May 21, 2005

Appeasement Versus Imperial Intentions

There are many different opinions about how to solve the problems of the world and quite a number of them are currently focused upon the war in Iraq and the larger war on terror. There is a real effort being undertaken by proponents of the two sides to simplify this to a question of utilizing a policy of appeasement or hegemonic design

For the sake of this example let's use the definitions below:

appeasement
A political policy of conceding to aggression by a warlike nation. A classic example of appeasement is the Munich Pact of 1938, negotiated between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain, the prime minister of Britain, allowed Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia to Germany.


Hegemony
hegemony (hĭjĕm'ənē, hē–, hĕj'əmō'nē, hĕg'ə–) , [Gr.,=leadership], dominance, originally of one Greek city-state over others, the term has been extended to refer to the dominance of one nation over others, and, following Gramsci, of one class over others. Conflict over hegemony fills history from the war between Athens and Sparta to the Napoleonic wars, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War. Gramsci's use of the concept extends it beyond international relations to class structure and even to culture.

For the sake of clarity when I refer to two sides we can say that the side that promotes preemptive strikes and supports the war in Iraq views the other side as having taken a position of appeasement and the side that does not views their opposition as having imperial, colonial designs with hegemonic intentions.

In simple English that means that they have boiled this down to saying we have got to get them first or you are pro-war, militaristic and intent on using force/violence to create a world in which the US remains dominant.

I think that this is an over simplification of the various positions that exist and I think that this is to our detriment, regardless of position. There are few things that are black and white in life and this is no exception.

In recent times I have been dismayed to read posts which accuse the US of having fabricated 911 to launch a war, suggestions that our involvement in Afghanistan has nothing to do with protecting our nation and an assortment of comments that follow similar lines of thought.

I have been especially disappointed to see that some people are so threatened by points of view that differ from their own that they attempt to shut down dialogue so that no opposing view can be heard, it does not speak well of them.

But on topic as it relates to this post I have some very strong views. I don't think that you can stop a bully by offering him a compromise such as the classic example of Chamberlain actions with Hitler.

At best this does nothing other than provide you with some breathing room, but it is only momentary because sooner or later the bully comes back to your neighborhood looking for the same deal only this time you have shown weakness that you can be certain will be leveraged by the bully.

Sometimes you are forced to confront the bully headon. And sometimes you are forced to acknowledge that the reason that they are angry with have you have nothing to do with their having been bereft of a loving family, nice childhood, education or any number of other excuses.

Sometimes it is a battle based upon divergent ideologies. And when that happens diplomacy may no longer be a viable option.

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