No, George, diplomacy is not appeasement
Online Journal Contributing Writer
May 20, 2008, 00:10
On May 15, George W. Bush gave a speech to the Israeli Knesset in which
he took an apparent swipe at Barack Obama's promise of diplomacy in foreign
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists
and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been
wrong all along," Bush told his audience.
He added, "We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false
comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
He even dragged Hitler into the same speech, seeming to imply that Obama
would have probably wanted to appease the Nazis.
This is a prime example of the Bushco strategy of twisting words,
distorting their meanings, and exaggerating the resulting untruths to the point
No, George, diplomacy is not appeasement. And diplomacy has not been
repeatedly discredited by history. In fact, diplomacy is what has made possible
today's modern globalized civil society, imperfect though it may be.
But there are some things that surely will be discredited by history.
Like using a national tragedy as an excuse to invade an oil-rich country
that had nothing to do with that tragedy and which, at the time, posed no
threat to the U.S. or our allies.
Like detaining our prisoners in the "war on terror" for years
without due process, even though a study by Seton Hall University found that 55
percent of Gitmo detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile
acts against the United States or its coalition allies.
Like authorizing the use of torture in interrogations, even though it is
illegal and immoral, and even though it doesn't work, and even as you look into
the camera and tell the world, "We do not torture."
Like warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.
Like outing a covert CIA agent -- one who, incidentally (and
ironically), was responsible for ensuring that the bad guys did not get nuclear
Like vetoing a bill that would provide health care for children because
it would necessitate a raise in cigarette taxes.
Like vacationing while New Orleans was drowning.
And like arrogantly refusing to engage in diplomatic discussions with
anyone you disagree with.
These are the policies that will be discredited by history, George --
along with your entire presidency, which has already been discredited, as
evidenced by your dismal approval rating, which has now fallen into the 20s.
You live in a glass house, George. Be careful where you throw those
Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics,
human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator
for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her
views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites.
Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with
which she may be associated. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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