On air: When does diplomacy become appeasement?

A number of you have been chewing over issues relating to this here on the blog – tied to a number of stories. We’ll pick them up on air. When should a government talk, when should it refuse to, and in some circumstances does talking always been unacceptbale compromise? Here’s three stories to consider.

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement.”

Barack Obama of course has famously said he will talk directly to North Korea and Iran to give two examples. The comment and counter-comment on foreign policy revolves around who to talk to and what constitutes diplomacy and what constitutes appeasement, or whether one is the other in some circumstances. And must appeasement is always a dirty word?

Here’s analysis of the US foreign policy debate.

San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece on this subject.

Michael Tomasky on how Bush, McCain, Clinton and Obama shape up on this issue.

It may be indirectly and with the help of Turkey, but they are talking none the less. There are many countries with a keen interest in what comes of this (Iran, America and Jordan to name three). There’s been no peace deal since the Golan Heights were captured by Israel in 1967.

The Western-backed government and Hezbollah-led opposition have struck a deal. This ends an 18-month stand-ff which brought the worse violence since the civil war ended in 1990. And was it achieved? Talking and compromise by the government. Hezbollah’s demands have been met.

145 Responses to “On air: When does diplomacy become appeasement?”

  1. May 22, 2008 at 14:20

    “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals. We have heard this foolish delusion before.

    I have heard plenty of Bush’s foolish delusions before.
    Suprise! This is another one.
    Mr. Bush, way to encourage the American Military way of ‘shoot first, ask questions and talk about it later’.
    Or heck, we can even go with ‘shoot first and don’t ask questions or talk about it later’.
    “Theyre turrrrists!!!! GIT EM!!!”

    From Wikipedia:
    Most commonly, appeasement is used for the policy of accepting the imposed conditions of an aggressor in lieu of armed resistance, usually at the sacrifice of principles.

    You don’t need to accept imposed conditions, Bush, you idiot. Talking is talking. Appeasement is one possible outcome of talks, yes, but one side will always be seen as the appeased. I would argue that more often than not, the US is the appeased; As we are most often the aggressor.

    If you are unwilling to talk to other nations, like a child plugging your ears screaming “la la la, I can’t hear you”, then you have no business running a country.

  2. 2 Dan
    May 22, 2008 at 14:30

    You can only negotiate with nations that have similar goals or values. The Soviets did not desire the destruction of the planet to further their agenda.
    Iran is willing to sacrifice the nation to attack Israel and usher in the 12th Imam.
    The values of Islam is not even close to ours. Talking will be seen as weakness.
    Weakness as demonstrated by PM Chamberlain is appeasement. Hundreds of millions died because of Chamberlains appeasment.
    Mr. Obama is a neophyte as he cannot convince his friend and local domestic terrorist, Mr. Ayers, to give up his radical agenda, how will he ever convince Iran to follow him?

  3. 3 Gretchen Eldrich
    May 22, 2008 at 14:33

    Diplomacy becomes appeasement when you are speaking at a country’s anniversary event and you hijack it to score political cheap shots at home. How disrespectful to Isreal that was!

  4. 4 Virginia Davis
    May 22, 2008 at 14:35

    comment after reading Brett: I suggest “appeasement” is a word used in retrospect.
    A past tense description.

    Von Clausewitz described war as politics by other means. Obvious he would have been called a hawk.

    The so-called doves are on the side of talk. And they are usually criticized with “if you talk, then the enemy has the time to re-arm/re-group.” The answer to that is that kind of talk is stupid.

    I’d like to read comments about “the new diplomacy.” Between and among leaders?
    Between and among nations in the UN and elsewhere. In the various media: journals all the way to Fox & CNN? With third party mediation as in “classic”
    conflict resolution.

    I was really pleased to see that the ongoing problem of the junta (not a very diplomatic description!) in Burma restricting aid from “the international community” got that changed to ASEAN. Maybe the diplomacy now is many-fronted?

    And all the Bush etc you can’t talk without “preconditions” – nonsense. Even, I make bold to say, when it is talking with Hamas.

    I am glad to learn that Israel/Syria are talking and that a plan forward for government in Lebanon has been worked out.

    Virginia in Oregon

  5. 5 VictorK
    May 22, 2008 at 14:59

    Appeasement makes a lot of sense when you’re weak and frightened. The Lebanese government can be forgiven if it adopts such a line of action. Israel sometimes makes concessions of doubtful wisdom, but it doesn’t appease. It’s situation means it cannot rely on the goodwill or humanity of its enemies, especially when they’ve shown that when it comes to the Jewish state they possess neither.

    Appeasement deserves to be condemned when the appeaser is powerful and should know better (e.g. the US general who kissed the Koran and made a grovelling apology to some tribal elders in Iraq). Much of the US and UK position in Iraq and Afghanistan is informed by the spirit of appeasement: the quite explicit appeasement conveyed by a policy of ‘winning hearts and minds’ (including a range of payments – i.e. bribes – paid to fighters and members of the civilian population); appeasement towards political fetishes such as ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’, to the extent that the realities on the ground (democracy facilitates the victory of your enemies) count for less in directing policy than the commitment to realising political abstractions; appeasement of Islam and the Muslim world, indicated by the desperate insistence by Western leaders that the first is a ‘religion of peace’ (‘hearts and minds’ again) and the belief that the second are in some way allies in the war on terror rather than as a body hostile to the West (note how British leaders constantly claim to be baffled by the ‘radicalisation’ of Muslim youth); the appeasement of one government allowing another, weaker, government to dictate some aspect of its policy (e.g. repeated British and American statements that their respective armies are committed to Iraq and Afghanistan for as long as the governments of those countries require their services, even if that means staying for several decades – up to 100 years according to one particularly mad American general), and doing so regardless of the wishes of domestic electorates and American and British national interests; and alleged appeasement towards corporate interests (which I doubt has been a real factor in Iraq and Afghanistan, but which was blatantly the case when the British government bowed to the will of the Saudis in ending a corruption inquiry).

    Appeasement may produce worthwhile results, or be a useful tactical preliminary to a more forceful policy, but when it is neither effectual nor a precursor to a more robust approach to the problem in hand, then it becomes a problem, as with Iraq and Afghnanistan.

    I think appeasement is a matter of character and will. Weak-willed leaders of no character like Bush, Blair and Brown (all of whom have very good intentions), can always be expected to take up appeasement at some point; strong characters like Saddam, al-Sadr and bin Laden almost never appease, and when they do it’s usually a feint. Assuming that they continue to be as well-armed as they have been, I think it inevitable that Al Quaeda, the insurgents and the Taliban will eventually triumph in Iraq and Afghanistan. They recognise that appeasement betokens weakness and justifies holding out until it progresses to concession and terminates in surrender.

  6. May 22, 2008 at 15:00

    Appeasement is a dubious word. It is overused in the states. You hear all about the involvement in the second world war and in fact US were dragged somewhat into things and yet always suggest that they did not appease Hitler. It was HE that declared war on the US right? Until then there HAD been a lot of appeasement and only Britain was standing up to them, in aid of Poland, for such a long time? That matters little however now and it is THIS that bothers me. I do not see any BIG threat to the USA or to Israel in the whole of the Middle East. It is a fallacy. Israel alone with all its stocks need not fear attack although it is hated amongst all the other nations surrounding it. Why should other nations in the Middle East be denied ‘nuclear power’ just because the USA decides they should not have it? They can use the pretence of ‘nuclear war’ and WMD as a reason for invasion anytime they please. It is NOT appeasing. It is allowing fairness. Taking statements made against Israel as reasons for denial is childish. Get some diplomats USA? Talk to everyone and stop being the great ‘I AM” .

  7. May 22, 2008 at 15:05

    There are really two options when it comes to dealing with perceived enemies. Talking to them on occasions or genocide. If there is a third option that didn’t include talking i would like to know it. If you can ignore them with out any impact to your safety of the safety of your allies, then they are not a threat.

  8. 8 Bob in Queensland
    May 22, 2008 at 15:05

    Fighting terrorism is NOT the same a ordinary warfare. While there is no guarantee that diplomacy will work, one certainty is that conventional military action will NEVER work. A few hundred determined terrorists (or guerillas or freedom fighters–take your pick) can tie up the armies of the most powerful nation on earth for years. History proves this over and over.

    Diplomacy–plus dealing with the root grievances (the old “hearts and minds” cliche) is the only viable option.

  9. 9 John in Salem
    May 22, 2008 at 15:07

    Bush’s policy of not talking to hostile nations speaks for itself – North Korea kept on developing weapons until it finally tested one and then – surprise! – we agreed to talks. Iran continues to develop nuclear capabilities and we, instead of arranging a way for them to build plants for power with reprocessed fuel from Russia, are not talking to them.
    The only reason for not talking to someone who may become a threat is that we WANT them to become a threat in order to justify preemptive action – the potential threat of Iran and Syria to our Middle East oil supply was the real motivation for invading and occupying Iraq. Bush would love to bomb both and he hates that Obama might ruin his chances by negotiating.

  10. May 22, 2008 at 15:14

    Diplomacy is the best way to conduct relations between countries to avoid direct confrontations, military or economic. It’s diplomatic relations that help countries channel their views and coordinate them for a collective or bilateral actions.

    Countries with uneasy relations have different means to talk. Either directly at different levels from the level of ambassadors to that of head of states. There is the means of intermediation as it happened in Qatar between the Lebanese. The most failed intermediations are between Hamas and Fatah despite efforts by many Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. For these, they can agree just to talk at best without honouring their agreements, especially those signed in Mecca. This is the result of the interference of outside forces like Iran.

    The other level of talk can be carried by international organisations like the UN. There have been some successes about this, at least for appeasement. Morocco and the Polisario Front were at open war from 1976 to 1991, the year in which they agreed to a ceasefire, holding up to now. They started direct negotiations last year. The problem isn’t resolved. But at least diplomatic initiatives have put a brake to their military confrontations. There were no causalities from either side since 1991.

    The success of diplomacy depends on the will of the parties to have normal relationship. They can discard military actions to solve their problems if that proves to be costly for both sides. But there are other means to perpetuate the conflict by having no bilateral cooperation or economic exchange. The US has used economic embargo against Cuba as a means to fight its communist regime. Talking to any Cuban politician is still considered a crime.

    Diplomacy becomes appeasement only when the parties find military confrontation is of no good to either side, despite the possession of the weapons and the soldiers to do so. Diplomacy in many cases becomes a stick and carrot to solve a problem. The case of Iran shows this when the West has used economic incentives to dissuade it from pursuing its nuclear programme, while at the same time it is imposing gradual sanctions on it, when the US politicians are blowing hot and cold about a possible military strike.

    As long as countries that are the centre of major international diplomatic crises are piling weapons and sophisticating them, there is no guarantee that there will be no temptations to use them as a gamble to solve a situation that diplomacy has failed to do.

    Diplomacy, if it can’t solve problems and make things better, should keep “safe” bad situations the way they are before they become dangerously worse.

  11. 11 Vijay
    May 22, 2008 at 15:17

    When does Diplomacy become appeasement?
    When you invite the Dalai Lama to your country and fete him.
    I am so embarrassed and ashamed by my countrys’ action .
    The Dalai Lama is the last of the Fascist Dictators
    his regime ,a theocratic absolutist dictatorship was bulit on slavery,brutality and serfdom.
    There wasn’t any democracy,human rights and equality,there still isn’t ,he is a dictator.
    The Cold war is over ,we do not need to use the Tibetan non-issue against the Communist Chinese.
    The Chinese liberated Tibet and brought comparative peace, prosperity and development within them.
    A few monks and kids tried ethnic cleansing,the majority of the Tibetans did nothing,why because they know what was the alternative .

  12. 12 Nick in USA
    May 22, 2008 at 15:18

    I don’t understand why people can’t understand why these two things are different? The president and his cronies don’t want anyone to talk to the enemy because then they won’t be able to make the enemy seem like pure evil to the public.

  13. 13 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 15:20

    Appeasement is when you basically give up something for nothing in return, basically giving into blackmail. Classic examples were giving Hitler the Sudetenland, while Hitler had written in mein Kampf is goals, for anyone to read. I think that dealing with North Korea is a form of appeasement too, because I don’t think they are anything like Nazi Germany, however they are basically blackmailing the world “give us food and money so I can stay in power or else I will make nuclear weapons and might sell them”. That’s basically what we’re doing. We’re paying off North Korea, and apparently they tried to give their technology to Syria.

  14. 14 Count Iblis
    May 22, 2008 at 15:43

    Appeasement or not behaving like a dictator ourselves? We could actually have prevented WWII had we treated Germany in a more reasonable way after WWI.

    Today, the most of the demands we make to Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran etc. are not reasonable either. Recognizing a country that is occupying you? That is a very very big concession that Arafat made in exchange for starting the peace process. But for us to demand recognition of Israel to even start to talk to Hamas, is just stupid.

    We are a bit worried about Iran’s nuclear program. So what do we do? Instead of sitting down with the Iranians and talking things over, we decide that Iran cannot be allowed to enrich uranium. We do talk to the Iranians, but only about the incentives they’ll get in return for obeying to us. Not implementing our demands seems to be non negotiable.

    We have even redefined what diplomacy means in this case. Bush has said a few times that we are trying diplomacy to get the Iranians to do exactly what we want, but all options are on the table.

  15. 15 gary
    May 22, 2008 at 15:45

    One person is offering you a pastry, another is pointing a gun at you, to whom should you speak? “Leaders” who advocate not talking to apparently hostile nations are selecting the former. Truely, attempted communication is not always predictable, nor uniformly effective; but warfare is always so. It always kills people; it never kills ideas. The deaths and ideas are always remembered. New wars always are the result.

  16. 16 CarlosK
    May 22, 2008 at 15:48

    Good day WHYS

    Diplomacy becomes appeasement when you give into blackmail by granting and undeserved concession, e.g., America’s concession to North Korea and Israeli lobbyist in Washington.

    But before any evidence of appeasement arise there must first be diplomacy. The reason why there’s so much hostility in the world is because enemies refuse to talk to each other (behaving like spoiled brats!). This is evident in the USA ‘s stance towards Cuba. America looks utterly stupid! But because of pride she will not stop the non-sense and speak to Castro even though the estrangement is killing America’s standing internationally and Cuba children locally. America’s refusal to talk with Cuba in order to normalize relations is causing untold suffering in Cuba and else and is tantamout to genocide.

    It is time America grow-up and behave like and man and start talking to her enemies. When she was a child, childish things were expected but now that America is a superpower, it time she behaves like a man.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica.

  17. 17 Will Rhodes
    May 22, 2008 at 15:54

    If you want to see the ability of ‘speaking to the enemy’ appeasement (completely wrong context by Bush, look at how long and how the Good Friday Agreement came about.

    There is a peace in Northern Ireland – not all the arms have been handed in and the Prov IRA are technically still able to bring about attacks – but peace it is and people are not dying any more. Well not in the name of ‘armed struggle’.

    If there is to be any lasting peace you have to negotiate that peace – I have been saying that on this and other blogs/message boards et al for an age.

    That isn’t appeasement – that is logical reasoning of sound mind. Bush doesn’t fit in to that category!

  18. 18 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 15:54

    Appeasement: is a nice way to say! We will give you what ever you want!

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  19. 19 Greg
    May 22, 2008 at 15:57

    Bush doesn’t talk to these guys for one reason and one reason only. He wouldn’t last 1 minute in a discussion with them. They would make mincemeat out of him. He has no command of the language (his own), the facts or anything else. That’s the problem. He’s uninformed and happy to remain so. He’s got no natural curiosity and no knowledge of other people’s lifestyles or culture. He may have been a guy to drink a beer with but that won’t cut it in today’s world.

  20. May 22, 2008 at 16:01

    Appeasement shouldn’t be just face-saving for the weak party. It should be based on solid grounds to last. Saddam gave in to Iran when he was weak. But once the new Iranian regime was militarily weak, he launched military actions that lasted till his invasion of Kuwait in 1991.

    After the Second World War the USA and its allies made peace agreement with their enemies Italy, Germany, and Japan based on turning a new page and helping them to become powerful again without their threatening world peace.

    Currently, appeasement should be based on helping the weak side to have the possibility to stay in power on condition of honouring the agreements to keep a balance of power. Seeking to annihilate an enemy outright can prove impossible, if that enemy has the means to rise from its ashes. In Iraq, there are reports of arrests and death of terrorist resistance key figures, but violence isn’t over there. Afghanistan still has no-go areas even for the heavily armed international forces operating there.

    Appeasement can be possible when all parties see eye to eye. But as there are deep divergence between the parties that can’t live side by side, skirmishes, bomb attacks and wars will remain an inevitable outcome in a world that historically has innumerable record of wars.
    No one has a magic wand to put an end to armed actions as long as there are military and diplomatic options. Each option is valued according to the results it can yield. Appeasement and confrontations will remain the reality governing the thinking of politicians, either for their survival or the survival of their countries.

  21. 21 Venessa
    May 22, 2008 at 16:11

    Why would Bush want to talk to other countries – he doesn’t have the capacity!

  22. 22 Robert
    May 22, 2008 at 16:17

    Ros this is a think that I have never under stood that journalists dont assist people. I think that they should help the people if they are capable of assisting the people because they will be doing their job as well. The journalist should do it because they will be classed as heros for saving someone by the person who they helped to save.

  23. 23 VictorK
    May 22, 2008 at 16:31

    Appeasement is when party A grants favours or concessions, or adopts a line of policy, or even issues statements, with the intention of currying favour with party B, either in relation to the actions expected of B as a result of the appeasement (Herr Hitler will not seek any more territorial concessions if we let him annex this piece of land) or, more humiliatingly, in relation to the good will or good opinion of B.

    Talking to a rogue state or terrorist group is not appeasement, but it’s understandable why it’s often thought to be. It implies recognition, which is undoubtedly a concession when the party being spoken to is officially proscribed. And if the party being engaged in talks is legitimate enough to negotiate with, isn’t there the additional suggestion that the things they stand for also have a degree of legitimacy? It’s incumbent upon politicians to make clear that talking to a country or group is a practical act that may deliver concrete benefits, and not in itself an act of surrender or appeasement. The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and the FARC in Columbia are both lunatic organisations. Killing them would be a perfectly justified government response. But the inability of the Ugandan and Columbian governments to exterminate them makes talking to them a sensible option.

    Israel should certainly talk to Hamas. If nothing comes of those talks it should resume the business of physically destroying Hamas. Talking after all is not an end in itself or a promise not to return to more violent methods. I don’t know why President Bush thought it necessary to be more horror-stricken by Hamas than the Israelis, or more hawkish about them. There was a hint of appeasing Israeli opinion in adopting such an inappropriate posture (US administrations seem to have forgotten the advice of one of their greatest Presidents about having no permanent friends or permanent enemies, just permanent interests).

    @Vijay: poor example.

    @CarlosK: I suppose there is an element of appeasing the Cuban lobby in US policy. But what makes appeasement wrong in most cases is that a country usually elevates some foreign or non-national interest ahead of its own national interest. The US should change its Cuba policy because doing so advances US interests, or because it doesn’t harm those interests; to change the policy because it would improve America’s standing in the world would – in the absence of any more substantial benefit – really be swapping one form of appeasement for another.

  24. 24 Ian from Arizona
    May 22, 2008 at 16:34

    Diplomacy is not appeasement!

    Diplomacy, according to answers.com, is “the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiation alliances, treaties, and agreements” or “tact and skill in dealing with people”. Appeasement, according to answers.com is “the policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace”.

    Over the last seven plus years of the Bush Presidency, it is clear that President Bush does not understand the definition of diplomacy. Perhaps that is the reason that he believes that diplomacy is appeasement.

    What I would like to ask President Bush, and Senator McCain, is how do you create peace without talking with your enemy? You can’t.

    “It is easier to destroy than to build.” President Bush does not want peace. He wants fear. It gives him more control. The Bush Presidency, and if McCain won the Presidency he would continue the same policy, is to lead American out of fear.

    It’s time of a change!

  25. 25 Venessa
    May 22, 2008 at 16:51

    @ Ian
    “It is easier to destroy than to build.” President Bush does not want peace. He wants fear. It gives him more control. The Bush Presidency, and if McCain won the Presidency he would continue the same policy, is to lead American out of fear.

    It’s time of a change!

    You’re spot on! Fear is the way to control the masses and obtain your own selfish objectives.

  26. May 22, 2008 at 16:58

    Hi Ros & WHYSers!

    I cannot refuse – diplomacy becomes appeasement when President Bush and the Republicans say it is! Simple! At least this seems to be the reading that we might take from President Bush’s recent comments on the subject.

  27. 27 Janet T
    May 22, 2008 at 17:24

    I know there are some really smart WHYS listeners out there- give me examples of when “talking” has caused more damage than say just invading a country.

  28. May 22, 2008 at 17:27

    When a powerful nation is willing to talk to a less powerful nation, regarding any disputes between them, itself is diplomacy. However, the talk has to be on equal footings.When a nation refuses to talk, it is a sign of weakness, where in, it feels that its opinion may not be acceptable to the world.Diplomacy is a two way traffic , and a sincere effort must be made to solve the problems. When, for example, the core problem is FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSION the oppressing country should not talk diplomatically and continue their oppression in a subtle manner, just to satisfy the world at large.
    Our past experience shows that even the UNO supports the powerful nation however wrong and unacceptable their opinion/actions may be.Bush’s thuggery over Iraque is a good example.
    Another example is Srilankan Government’s talks with the Tamil Tigers on various occations where every agreement reached was either abrogated/unfulfilled by the government.Latest being Internal Self Governing Authority (ISGA) agreement after the Tsunami with the Tamils.
    Unfortunately ‘DIPLOMACY’, often, is cloak worn by the powerful, to pull out the dagger, at the UNEXPECTED MOMENTS.

  29. 29 eric
    May 22, 2008 at 17:27

    i am 56 years old, who has spent over 40 years studying all aspect of communist ideology. i am a trained sovietologist, having immersed myself in the history and core values of the communist party of the soviet union (cpsu). the first tenant is to use all means necessary to defeat your ideological enemy, including deceit. the ruler of iran, who is not ahmadinejad, but ayatollah ali khamenei was educated at the university of moscow when it was under ideological direction of the cpsu. anyone who thinks they can negotiate with iran on the basis of shared interests must first define what iran’s interests are. does iran share interests with the free world in regard to the middle east: no. the civilized world seeks a stable, democratic middle east. iran seeks a middle east beholden to sharia law and the destruction of israel. khamenei will use any level of deceit to gain his ends: lying to those who do not adhere to the sharia is encouraged and blessed according to the tenents of the islamic law. there is no reason to talk until the shared interests coincide, and that will not happen until the ayatollahs change the iranian constitution so that it is not tied to the sharia.

  30. May 22, 2008 at 17:27

    The appeasement of Hitler began long before Munich. Several western big shots supported Hiller in the hope that he would make war on the Soviets. Then the US and UK allowed the Spanish republic to fall to the fascists.

  31. 31 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 17:31

    @ Janet T

    “Talking” to Hitler rather than attacking him led to WW2. Millions of people were killed because they choose to appease him rather than destroy him. Even when Hitler invaded Poland, France and the UK sat there, in the Phoney war, not doing anything until the Germans turned their attention to the west. had Hitler been stopped earlier, millions of lives would have been saved.

  32. May 22, 2008 at 17:36

    One has to also accept that in some ways President Bush is pushed to defend his war in Iraq, in large part, because the very fibre of Obama’s and the Democratic campaign for the Presidency is to undo the ‘Bush Years’. It would appear to me, then, that the notion that the war in Iraq has not made us any safer whether as Americans or world citizens is an argument that Obama needs to push in his bid for the Presidency.

    I heard Leslie Sanchez – a Republican Strategist on CNN commenting that “it is the dogs who bark the loudest who are most afraid” in reference to Obama’s criticisms of Bush’s comments, almost as if to say the Democrats and Obama, specifically, are, in fact, weak on foreign policy. I would beg to defer with Ms Sanchez.

    Beyond the referencing as Democrats as “dogs”, perhaps not intentionally, it would seem to me that the issue is, in fact, the reverse. The war in Iraq has cost billions of dollars and needless lives, even while the oil speculators continue to jack up the price of a barrel of oil – at least if we are to believe Hilary Clinton. That wouyld mean then, that the Republicans and John McCain, especially, stand to loose a great deal on the subject of US foreign policy as it is currently unfolding with an increasing sense of hostility towards America.

    The business of isolationism/ embargos, as CarlosK notes, only serves to hurt the US’ image across the world and, ultimately, fuel the further development of terror cells across the world – sadly. I am not sure, if I would agree that the US’ policy towards Cuba amounts to genocide, but I will say that the question of foreign policy and diplomacy, specifically, need to be the first line of defence against plunging us all across the world into an unsafe and expensive war effort.

    If we are unable and unwilling to talk to our enemies and those from whom we are estranged then the hostilities will only continue and will result in further and needless devastation. Often those who suffer the most are the people at “Ground Zero” not the leaders! There has to be another way. I say that that way is strong, tough diplomacy that seeks to make the fine distinctions between who are the Shi’ites and the Sunnis, among others.

  33. May 22, 2008 at 17:47

    Diplomacy becomes appeasement when the objective is to appease. I believe dialog is very important to understand ones allies and enemies. In the Middle East, it is culturally acceptible to haggle – they are experts at it. We in the west do not posses that level of sophistication which is why we continue to use the line of not negotiating with terrorists.

  34. 34 Janet T
    May 22, 2008 at 17:51

    @ Steve- I know we cannot rewrite history- but if we had treated Germany better after WW1, rather than punishing them- Hitler with all of his fatherland rhetoric probably would have never come into power in the first place.
    Do you think Germany should have been attacked before they took Poland?

  35. 35 Eric - melbourne beach, florida
    May 22, 2008 at 17:53

    i am 56 years old and have spent over 40 years studying all aspect of communist ideology. i am a trained sovietologist, having immersed myself in the history and core values of the communist party of the soviet union (cpsu). the first tenant is to use all means necessary to defeat your ideological enemy, including deceit. the ruler of iran, who is not ahmadinejad, but ayatollah ali khamenei was educated at the university of moscow when it was under ideological direction of the cpsu. anyone who thinks they can negotiate with iran on the basis of shared interests must first define what iran’s interests are. does iran share interests with the free world in regard to the middle east: no. the civilized world seeks a stable, democratic middle east. iran seeks a middle east beholden to sharia law and the destruction of israel. khamenei will use any level of deceit to gain his ends: lying to those who do not adhere to the sharia is encouraged and blessed according to the tenent! s of the islamic law. there is no reason to talk until the shared interests coincide, and that will not happen until the ayatollahs change the iranian constitution so that it is not tied to the sharia.

  36. 36 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 17:55

    @ Janet

    The losers of wars always get punished. It happens. Germany was treated no worse than other losers in history. In fact, back in the Roman era, you would kill all the males and enslave the women and children. Things could have been worse for Germany.

    Knowing the contents of Mein Kampf, yes, I think Germany should have been attacked before Sept. 1, 1939, and probably earlier, when they took the Czech Republic and Austria, confirming hitler’s aspirations. He stated them openly in his book.

  37. 37 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    May 22, 2008 at 17:55

    Diplomacy is not the same as appeasement. The United Stated was using diplomacy with Japan before the attack on Pearl Harbor. That lead us into WW2. Diplomacy with Iran may be a long shot and should NOT be done unless there are preconditions. I do not believe it will ever happen because Irans goverement is not willing to meet others half way. We all have to come to the point were we understand that a new Cold War is on its way. Westeren societies VS Eastern societies. Do others agree we could see another Cold War?


  38. 38 Helen (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 17:56

    This question concerns the military response versus negotiations in Iraq. This is the kernal of the issue in American politics, centering on the position troop withdrawal or not. Unfortunately, in this context, we cannot have diplomatic relations; the enemy is an enemy we don’t know. The terrorists doing sneak attacks to murder large numbers of civilians do not have recognized diplomats or recognized nation standing. What J.F.Kennedy & R.Reagan did does not apply in 2008. They spoke to Russia and China.

  39. 39 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 17:57

    No politician, government is truly capable of appeasement as the meaning of word has in it ‘pacify’. That’s not to say they’re always capable of diplomacy but there is really only dominance or submission beyond that. Politicians will sink to a level far below appeasement in the quest for dominance and giving in to submission:

    Some examples: Bush in Iraq or Afghanistan – needs no explanation.

    Olmert in Syria is doing it under a pretext of peace negotiations but his covert motives are to keep his dignity while under the threat of indictment that will force him out of office.

    In Lebanon the government is trying to appease the people by negotiating with hezbollah but in reality it’s vying for the security it can’t give.

  40. 40 devadas.v - Kerala, India (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:00

    what the government says ignore but what it doesnt say is to be deciphered and acted upon. if so this whole diplomacy and appeasement issue can be tackled in a better way ..or else the dividing lines are so visible that there is no way diplomacy and appeasement can coexist as far as the government is concerned – but when we can all clearly identify the motives of the government first this issue can be tackled effectively.

  41. 41 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 18:07

    Appeasing the government of Myanmar for instance is a complete illusion that’s been tried recently. But the regime is so far beyond rational; there can’t be any appeasement just submission. Regimes, all terrorists, are never going to be appeased. The claim that they could be is just an excuse to wage more war in avoidance of any real solutions such as economic sanctions.

  42. 42 Denise - San Francisco (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:15

    Bush’s sheer arrogance is appalling. No country wants to be occupied and just as people is the U.S. would fight to the last to rid ourselves of an occupier so too other countries. While we fiddle thousands of people die. Is that how you win a war? Kill everyone in sight including your own soldiers.

    I trust the Iraqis to solve their own problems once the U.S. is out of the way. All the problems stem from our invasion and continued occupation.

  43. 43 Paulo
    May 22, 2008 at 18:16

    Diplomacy becomes appeasement when there is an unearned sense of trust in the enemies you’re dealing with and when you give so much that you’ve compromised your own values and security. However, if you remain wary and forceful in your negotiations, you can achieve your goals peacefully without fear that you are simply giving in to a duplicitous enemy.

    Peace and war are both things that must be pursued vigorously. Fighting half a war will be disastrous as half-heartedly pursuing peace. This is exactly what the USA and Israel have been doing up to this point with their common enemies in the region. They must either commit to genuinely trying to make peace (with a healthy dose of skepticism and vigilance), or attempt to fight a decisive war against their enemies. In the interim, all that happens is people die needlessly. Ignoring your enemies doesn’t make them to go away.

    And as far the President’s conduct at the Knesset goes, that is what we’ve come to expect from this man. He shames this nation with these sleazy tactics, and considering these are his last few months, it’s this kind of bluster and baffoonery that he will be remembered for. He seems to have assumed that history will judge him poorly and has thus decided to behave like a child before the entire world. Between his tap dancing at the White House, Dr. Evil impressions and sniping domestic Presidential candidates in front of a foreign legislative body, he has certainly secured his place as a national disgrace.

    New Jersey, USA

  44. May 22, 2008 at 18:16

    You Have to NEGOCIATE before you can APPEASE (Georgie, you moron).
    Besides: G.W. Bush (and his pals Dickie, Condie, and Donnie) are the worst, and most lethal, terrorists I can think of, and we “appeased” them. We’ve let them run off a start two wars (for profit), and we stand on the brinnk of a third.
    So what’s their problem?

  45. 45 Nathan - Chicago, Illinois (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:16

    I see G.W. Bush’s comments about Diplomacy with the religious extremist around the world similar to that of negotiating with a terrorist. The policy of the U.S. and other powerful countries is that we DO NOT negotiate to terrorists demands. Doing so would set a standard of push us so far and we’ll give in. The floodgates would open and allow countries/groups who have the slightest bit of animosity towards America to use extreme tactics for their own gain.

  46. 46 Kate - Berkeley California (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:19

    Only someone irrationally committed to an indefensible position would call deplomacy appeasement.

    Appeasement in 1939 was giving in. There was no problem with the discussion.

  47. May 22, 2008 at 18:19

    @ Helen

    Your point about the terrorists is noted. Indeed, I would have to say I agree insofar as they do not have national standing and are often not seen from or heard until they are bombing and creating havoc. However, I do believe that diplomacy can still and does work in terms of giving the impression of openness. The problems for me is when we get into isolantionism, embargos and pre-emptive strikes, as well as the justification for a war that seems, in retrospect, largely unjustified, to say nothing of the economic, social and politcal costs.

    I think we should not confuse the issue of being a war context, immediately, and using diplomacy to alter international perceptions about specific countries. As it stands, currently, there is a sense in which America is playing hard ball and is absolutely unwilling to budge in some respects on a number of these issues. That is where the reaction often comes and, in some instances, is “justified” on the pretext that America is a bully. That image can certainly change through the use of diplomacy.

    By suggesting that talking to the enemy is absolutely out of the question gives the impression of a government who, regardless of circumstances, does not see a value in softening this image abroad. Softening here does not equate with soft, as there is, undoubtedly, a real need to appear strong in many instances, if even to keep potential threats away. Still, no discussion is, ultimately, worse than some discussions with preconditions and an active move towards resolving some of the more outward signs of hostility…Just a thought!

  48. 48 Hilary (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:19

    appeasement is what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did when she said “Impeachment is off the table”.

  49. 49 Tom - Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:21

    How ironic that Bush mentioned Hitlers invasion of Poland when Bush comitted the same War Crime when he invaded Iraq, a War of Aggression as defined by The Greatest Generation at the Nuremberg trials!

    Bush and Hitler, they’re two peas in a pod, War Criminals!

  50. 50 Wil -- Traverse City, Mich.(usa) (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:24

    You Have to NEGOTIATE before you can APPEASE (Georgie, you moron).
    Besides: G.W. Bush (and his pals Dickie, Condie, and Donnie) are the worst, and most lethal, terrorists I can think of, and we “appeased” them. We’ve let them run off a start two wars (for profit), and we stand on the brinnk of a third.
    So what’s their problem?

  51. 51 Peter Noordijk
    May 22, 2008 at 18:25

    The lesson of appeasement from WWII is completely ignored. Britain and France were in no position to coerce Hitler in 1938. They were buying time to catch up with Hitler’s build-up, not appeasing. They had no choice. This is the bogus argument that is trotted out to slight political rivals and appeal to hawks.

    Diplomacy happens on many levels. By talking to irrational actors in international relations a leader can demonstrate to potential allies that the actor is irrational. And gain cooperation from other countries.

    Refusing to talk to Iran or Syria or N. Korea has gained the U.S. nothing, and our rash actions elsewhere has exhausted our soft power and influence.

    Terrorists, and even state actors like Iran, Syria, or N. Korea have a fraction of the relative power that Hitler had, so cooperation and coordination can be effective, if legitimately attempted.

  52. 52 Ian from Arizona
    May 22, 2008 at 18:26

    Diplomacy (or “talking” as some post have labeled it) has never leads to war.

    “Talking” to Germany and Japan did not lead to World War II. Germany was using war to rebuild their country and Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to keep us out of their way in the Pacific. Their goals were set; talking did not lead to war.

    The Europeans did not try diplomacy with Hitler, they appeased him in order to avoid war. Britain, France, and other admitted Hitler was stronger and gave in.

    This is not diplomacy.

    Diplomacy is the attempt to avoid war. When diplomacy fails, war results. Why should anyone, or any government, be afraid to try to avoid war?

    For those that say diplomacy is appeasement admits that they are weak. Appeasement is giving in to a stronger power. If President Bush thinks that diplomacy is appeasement than he admits that he is weak and is incapable of creating peace.

  53. 53 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 18:27

    The current lame US administration interests are so far astray from any real objective in the quest for oil that they’ll use anything as an excuse. Including, not appeasing, but rooting out insurgents that is by far not a commitment by the government, it’s merely a means to an end. For Bush that’s his end, regardless of what the ultimate result is for Iraq. Bush will leave office having done only enough to secure that the US won’t appease the governments of the countries America’s been occupying. He is not a diplomat, he’s a dictator.

  54. 54 Chicago
    May 22, 2008 at 18:27

    Terrorism is an ends to a means. Extermists WANT to be heard. Terrorist actions are designed to get attention. Terrorists are not a race or a tribe or a person, it’s a ideal. No amount of active military violence will bomb the ideals out of people. Acknowleding and ignoring their actions is appeasment. Addressing their issues is diplomacy.

  55. 55 jakeboy
    May 22, 2008 at 18:28

    Someone should remind George Bush, that his father, along with William Casey, was busy talking to the Iranians, while they held American hostages, in the fall of 1980, in order to ensure that they would NOT release those hostages before the
    elections in November, letting Ronald Reagun and the early NeoCons slither into
    the White House, where they established the foundations of their power.
    They appeased the Iranians, by promising to sell them arms after Reagan’s inauguration in their fabulous Iran-Contra money&guns scheme.
    I’m sure that Cheney and Rumsfeld were involved in there somewhere.
    With the record of the current administration, destroying U.S stature around the
    world for generations to come, they have no basis from which to criticize anyone’s
    efforts at diplomacy. It will take us years and years to recover from the damage that
    they have done, and I am glad that our Lame Duck has fewer than 250 days till he
    can return to drinkin’ and clearin’ brush in Texas, permanently.

    -jsc in Oregon

  56. 56 ERIC - Canton, Ohio (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:28

    The world should marginalize George W. Bush, not pay attention to him.

    What he’s doing trying to dominate the middle east bears resemblance to what Hitler tried to do in Europe.

    Bush and his ilk are war criminals and the world needs to focus on how to get the whole bunch on trial. What they say doesn’t matter.

  57. 57 Michael Kemper
    May 22, 2008 at 18:31

    In this discussion, George Bush is a red herring, because without fear, George Bush is nothing. He depends upon fear and it’s continual feeding, to get the American people, and the world, to go along with his criminal policies.

  58. 58 joe
    May 22, 2008 at 18:32

    Just who has Iran attacked in the last many years?
    Iraq attacked Iran with the U.S. encouragment.
    The U. S. attacked Iraq illegally.
    The U. S. has attacked many countries.
    Iran threatens Israel for sure but has not attacked them.

    Who is appeasing whom?
    I think the U.S. is almost always is the agressor and the U.S. always seeks appeasment from the other countries.

    If you look at the U.S. appeasing other countries you have it all wrong unless you consider how we reacted to the bombing of the U.S.S. Liberty e by Israel or the U.S.S. Stark by Iraq when we were supporting those nations in their agressive behavior towards other nations.

    The U.S.S. is a bully nation!

  59. 59 Allan, Ohio (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:33

    I do believe, based on your guests definitions, the whole world will have to resort to appeasement, unless we find a comparable fuel alternative to oil.

  60. 60 BUGANDA
    May 22, 2008 at 18:33

    Thanx BBC!

    We should all talk to each other LWAYS!!!! regarding Iran one should alsoconsider the situation iran finds itself -America has forced its neighbournes on Iran by occuppying Iraq and Afhaganistan-how would the states react should russia come to camp in both canada and Mexico!!!-


  61. 61 Tom - Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:34

    Let’s note that Bush childishly threw his WMDs tantrums and refused to talk with the Weapons Inspectors about Iraq and so ended up with the idiotic and illegal invasion of Iraq and the consequent waste of lives, money, and US credibliity, and honor.

  62. 62 Paulo
    May 22, 2008 at 18:34

    Not only military might, but indeed any form of strength must be considered to back up diplomacy. There has to be consequences for your enemies for a failure to reach an agreement and an understanding that a betrayal of any agreement that might be reached could result in war.

    The use of these preconditions, however, is totally absurd. The United States in its dealing with Iran have effectively said: “Give us everything we want, and then we’ll talk about what you want.” You can’t have diplomacy that way. It’s completely ridiculous, and no country on Earth would have incentive to agree to such terms. A proposal like that is a way to say to YOUR people that you at least tried in order to cover yourself for when you either A) do nothing, or B) attack that enemy. The currently policy seems to be to do the former.

    New Jersey, USA

  63. 63 Daniel in Germany (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:35

    President John F. Kennedy said “We should never fear to negotiate – but we should never negotiate for fear.” Why do we not just stick to that towards everyone? Appeasement comes out of Fear!

  64. 64 Fred (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:37

    I am a black man living in london and do not trust the USA and Israel – Just who have Iran ever invaded? – And then look at how many times the USA has arrogantly swaggered around the world causing death and destruction. I do not trust the USA – their motives are always dishonroble and money orientated

  65. 65 BUGANDA
    May 22, 2008 at 18:37

    Thanx BBC!

    We should all talk to each other- A LWAYS!!!! regarding Iran one should alsoconsider the situation iran finds itself -America has forced its neighbournes on Iran by occuppying Iraq and Afhaganistan-how would the states react should Russia come to camp in both canada and Mexico!!!-


  66. 66 Max - San Francisco (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:39


    Which country has been the aggressor in recent history? President Bush has invaded and occupied 2 of Iran’s neighbors. The comparison to world war 2 would only be legitimate if the roles were reversed. The US has shown they will invade middle eastern countries, Iran only talks tough because their back is to the wall. They are the ones that should worry about appeasing President Bush.

  67. 67 Texts to World Have Your Say
    May 22, 2008 at 18:39

    Hana in Prague texts
    Talking is always good. It’s action that can turn into unpardonable appeasement, like sacrificing parts of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis.

    Banks in Amsterdam texts
    Perhaps if you talk to these people intelligently, they won’t become terrorists in the first place.

    Muhammed in Ghana
    Syria should not make any peace deal with ISRAEL until Israel withdraw all her troops from the Gollan-heights.

  68. 68 Erin
    May 22, 2008 at 18:39

    The situation our country faces now is unprecedented. Therefore, we cannot use the same methods we have always used. What we need is diplomacy that works towards global understanding, but that is backed by military power. Certainly our enemies back up their stances with military action. We cannot ignore the fact that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah exist as popular movements when we seek for a solution that will truly solve the concerns of the people.

  69. 69 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 18:40

    Wil F- Your point would be true in a perfect world – that you could negotiate to appease. You’re right that Bush never had any interest in negotiation. That’s not how corrupt governments work and America is the prime example. Bush isn’t capable of diplomacy so he’ll make up the excuse that he won’t appease; that subjugates his ‘enemies’ to his agenda which calls only for the use of force. And his enemies will always respond to that kind of flagrant provocation with more force. On and on that broken cycle would go without real diplomacy.

  70. 70 Laurence, Portland, Oregon
    May 22, 2008 at 18:40

    The war mongers don’t want to talk to anyone who they cannot control.
    Instead they want to demonize others, and turn disagreement into conflict. In a nation that values free speech, and expression of differing ideas, we should apply the values of open communication with those around the world who we don’t agree with always. We might find more common ground, which would never be found if we take the patronizing approach of never talking.

  71. 71 Elizabeth in Bozeman, Montana (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:41

    Why accept the straw man Bush has presented on his terms? To make the Nazi Germany parallel–there is ONLY ONE invader occupier here–and that is the USA–they invaded a soveriegn country for spurious reasons–not tyrants & terrorists but for oil and Imperialism–

    his comments recently are strictly for domestic consumption and the ploicy of fear and fascism he promotes-he hopes this will prevent electoral debacle we pray is coming up for Republicans this Fall-

    why appease George Bush et al? That is what this conversation should really be about-

  72. May 22, 2008 at 18:44

    HEY — Reagan “negotiated” with the Iranian “Terrorists” in ’80 and ’81!
    And the Sandanista’s, and Contra’s, who fought freedom for a decade. NOT fought FOR freedom; they Fought Freedom.
    And they’re pretty free now, huh.

  73. 73 Venessa
    May 22, 2008 at 18:44

    Isn’t the point of diplomacy to find a common ground and hopefully negotiate a compromise that both parties can agree to. Both parties may not get everything they want but they both walk away with what they need instead of one party just conceding to a bully.

    Evidently others think war is more effective although I fail to see the benefit.

  74. May 22, 2008 at 18:45

    Per your caller on at :43 minutes

    So talking to an opposing party implies ignorance?!

    Whoa… I see.

    So ignoring people makes you smarter then right?
    That makes Bush a genius!

    I’m failing to see the logic there.

  75. 75 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 18:46

    @ Laurence

    “The war mongers don’t want to talk to anyone who they cannot control.
    Instead they want to demonize others, and turn disagreement into conflict. In a nation that values free speech, and expression of differing ideas, we should apply the values of open communication with those around the world who we don’t agree with always. We might find more common ground, which would never be found if we take the patronizing approach of never talking.”

    I presume you are referring to a group like Hamas. Given they don’t value free speech, how do you suppose talking to them will accomplish anything? Hamas banned pornographic websites in Gaza.


    Next, Hamas is an ISLAMIST group. They will NEVER recognize or make peace with Israel. It’s more likely they would drink alcohol, have strip clubs, a thriving porn industry, eat pork, than they would recognize and make peace with israel. Hence, as a result of this, there is no point in talking with them.

  76. 76 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 18:48

    @ Elizabeth:

    “Why accept the straw man Bush has presented on his terms? To make the Nazi Germany parallel–there is ONLY ONE invader occupier here–and that is the USA–they invaded a soveriegn country for spurious reasons–not tyrants & terrorists but for oil and Imperialism–”

    Actually Elizabeth, multiple countries were involved in the invasion. You remember Britain? Poland? Denmark? Spain?

  77. 77 Walter (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:50

    Good evening,

    I’m a Libertarian American, and I have a serious issue with people (Americans in general) that equate diplomacy to appeasement. Appeasement was letting Germany make advances into other nations without any sort of consequence. Appeasement was letting Hitler remilitarize regions that he was specifically forbidden to remilitarize. Forgive me, I’m listening to this while writing, and I heard Bob talk about Obama not being willing to use military power…Obama has NEVER taken military action off of the table, so perhaps he should be more informed before he makes such ignorant comments.

    Going back to my original point, appeasement was giving Germany and Italy carte blanche to do whatever they wanted in Africa and Europe in the run-up to WW2. Diplomacy is negotiation, which doesn’t necessarily include caving in to principle beliefs. Now, I know that Bush and a lot of his supporters can’t wrap their minds around talking to their enemies first, instead of instantly using military force, but you would think that in a time that Americans are increasingly opposing our “shoot first, ask questions later” stance, that we would try harder to talk to our enemies. Of course, I’m sure that all of these people suggesting a hard line against Iran are already in the military, fighting in either Afghanistan or Iraq, right?

    As a last point, if we’re not willing to negotiate with terrorists, or talk to nations like Cuba as a result of their human rights violations, then why is it that we associate with Saudi Arabia and China?

  78. 78 Literate
    May 22, 2008 at 18:50

    1. Iran has the right to pursue nuclear energy technology under the NNPT which the United States has signed, and is legally bound to observe.
    2. Iran has offered to curtail even the peaceful nuclear program it has the legal right to pursue, in exchange for normalized diplomatic relations with Washington, D.C.
    3. Condoleezza first denied receipt of that offer. Later, when evidence of the message was published in the press, she revised her story to say that the offer “was not taken seriously.”
    4. Ahmadinejad has no foreign policy power, but the Bush administration quotes him as the voice of Iran.
    5. Scott Ritter, former Iraq weapons inspector, has demolished the case that Iran poses a credible threat to the United States, or even wants to.

    Conclusion: Bush and his appointees are too incompetent in the use of “soft power” to compete with intelligent politicians in either party. In their political life as in their business careers, they have no demonstrated ability to profit, except via military brute force.

    ~Portland, OR

  79. May 22, 2008 at 18:50

    “Why should we be talking to people who want to kill us?”

    Are you serious?!

    Obvious answer: To sit down and find a way to get them to stop wanting to kill us? To also resolve our differences?

    Then again, why do that when we can just bomb them and not have to bother with all that pesky exchange of words. /sarcasm

  80. 80 Joseph (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:51

    I think it takes a tremendous amount of hubris and dulusional thinking to have a discussion about appeasement from the perspective of the largest military and economic power on the planet. The only nation that has a carte blanche to engage in open, unwarranted aggression, blantantly interfere in the internal politics of other nations, invade, occupy and destabalize without retribution. This appeasement talk is cover for the true crime that is enraging the west. The ultimate crime in the modern world, that cannot be tolerated and is considered appeasement if it is, is to not blindly obey the will of the US and it’s Western allies.

  81. 81 Tom O - Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:52

    I find the Bush doctrine of diplomacy as a last resort completely ridiculous.

  82. 82 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 18:52

    @ Brett

    I think they are referring to irrational people who want to kill you for religious reasons. Changing their mind will happen the day pork becomes kosher. not gonna happen when you’re dealing with crazies.

  83. 83 Tom D - Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:52

    If you don’t talk to people how do you know what they want? Bush keeps attributing motives to people that are obviously made out of thin air and acting as if they are real. Talkng to people can bring folks like Bush back to reality and actually prevent wars.

    Talking is inexpensive to do and war is very very expensive, not talking is a false economy.

  84. 84 Zak
    May 22, 2008 at 18:52

    I disagree with not listening to Iran, and that in general involves talking, sometimes talking is listening. If 60 minutes can get an interview with the president, and he can speak at American UVs then clearly they want to be heard. There’s nothing wrong with continually asking them to talk to us until they put something reasonable on the table like acknowledging the country of Israel. He was repeatedly asked this by the college students and he refused to do it – but you can bet he’d come back again if offered. And if they continue to refuse your principles then keep an open dialog- in silence. That’s the true role of a diplomat who uses that silence as part of the conversation. Silence can even become sanctions, or it can lead to results.

  85. May 22, 2008 at 18:53

    Hallelujah Brett!
    I could not have said it any better.

  86. 86 Wil - Traverse City, Mich.(usa) (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:54

    sure do wish you people,(the general media), would stop CONFUSING what George Bush says as what America says, or thinks, or even wants. I want none of the same things that fool wants, and he does not speak for me. Or a great many of us, me thinks.

  87. 87 Fred (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:54

    Its funny how democracy is only acceptable when the people vote for the person who the west wants in power.

    Hamas was voted into power by the people –

    The white man wants all the power and the money

  88. 88 Tom O - Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:55

    Just because you sit down with someone, does not mean that you are giving something up. The idea that it always results in appeasement is more fear mongering.

  89. 89 Jacques KO from Boston (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:56

    Diplomacy is the tool of “The Strong And Wise Man”, someone who can be in the adversary’s shoes and find a way to make the adversary be in your shoes, then find a common ground and compromise. The weak and idiot just wants to show his teeth and muscle.

  90. 90 Paulo
    May 22, 2008 at 18:56

    Well, if you’re not going to talk to people are “trying to kill us”, then you have to destroy them. You have to commit yourself to their destruction and pursue that goal vigorously to bring that violence to a conclusion as swiftly as possible. Except that’s not what is being done either.

    What is being done is simply pretending as though the other group doesn’t exist. George Bush, standing before the Knesset, made the argument that sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears is a policy. Hamas is not being dismantled. Hezbollah’s not being dismantled. Iran’s nuclear facilities are intact and functioning. True, the West has placed sanctions and blocked shipments of supplies, but that doesn’t matter as much to a group of people who aren’t dependent upon you. Threats of sanctions are MUCH more useful against people you already trade with than placing new sanctions on a country you haven’t been trading with. Sanctions simply give the leaders of said country an easy scapegoat. If the people are suffering, they can say it’s your fault. And technically, they’re right!

    War and diplomacy must both be pursued vigorously and seriously. If you can’t or won’t destroy your enemy, you must pursue diplomacy and be ready for some concessions.

    New Jersey, USA

  91. 91 Adam from Washington, DC
    May 22, 2008 at 18:56

    Terrorists want to destroy the West because we don’t attempt to understand (or talk with) them. Angry nations are angry because they feel they’re not being heard; frustration ensues, transforms into anger, followed by the creation (or stengthening) of terrorist organizations, and the terror is spread without empathy. Without the perception that the US is listening to other countries with empathy, the US will be stamped with the all-too-common title of “bully”

  92. 92 Irv - San Francisco (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:57

    Negotiating with fanatics who claim to have God on their side is doomed to failure from the get go. Religious fanatics on any side are simply incapable or unwilling to compromise the word or interpretation of their God! For them, its all or nothing.

  93. 93 Chuck Smith (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:57

    the doom of man is something that needs to be remembered and recognized. diplomacy is the ultimate neccesity. But nieve ideaology has destroyed negotiations thru out history. Talk is meaningless if the alternative has no teeth.

  94. 94 Matt in Portland, Oregon (via email)
    May 22, 2008 at 18:58

    “Wars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.” – Machiavelli

    Diplomacy however can end when either party wishes. It is crucial that diplomacy be the first and most important option when dealing with conflicts. Sometimes diplomacy fails but the costs of diplomacy are always less than the costs of war.

  95. 95 Darin in the USA
    May 22, 2008 at 19:00

    I’m no fan of George Bush and his agenda is flawed, perhaps even criminal but people have been mentioning that Hamas and Hezbollah are elected representatives in their respective constituencies. We have to remember that the Nazis were also elected to power by popular vote before they revealed their true agenda and moved to outlaw other parties and declare war on the free world.

    Hamas and Hezbollah, even Iran have made no secret of their wish to destroy Israel, they have shown no interest in changing that stance. Talking to any of these groups will achieve nothing other than buying them more time to stockpile more weaponry and formulate their plans to invade Israel and dominate the Middle east.

    It’s just sad that the Arab street looks up to, even idolizes these trio of evil, I don’t see any end in sight to the deep rooted historical mess that exists in that part of the world

  96. May 22, 2008 at 19:01

    Amen, Chicago! Amen, Ian From Arizona!

    The notion that apeasing terrorists is akin to the use of diplomacy as a way of averting potential/ future wars is absolutely ridiculous. As Chicago noted terrorism is an ideal and no amount of bombing and tough talking/ political posturing will change how people really feel. To the extent that such feelings might push people to committ acts of terrorism suggests that diplomacy is a more meaningful response as it gives hope that real issues and concerns will be addressed over time.

    The real answer for me rests in a lasting committment to working to arrest the potential threats of terrorism by giving people hope in the future; that there is some way in which they can work together to become stronger rather than isolated, weaker and apart. Nothing like resentment and hate to fuel feelings of bitterness and fear which ultimately result in the needless deaths and destruction of wars and terrorist actions.

    Leadership has to have more moral integrity than ridiculing likely solutions on the premise that they are about seeking real solutions to peace rather than finding every way to remain at war as a means of regulating the world based on very narrow political/ personal agendas. These are often not in the best interests of the majority.

  97. 97 Dennis :)
    May 22, 2008 at 19:04

    That is not the place nor time, to say that Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) would appease….Barack is correct to a point that we need to talk to our enemies [with many conditions] and also to our friends.

    Thanks to the Government of Turkey for playing a role in the Diplomatic Role as negotiator….

    Sunday, is the big day!
    I hope that it will work out and Peace will be back in Lebanon!

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  98. 98 Adam from Washington, DC
    May 22, 2008 at 19:05

    If they’re religious fanatics then negotiations will likely fail, but the REAL problem is that the government is attempting to descredit the entire concept of “talking.”

  99. May 22, 2008 at 19:09

    An excellent example of appeasment is our treatment of Israel. While it is in violation of over twenty UN resolutions regarding its military occupation and colonization policies, we heap accolades and praise while not demanding its following of these legal demands. Appeasement in its worst manifestation.


  100. 100 Rick Craiger
    May 22, 2008 at 19:11

    We fear what we don’t know. If you have a rifle in your hand and you encounter a squirrel, you’re likely to shoot it. If you have nuts in your hand and you encounter a squirrel, you are likely to toss one to the squirrel.

    The people of Iran have embraced western ways. They do not hate us. Let’s not give them reason to. Let’s not confuse political leaders with the moral majority (or we’ll all be seen as supporting the imperialistic attack on Iraq).

    I work with people fighting over water, very real concerns to people who depend on it for commondity production and for those who want fish species to survive. The only progress I have seen is when we get those people in a room and talk about values vs. issues. Common ground can be reached when people know and trust each other rather than threaten each other. President Bush does not see diplomacy for what it is. Sanctions do not influence people positively. Dropping bombs on people does not influence people positively.

  101. May 22, 2008 at 19:16

    @ Irv,

    That is a point well worth remembering. However, let us also not forget the extent to which the Western media are, largely, complicit in the constructions of the East a place in which religion is all people know and are unwilling to compromise their views of the world as per these ideas, as a resut. That is tantamount to villifying religion and religious people everywhere, but more importantly, it also serves the other purpose of pitting East against West in a perenial struggle to death.

    By so doing, the Orient becomes a site of Western fear and anxieties; a place in which religious right has greatest say over and above the values of a more secular and, presumably, tolerant and open West. I am not so sure that that is either true, or an always accurate view of the rest of the world. Indeed, this creates an ideal environment in which fighting seems all the more acceptable than talking to each other and negotiating to achieve meaningful peace deals with real solutions and true commitment from all the parties.

  102. 102 Adam from Washington, DC
    May 22, 2008 at 19:16

    And the other problem is this: the members of terrorist organizations represent only a tiny portion of a nation’s actual citizens. For instance, the majority of youth in Iran (which make up a massive portion of the total population) are Muslims who dislike terrorists, dislike their own governmental structure (b/c it’s so socially repressive), and instead they support their nation’s attempt to obtain a nuclear weapon because they feel it will help them gain more respect and recognition from the global audience. They don’t want these weapons to be used, but they don’t want the West to be able to walk around with sole discretion over who obtains a nuclear weapon. It’s the whole idea that “the West knows best” that irks everyone around the world. Frankly, it would piss me off too.

  103. 103 Literate
    May 22, 2008 at 19:18

    Steve, the nations that followed us into Iraq did so on cherry-picked evidence, presented by Bush-Cheney as the whole story. While parts of it were true, the conclusions drawn from it were demonstrably false, and known so at that time.

    “Actually Elizabeth, multiple countries were involved in the invasion. You remember Britain? Poland? Denmark? Spain?”

    And, debate strengthens democracy. Bush is opposed.

  104. 104 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 19:20

    @ Mike

    “An excellent example of appeasment is our treatment of Israel. Appeasement in its worst manifestation.”

    Worse than that was done with Hitler? Or care to restate your comment?

  105. 105 Literate
    May 22, 2008 at 19:24

    Steve, Hitler is dead. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. Giving Israel a perpetual free pass is appeasement.

  106. 106 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 19:27

    @ Literate

    So nobody can use example from the past if someone is dead? Who said anything about antisemitism?

    Israel has a perpetual free pass? I tought the US and the world begged Israel to stop beating the arabs in the 1967 war. Why is the US pressuring Israel to negotiate if Israel has a free pass? Why does Israel constantly get attacked if Israel has a free pass? Don’t they know about this free pass you talk about?

  107. May 22, 2008 at 19:31

    @ Adam in DC
    If they’re religious fanatics then negotiations will likely fail, but the REAL problem is that the government is attempting to descredit the entire concept of “talking.”

    Thats exactly what I was trying to say, just couldn’t think of how to word it!

  108. 108 Adam from Washington, DC
    May 22, 2008 at 19:35

    I agree with Rick, sitting down and talking is still one of the best ways for human beings to obtain mutual understanding (or at least work through an issue). Both parties can look/listen to each other while talking. Sending threats long-distance de-humanizes the negotiation process and aggravates many situations. Frankly, I believe that when a relationship between two nations is good, all that’s necessary is for them to occasionally check in and acknowledge each other; however, when a relationship is crap, a “talkfest” must be waged by the decision-makers themselves (and intermediaries largely abandoned), so that a leader can literally be seen making an enormous effort to reach out.

    (On a side note, if anyone has ever gotten into an unintended fight or argument with a friend/partner/spouse over the computer (via email, instant messenger, etc.), you probably know that talking through such an impersonal medium can aggravate the other person/situation so much that you’re virtually required to meet with him/her face-to-face in order to explain yourself and salvage things.)

  109. 109 Literate
    May 22, 2008 at 19:39

    “If you engage a world power or a rival, it doesn’t mean you agree with them or subscribe with what they believe or you support them in any way,” he said. “What it does tell you is that you’ve got a problem you need to resolve. And you’ve got to understand the other side and the other side has got to understand you.”


  110. 110 viola anderson
    May 22, 2008 at 19:49

    I think people are missing the point that if–IF–Obama becomes president of the U.S., he will be commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation on earth at this time and his primary duty will be to protect the U.S. and its peoples against those who would harm them. In my opinion, he shows the intelligence to know this and would probably learn very quickly exactly what that means even if he is not faced with a major attack on the country as George Bush was early in his presidency.

    If it requires diplomacy, he will use diplomacy and will certainly absorb the lessons of past successes and failures. That must be the hope of the American people if they elect him to the highest office in the land.

    The same is true, I believe, for John McCain and Hilary Clinton, should either of them be elected. All three are very strong candidates.

    The program was very interesting today and I note several points that may bear repeating:

    1. Two or more parties must agree that they want to come to an agreement

    2. Speak softly but carry a big stick. Teddy Roosevelt, a past American president, originally said this.

    3. Diplomacy must be backed by power.

    4. Giving something and getting nothing in return is appeasement.

    5. Throwing others to the crocodile, hoping to save yourself (country, gov’t) is appeasement.


  111. 111 viola anderson
    May 22, 2008 at 20:00

    Those of you who believe World War II could have been prevented had Germany not been so foully treated after they lost WW I are possibly correct and it is one of the items identified in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer (Hope I got his name right).

    The other item Mr. Shirer identified was the failure of the Allies to enforce on Germany the terms of surrender having to do with Germany re-arming after the war.

    The combination of a devastated economy after World War I which led Germans to embrace Hitler’s actions to restore the economy by defying the allies’ with regard to re-arming, and the scapegoating of certain groups within Germany resulted in another world war when Germany sought to expand militarily.

  112. 112 Adam from Washington, DC
    May 22, 2008 at 20:08

    Darin, I don’t think that Arab countries “look up to” Iran, Hezbollah, etc. I think they simply see them as the only ones making a determined stand against the West. This doesn’t imply that they agree with the way in which Iran, etc. are making their stand, it simply indicates that they can’t yet figure out how they would better approach the situation. And there’s a feeling of hopelessness that is infused in every attempt to negotiate, as well as every effort by Middle Eastern nations to join forces with each other and agree on a mutual message to present to the world.

  113. 113 John LaGrua/New York
    May 22, 2008 at 20:43

    Bush speach in Jerusalem was classic appeasement ,pandering to the US Isreal Lobby at home while accusing “Others” less enlightened than he of weakness.As Mort Saul ,an American satirist would say,”Mr. President that was a great speech If you are a 12 year old.”One could envision a lesson the night before :Laura : “Georgie we have a new word tomorrow,Appeasement,.Say appeezment ,very good”Georgie.Don’t worry ,no one will expect you to know what it means”Another Jewish wag put it :”The Isrealis know he is a dunce but he is their dunce.”! Civilized nations applaud diplomacy since it seeks rational solutions to problems which naturally arise .The 20th century was violent as a result of the clash of imperial nations which resulted in the defeat of some and bankruptcy of others.It spawned the US as a superpower and Zionist colonialism in the Mid East. ,Churchill said it best: “Better Talk,Talk than War,War.The Iraq quagmire shows that muscle bound policies are no match for artfull discussion and negotiation in good faith.The next US president will need an Olympic class team to champion fairness and decency in its international role.and end this belligerent attitude that those who don’t agree with us are our sworn enemies .That has been the poisonous doctrine of the Neo-cons and Bush.

  114. 114 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 22, 2008 at 21:16

    As we all believe in Democrasy why not conduct a refrendom on Isriel issue, I hope Isriel, USA & EU must not agree on Democratic openion though they push Democracy as end of the world.
    If we dont believe in Democratic public openion why not we mind our own business policy.
    If we want to be big dady, dont want to respect Democrative public openion , want to support Crime against humanity & dont want to pay the price sound illegal. unhuman, immoral & unjustified may be calling forcefull closure of injustice, immoral, illegal & unhuman corrupt enterprise.
    Obiously we are incompetant to resolve the issue on table & battlefield, do we need to understand ourself.

  115. 115 steve
    May 22, 2008 at 21:42

    @ John Lagrua

    ” Zionist colonialism in the Mid East”????? Israel, including the occupied territories is less than 1% of the middle east. If they are “imperialists” then they’re really bad at it, aren’t they? After all, Sinai was twice the size of Israel and israel gave that back to Egype.

  116. May 23, 2008 at 00:39

    to Steve, John, and Literate, Israel’s occupation and colonialism is exactly what it is. No more no less. whether it’s on 1% of the planet or not. People (homo sapiens just like Israelis) are displaced and discriminated against. Not a recipe for peaceful co-existence. Yet we appease and ignore their transgressions. The Israel lobby is powerful indeed but is no real friend of peace loveing Israelis, and there are plenty of them. What is constantly forgotten is the Geneva accords of 2003, the current Arab Peace initiative and cease fire proposals from Hamas. To not speak to them is clear evidence of an unwillingness to take the possibilities of peace seriously. I guess it’s really difficult when you posess nukes and all manner of arms and have the world’s most powerful nation as your unquestioning buddy heaping praise and adulation while you proceed with a sixty year old plan for ethnic cleansing. See Ilan Pappes’s ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’ by One World Publishers Yes appeasement is alive and well.

  117. 117 steve
    May 23, 2008 at 00:43

    @ Mike

    1% of the middle east is a lot smaller than 1% of the world. Here’s a map:

    As for ethnic cleansing, if Israel is committing it, they are really bad at it. The Palestinian population is growing exponentially.

  118. 118 Tino
    May 23, 2008 at 01:55

    “Diplomacy–plus dealing with the root grievances (the old “hearts and minds” cliche) is the only viable option.”

    Concerning terrorism, the root cause is use being non-muslim (kaffir/infidels). Therefore, unless you are suggesting we should simply give up our way of life and convert, diplomacy is not an option. Ever see Bin Laden say: “I will renounce violence, if only you give us better education!” (FYI, most terrorist acts are committed by people from roughly middle class backgrounds and tend to have at least a high school education. There is no solution outside of violent force, as far as I can tell).

    VictorK seems to have stated my position fairly well in the beginning of this discussion.

    “Classic examples were giving Hitler the Sudetenland, while Hitler had written in mein Kampf is goals, for anyone to read. ”

    Agreed, and sounds just like Palestinian situation to me. They openly state they desire the elimination of Israel, but people think giving them land – which was even ALREADY done, to great failure – will solve the problem.

    “As a last point, if we’re not willing to negotiate with terrorists, or talk to nations like Cuba as a result of their human rights violations, then why is it that we associate with Saudi Arabia and China?”

    I dont think we should talk to terrorists (no common ground whatsoever when their stated goal is restoration of the caliphate and they are motivated by religion…something that cannot be changed through dialogue, thus no common ground), but agree we should also stop basically giving the Saudis a free ride in every way. We are way soft on them, for no valid reason. I also think we should talk to Cuba, that situation is ridiculously stupid in this day and age. By extension, I have nothing against China. While they do not have an excellent human rights record, they are certainly not the biggest problem in the world. In addition, they are not motivated by religion – but by concrete objectives and I believe we can always find common ground. Also, they have already changed and continue to do so – for the better in my opinion.

    “Terrorists want to destroy the West because we don’t attempt to understand (or talk with) them.”

    Where the hell do people get this idea?! Certainly not from the terrorists: (hamas charter excerpts, which I am sure those of you suggesting such naive ideas never bother to read…why see what they say when you can make stuff up to comfort yourself:

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned. In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out.”

    “”The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).”

    “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”

    “As for the objectives: They are the fighting against the false, defeating it and vanquishing it so that justice could prevail, homelands be retrieved and from its mosques would the voice of the mu’azen emerge declaring the establishment of the state of Islam, so that people and things would return each to their right places and Allah is our helper.”

    ESPECIALLY: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:”

    Could go on forever, but I think the last one brings it home. NO SOLUTION BUT JIHAD. INITIATIVES, PROPOSALS, AND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES A WASTE OF TIME. Yeah, if only we talk to them, wish I had thought of that. Some of you people are just plain stupid.

  119. 119 Tino
    May 23, 2008 at 02:02

    In addition, can those of you claiming:

    “If only we give them more opportunities”

    “If they only had hope for the future”

    “If we only talk to them, we can find common ground”

    Actually provide evidence for your opinions? Anything I see seems to place terrorists as being motivated by religion. When I say evidence, I mean something THESE PEOPLE have ACTUALLY said. Not what some person in the west theorized. I have never once seen these people claim anything other than religion as their motivation.

  120. 120 Virginia Davis
    May 23, 2008 at 08:08

    Thank you, John LaGrua (New York) for some humor.

    The only reason I can find for Tino’s rant is that he must have listened to George W. address the econ conference people in Egypt the other day – all the way through.
    I declined to go read the speech and barely listened to George W.’s rant.

    I suggested at while back for a favorite joke. Mine was for about 15 years (it is hard to think on Thorazine, or remember telephone numbers) goes:

    A little boy went, in the summer, to visit his grandfather, a potato rancher in Idaho.
    There came the time the grandfather and the little boy went out to the fields to harvest potatoes. The little boy dug for some time and then stopped. His grandfather asked him what was happening. The little boy’s response was:
    What I don’t understand, Grandfather, is why you buried them in the first place.

    Virginia in Oregon

  121. 121 Abdul
    May 23, 2008 at 09:22


    You seem to be under the impression that these “terrorists” have reached monstrous, non-human stature. That they are unstoppable warmongers who fight with zealotry, ready and willing to sacrifice their own life if it only means taking a “nonbelievers.”

    This is what happens when we don’t talk to “terrorists.” We misunderstand them and enmify them. We turn them into a mystical being of violence that can not be stopped, regardless of what natural, non-violent methods we use.

    I can assure you that those living throughout the Middle East are homo-sapiens, and that they fight for the same reasons anyone else does. They fight for land, they fight for economics, they fight for human rights, and they fight in self-defense or retaliation. The same reasons any human has fought anyone, ever.

    The land is the land of their grandfathers and their grandfather’s grandfather. The economics is their poverty, their rights are the rights to their homes which are bulldozed at will, and for non-palestinians arabs, it is for the right to live in a free society without military or other dictatorship (which none have), without Western influence. The self-defense comes after preemptive bombing raids send out to seek and destroy terrorist leaders that end up destroying hospitals and schools.

    The formula is not hard to see. The solution is. In the end though, they’re still human, and diplomacy can (almost) always work.

  122. 122 Korey
    May 23, 2008 at 14:04

    perhaps apeasement could have prevented hitler from gaining power, and so avoided millions of deaths

  123. 123 Norman in the States
    May 23, 2008 at 14:11

    Remember Yasser Arafat? Whenever he came close to an agreement with Israel, he’d be accused of “appeasement” by Palestinian hardliners. Talk is better than war. Norman in Monterey USA

  124. 124 Tino
    May 23, 2008 at 15:20

    “You seem to be under the impression that these “terrorists” have reached monstrous, non-human stature. That they are unstoppable warmongers who fight with zealotry, ready and willing to sacrifice their own life if it only means taking a “nonbelievers.””

    Yeah I got that impression when they constantly carry out attacks that kill hundreds or thousands of innocents. Since they carry out suicide bombings with alarming frequency, and use the mentally ill and CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS EIGHT to do so, I think they are willing to sacrifice their life to take out unbelievers!

    You also seem to be missing the point, talking does not work:

    “This is what happens when we don’t talk to “terrorists.” We misunderstand them and enmify them. We turn them into a mystical being of violence that can not be stopped, regardless of what natural, non-violent methods we use.”

    Once again, here is Hamas’ position:

    ““There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:””

    You are suggesting we try to talk to people who have openly stated that talking will not work!!! I am not misunderstanding anything – you are.

    “They fight for land, they fight for economics, they fight for human rights, and they fight in self-defense or retaliation. The same reasons any human has fought anyone, ever.”

    Conveniently leaving out religion, as usual.

    “The solution is.”

    Really, what is it. “talk” is not an answer. What would you say to them? How would you solve this problem?

    I still notice none of you have managed to find a shred of evidence to indicate talking to terrorists would work. Still do not see the quotes from Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc saying: If only they would sit down to talk, we could end this violence. They tend to say: “We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Therefore we oppose and reject the Camp David Agreements, the proposals of King Fahd, the Fez and Reagan plan, Brezhnev’s and the French-Egyptian proposals, and all other programs that include the recognition (even the implied recognition) of the Zionist entity.” (Hezbollah this time, to prove it is not just Hamas). How do you propose to talk to someone, who blatantly states that talking will not work?!

    “The only reason I can find for Tino’s rant is that he must have listened to George W. address the econ conference people in Egypt the other day – all the way through.”

    I didn’t listen to his speech at all. Quite frankly I think he is an idiot. My ‘rant’ was in response to people suggesting we talk to terrorists who have openly stated they do not want to talk and reject it as a possible solution. None of you have managed to address how we would talk to them successfully.

  125. 125 John in Germany
    May 23, 2008 at 15:40

    Talking is only good when we speak with the same language.

    Appeasement has to have fixed margins, it is a life saver at times, but only up to the set margin.

    We all know when we waffle on, we are soon detected. it saves us from nothing.

    Why do some politicians think we have not seen through their stupid show of intelligence, when they try to appease us.

    Statement of the day. Its easy to talk us into the Pub, but hard to talk us out of it.

    John in Germany.

  126. May 23, 2008 at 17:49

    When does diplomacy become appeasement? When a country that abuses another figures it can hide it’s crimes by some cession that does not cost as much as the advantage of their crime against said nation.

  127. 127 John LaGrua/New York
    May 23, 2008 at 17:53

    Once again Steve your bias makes you myopic.Did the Isrealis give back the thousands of lives brutally taken ( Palestinians ) or their homes .possessions and life in their ancestoral villqges.The Jews invaded Palestine immediately after the British abandoned their mandate ,denying that puts you in the strange company of the Holocaust deniers.The Sinai was unmangeable for the Zionists and a chip to buy off Egypt.Any Isreali negotiations since have been tactical and unyielding of their stated goal of total control from the river to the sea.Ben Gurion , remember him.? We are all entitled to our own interpretation but not to our own facts.Only honest ,serious scholarship of history can lead to valid and productive discussion.It.might be interesting for both the Isreali and the Arabs to state their extreme positions:The Jews:We are here and will stay we have nuclear weapons and we would use them. The Arabs “We are prepared to fight for a hundred years to reclaim our land ,we will aquire nuclear weapons in due course and we are 1.4 billion Muslims and your are 5 million Jews”.Just think what 1 trillion dollars squandered by Bush and his neo-con Zionist s in war in Iraq ‘could have accomplished with honest and fair US diplomatic efforts.Bush never read Gladstone “Great powers have no friends ,only interests”It is time for the fools to leave the stage,this is not a Comedy but a Tragedy.

  128. 128 steve
    May 23, 2008 at 17:58

    @JOhn Lagrue

    You saying all of the Jews in Palestine arrived on the same day, the day the British quit the Palestine mandate, and the jews “invaded”??? I suggest you read some history books. I suppose if you consider 6 arab armies attacking a a brand new nation a “jewish attack” then I guess you would be right.

  129. 129 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 23, 2008 at 19:07

    Dont you know Isriel is an officially recognised terrorist, why not review histry of crimes against humanity, if Europe want to pay the price of Hollocust so match the figure with European blood not innocent peacefull Middle Eastern blood.
    By way of changing concept of freedom from crimes against humanity is not an healthy approach, infact Phalistine problem is more humanitrian then political, so first we have to start prosecution against Isrieli Army those are declared official criminals, then we talk about political solution.

  130. 130 steve
    May 23, 2008 at 19:10

    @ Syed

    Jews are also from the middle east. If you want the IDF prosecuted, why not the arab governments that keep Palestinians in refugee camps, and prosecute Egypt for occupying Gaza from 1948-1967 and Jordan for occupying Jordan from 1948-1967?

  131. 131 Tino
    May 23, 2008 at 20:34

    “Dont you know Isriel is an officially recognised terrorist, why not review histry of crimes against humanity, if Europe want to pay the price of Hollocust so match the figure with European blood not innocent peacefull Middle Eastern blood.”

    Your view of Israel uprooting Palestinians is false from a historical standpoint, but dont let that get in the way…

  132. 132 Shirley
    May 23, 2008 at 20:56

    Hello, Steve
    Just wondering if you know whether or not the Palestinian people themselevs consider(ed) Egypt and Jordan as occupiers.

  133. 133 Shirley
    May 24, 2008 at 02:06

    May 23, 2008 at 8:34 pm
    Tino: May 23, 2008 at 8:34 pm
    “Your view of Israel uprooting Palestinians is false from a historical standpoint, but dont let that get in the way…”

    Actually, the zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine is well-documented. Zionist militias began to attack Palestinian civilian areas, even those that had been assigned to the state of Palestine by UNGA Res 181 of 29 Nov 1947 beginning in December of 1947. That was 10 months before the UN Partition Plan was to take place place in (October). There were 14 such operations. 10 of them were inside Palestine-designate. It seems to me that the zionist militias were already aiming at the removal for any potential of a Palestinian state. Israeli politicans and historians have said as much.

    In a joint meeting between the Jewish Agency Executive and Zionist Action Committee on June 12th, 1938, David Ben-Gurion said, “With compulsory transfer we have a vast area… I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.” (Righteous Victims p. 144).

    In speech to the Jewish Agency on June 12, 1948, Ben-Gurion stated: “I am for compulsory transfer; I don’t see anything immoral in it.” For tactical reasons, he was against proposing it at the moment, but “we have to state the principle of compulsory transfer without insisting on its immediate implementation.” (Simha Flapan, p. 103)

    Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary, “The compulsory transfer of the Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had…” (Righteous Victims, p. 142) Ben-Gurion aso wrote, “Regarding the transfer of the Arabs this is much easier than any other transfer.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 159)

    On June 9, 1937 Ben Gurion stated that he considered , “…transfer the only solution to this problem.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 70)

    On July 30, 1937 Yosef Bankover, a member of Haganah’s regional command, related that “Ben-Gurion said yesterday that he was prepared to accept the proposal of the Royal commission but on two conditions: sovereignty and compulsory transfer.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 70)

    On August 7, 1937 Ben-Gurion also told the Zionist Assembly during their debate of the Peel Commission, “…In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin… Jewish power, which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out the transfer on a large scale.” (Righteous Victims, p. 143)

    On November 30, 1947 Ben-Gurion stated, “In my heart, there was…sadness that we lost half of the country, Judea and Samaria, and, in addition, that we have 400,000 Arabs [in our state].” (Righteous Victims, p. 190)

    Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel’s Prime Ministers, had written in his diary soon after the occupation of Lydda and al-Ramla on July 10th-11th, 1948: “Ben-Gurion would repeat the question: What is to be done with the population?, waving his hand in a gesture which said: Drive them out! [garesh otem in Hebrew].”

  134. 134 Tino
    May 24, 2008 at 05:07

    Prior to each and every single date you mentioned:

    “In January 1919, Chaim Weizmann, then the upcoming leader of the Zionist movement, reached a peace-and-cooperation agreement with the Hashemite emir Faisal ibn Hussein, the effective leader of the nascent pan-Arab movement.”

    “It was the mufti’s concern with solidifying his political position that largely underlay the 1929 carnage in which 133 Jews were massacred and hundreds more were wounded — just as it was the struggle for political preeminence that triggered the most protracted outbreak of Palestinian Arab violence in 1936-39 […] In fact, it was a massive exercise in violence that saw far more Arabs than Jews or Englishmen murdered by Arab gangs, that repressed and abused the general Arab population, and that impelled thousands of Arabs to flee the country in a foretaste of the 1947-48 exodus.”

    “On April 19 1936, a wave of Arab violence against the Jews broke out in Palestine. Initially, the riots were led by Farhan al-Sa’ada, but al-Husayni soon decided to seize the initiative. He controlled waqf and orphan funds, which generated annual income of about 115,000 Palestinian pounds; after the start of the revolt, most of that money was used to finance the activities of his representatives throughout the country. The guerillas recruited by al-Husayni’s men were responsible for most attacks on Jews during the first months of the revolt; later, they were joined by volunteers from the neighboring Arab lands led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji.”

    And at around the same time as your quotes:

    “As the Jews set out to lay the groundwork for their nascent state while simultaneously striving to convince their Arab compatriots that they would be (as Ben-Gurion put it) “equal citizens, equal in everything without any exception,” Palestinian Arab leaders pledged that “should partition be implemented, it will be achieved only over the bodies of the Arabs of Palestine, their sons, and their women.” Qawuqji vowed “to drive all Jews into the sea.” Abdel Qader Husseini stated that “the Palestine problem will only be solved by the sword; all Jews must leave Palestine.”

    “Hagana intelligence sources recounted in mid-December an “evacuation frenzy that has taken hold of entire Arab villages.” Before the month was over, many Palestinian Arab cities were bemoaning the severe problems created by the huge influx of villagers and pleading with the AHC to help find a solution to the predicament. Even the Syrian and Lebanese governments were alarmed by this early exodus, demanding that the AHC encourage Palestinian Arabs to stay put and fight.”

    “On March 23, fully four months after the outbreak of hostilities, ALA commander-in-chief Safwat noted with some astonishment that the Jews “have so far not attacked a single Arab village unless provoked by it.””

    “Muhammad Nimr al-Khatib, a Palestinian Arab leader during the 1948 war, would sum up the situation in these words: “The Palestinians had neighboring Arab states which opened their borders and doors to the refugees, while the Jews had no alternative but to triumph or to die.””

    “”Fright has struck the Palestinian Arabs and they fled their country,” commented Radio Baghdad on the eve of the pan-Arab invasion of the newborn state of Israel in mid-May. “These are hard words indeed, yet they are true.””

    “According to a member of the Darwash family, considered traitors by al Husayni, “The mufti and his men said that my father was a traitor. But my father tried to prevent the war. He said to the mufti (al-Husayni): The war you are declaring will lead to the loss of Palestine. We need to negotiate. The mufti said idha takalam al-seif, uskut ya kalam – when the sword talks, there is no place for talking. They say that my father sold land and that makes him a traitor. He didn’t sell. But tell me this, if a man who sold 400 dunams to the Jews is a traitor, what would one say of a man whose policies let to the loss of Palestine? Isn’t he the biggest of traitors?””

    They did it to themselves.

  135. 135 John in Germany
    May 24, 2008 at 09:49

    According to Tino we now have terrorists fighting terrorists, and we need to decide who are the bad terrorists and who are the good ones. i do not consider the Israelis to be terrorists.

    One thing seems to be prominent in the whole complicated/simple issue.

    1 The Jews were always being pushed around. No wonder they hold on to what they and i consider to be their right.

    2 They turned dessert into arable land, producing marketable fruit, holding meat and milk producing animals. Then a lot of greedy eyes opened, and wanted a slice of the cake. there’s non of us that would not protect what years of hardship had achieved.

    3 If you shoot rockets into my back garden, Ill shoot back and retaliate, and i would use every thing that i have to protect my family.

    Some Muslims hate us today, and bomb and maim because we were part of the crusades??. It is today that counts.

    Have an enjoyable Sunday.
    John in Germany

  136. 136 Shirley
    May 24, 2008 at 16:41

    Tino, where are your sources?

    John, you are wrong. Palestine was already agriculturally productive before the birth of the state of Israel.

  137. 137 Tino
    May 24, 2008 at 18:01

    Some quotes from the link I previously posted, some from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amin_al-Husayni

  138. 138 John in Germany
    May 25, 2008 at 10:14

    Point taken Shirley. But only for own use, and by no means as productive.

    John in Germany.

  139. May 25, 2008 at 15:28



  140. 140 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 26, 2008 at 19:34

    Mr. Steve,
    Do you know the boundries of old Turky, infact all these Arab States were under Turkish Empire, further more to clear your concept please review Lawrance Of Arabia histry too. I hope after reviewing both your confusion will be gone.
    The biggest tragedy of Middle East is uneducated Arabs & well educated non Arab Jewish community being a dominating authority in Isrieli Govt.
    If we let the local Arab Jewish handle the Middle Eastern Crises with Arab Muslims will be the best for Middle Eastern Nations.
    Dont forget assesnation of Ishaq Rabbi by European Jewish community in Isriel no doubt he was sincear with peace.

  141. May 26, 2008 at 23:07

    Be informed that diplomacy is the best policy,take the Sierra Leone’s 11years brutal war which is so sence less.
    for example,

    Had it not been the high diplomacy tactics of former vice president(Sierra Leone) who was the leader of the deligation by then Mr Solomon Brewer, to offer the late cupral Sankoh a status which is almost equal to that of a vice president,up till the war would have not come to an end.

  142. 142 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 27, 2008 at 02:42

    Your link & source of information is disputed as WKIPFDIA publish it with a note that neturality of this article is disputed along with lake of crediabilty & allegations.
    Now I feel more comfortable to say this is what is called conteminated media & sick litrature as all this educated crime been done by Educated Jewish Community Knowingly with dignity & pride.
    Infact Isrieliee imported Jewish are involve in all kind of moral & immoral fronts against Arab Nation’s as they are the one educated in the area.
    According to the histry same fashion been adopted during Nazi time.

  143. 143 Shirley
    May 31, 2008 at 01:25

    4th attempt: I deeply apologise if there is a flood; please don’t allow repeats to go through

    Check out these two Newsweek articles:
    Afghanistan: Speaking With the Enemy at http://www.newsweek.com/id/137523
    and Fareed Zakaria: Who’s the Real Appeaser? at http://www.newsweek.com/id/137518 .

    From the first:
    The Bush Administration may not be practicing what the president preaches when it comes to “appeasement.” … [T]he administration itself has sanctioned such discussions in Sunni areas of Iraq, Pakistani tribal areas and Afghanistan. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that the United States “need[s] to figure out a way to develop some leverage with respect to the Iranians and then sit down and talk with them.” … Mark Sedra, a Canadian expert on Afghanistan, says high-level U.S. officials, who he declined to name, admitted during a private Washington think-tank conference earlier this year that there was no purely military solution to Afghanistan’s problems and expressed a “willingness” to negotiate with “moderate” Taliban figures.

    from the second:
    As Bush was speaking in Israel, his preferred strategy against such adversaries was collapsing next door in Lebanon. … [T]oday Hizbullah is stronger in Lebanon, Iran is more influential in the region, and the United States and its ally, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, have been marginalized. ….Hizbullah runs an impressive network of social services, which provide health care, small loans and family support. “There is no light between the Shia community of Lebanon and Hizbullah,” says Vali Nasr, author of “The Shia Revival.” … In dealing with many such groups—Hamas, the Taliban—the Bush administration has adopted a macho, exclusively military approach. … Denouncing them as evil and promising to destroy them will not change that; in fact, doing so only adds to their mystique of resistance and struggle. What we need is….a policy [thaht] would naturally involve some contact with their leaders, but as part of a much broader effort to engage all groups in these societies politically. … [T]his administration’s few successes have come when it’s agreed to talk with its adversaries. Bush authorized negotiations with Libya and North Korea… [W]e’ve talked with Iranian officials on several occasions… President Bush’s remarks….were dishonest.

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