With Friends Like These…
Reports of the death of King Fahd highlight the nature of appeasement in the 21st century, reminding us that the House of Saud has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Western appeasement for the last fifty years.
The party line goes something like this: “Saudi Arabia is a friend of the United States in the War on Terror.” No amount of evidence to the contrary can shake this story; America and Saudi Arabia are like a middle-aged couple in a loveless marriage staying together “for the sake of the children.”
During the classical period of appeasement in the 1930s, Britain and France at least had the good sense to appease their enemies.
What in the world are we doing, appeasing our “friends”?
My previous post on this topic concluded that the memory of the Great War fueled the appeasement of the dictators between the Wars. To some extent, it still provides fuel for appeasement; deep in the collective unconscious of the West the trenches and No-Man’s-Land of 1914-18 cry out to us: “Don’t ever let this happen again!”
But there is a more proximate trauma that drives our policies. It is actually a combination of two traumas: the first is the War in Vietnam; the second is the struggle for civil rights. These are the defining issues of the 1960s. Vietnam left America shell-shocked, driven by media-generated defeat to an inordinate fear of war, particularly asymmetrical warfare against guerilla-type insurgencies. The fight for civil rights generated a lasting cultural insecurity which came to define all conflicts with non-whites and non-Westerners as “racist”, and thus immoral.
These two unresolved traumas form a lethal combination when applied indiscriminately by the MSM to the war against the Islamists. To The Annointed this is but a reprise of Vietnam: a fight against an underdog, one who hides among civilians and strikes without warning, humiliating his mighty foe. It is a racist war, against “brown” people of a different religion, perpetrated by the White Man, the source of all evil.
Like a malaria plasmodium, the Vietnam/racism organism is always present in the bloodstream of the body politic, erupting occasionally under the stress of circumstances into the full-blown fever of appeasement. President Clinton repeatedly acted upon his compulsion to grovel before the “brown” people of the world and apologize for the misdeeds of his ancestors. Our current President is less susceptible to this affliction, but the Bush administration is not immune. Hence the “Religion of Peace” mantra, and Secretary Rice’s statements affirming the sacred status of the Koran.
So, as Chamberlain had Ypres in the back of his mind, Bush and Clinton have Tet and Selma. The former gave us Anschluss, Abyssinia, and, finally, Munich; the latter gave us the first attack on the World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, and the attack on the Cole. In 1935 Pierre Laval looked on while the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland; today Jacques Chirac looks on while the Iranian mullahs acquire nuclear weapons.
All of these shameful events involve caving in to dictators in order to postpone problems a little while longer; all the democratically elected leaders involved have found appeasement to be an absolute political necessity. The time thus gained is bought dearly, and when the bill comes due in a later administration (or a later generation), the payment exacted is always devastating.
If a mushroom cloud rises over Rome or Tel Aviv or Chicago one day, the same media that drive the current appeasement dynamic will cry for the heads of those who failed us. And historians will look back to our time, as we do to the 1930s, and ask, “Why didn’t they do something about it when they could have, back in 2003 or 2005?” And it will be a good question.
But there remains the other question: Why are we appeasing our “friends”?
I submit that we are not appeasing our friends, we are once again appeasing our enemies, and simply refusing to call them that. We are buying a little time with the foolhardy practice of paying off the sheiks to attain “oil stability”, even as their cronies and cousins finance and foment jihad against us the world over.
I submit that we have not yet seen our version of 1939. When we do, it will make 9-11 pale by comparison.