taliban I’m sure it will all work out.

  • The real problem here is that the maladministration of The Clown™ is right up there in appeasing the enemies and haters of America. And The Clown™, that ignorant imbecile, stands there, naked like the Emperor’s New Clothes, agreeing as those enemies bash America.

    If we don’t get hit by a terrorist attack with this crowd in command, we will have truly lucked out.

  • And Pakistan has nukes…

    I wonder what India will do?

  • I just wonder will the current adminstration learn or not ?

    Will they think it didn’t work in Pakistan but maybe it will in Russia,China, North Korea, Iran ,Venezuela ?

  • While I understand the gravity of the situation, you just have to love the American Secretary of State making the public announcement that Pakistan is now officially a mortal threat to the world.

    That phrasing sounds SOOOOOOOO good and I’m sure doesn’t cheese the Pakistani government off at all.

    Gosh I love this administration, they’re so, clever and nuanced.

    • And I guess we’re going into Scott Erb’s America mode, and we’ll sit on our hands and tell everyone we’re powerless to help the legitimate government of Pakistan now, even though we MUST have Pakistan to support our efforts in Afghanistan where we’re fighting the who?  the WHO?

      Yes, it all makes sense, we should certainly let the Taliban drive to Islamabad just as Madam Secretary Clinton seems to think and say is virtually fait accompli.  It’s a pity she’s not on the ground there, she could be dodging sniper bullets and yelling “Save yourselves!  All is LOST!” as she headed for the last helicopter out.

      • You want to help the Pakistan government that’s helping the Taliban in Afghanistan?  You appeaser!

        • Ah, yeah, I suspect the Pakistani government, such as it is, is about to have a little moment of revelation.
          You’ll understand crappy allies over enemies.  We played that card with the Soviets once, surely even you recall that.

          • “Surely even you can recall that.”
            Doc, you should know better.  Erb only recalls that which is expedient for his argument du jour.

  • When the enemy is 60 miles from your capital, and your government is a kleptocracy that thinks “fighting” means “negotiating our loss more slowly,” it’s too late.  The U.S. should seize and destroy Pakistan’s nukes, assassinate as much of the AQ Khan network as can be located, and leave the America-hating sonsabitches to their fate.

    • Horrors!  Next you’ll suggest that we lock terrorist suspects up in a room with a caterpillar!  Don’t you understand that we’ve put all that behind us???  That our moral values, rather than such gruesome and barbaric measures, are our best defense aside from constantly apoligizing to everybody???  Anti-Americanism is uncool now; do you want to make it totally hip again???

      / sarc

  • I love how breaking up a multicultural democracy at the behest of two Nazi agitators is a “legitimate German interest.”

    FWIW, Chamberlain actually outfoxed Hitler in the sense that little Adolf actually wanted war in late September of ’38. After waving the Agreement around and spouting off about “peace in our time,” the first thing that Neville did was to jack up the production of ships and planes.

    The real chance to stop Hitler was during the Rhine crisis of 1936. The memos from the French to the British are truly heartbreaking reading.

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