Friday, November 10, 2006

Appeasement A L'Américaine?

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy made this remark not too long ago:

"In the region, there is, of course, a country such as Iran, a great country, a great people and a great civilization, that is respected and that is a stabilizing force in the region," he had stated during a press conference.

And Jean-Marie Le Pen made this statement in September:

I have already had occasion to say that I didn't see how anyone could prevent a sovereign state from acquiring nuclear technology.

Now we have a new Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who, according to Jacob Laskin of Front Page Magazine, may finally have found a way to reconcile American and French foreign policy.

No sooner had Democrats captured one House, than President Bush began cleaning another. First on the presidential chopping block was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who will now step aside in favor of former CIA director Robert Gates. The president’s new choice is a foreign policy “realist” who believes Iran “could play a potentially significant role in promoting a stable, pluralistic government in Baghdad.”

(...) his current views on Iran compel investigation. Especially noteworthy is a report on U.S. policy toward Iran that Gates co-authored in July of 2004 with Zbigniew Brzezinski, a onetime national security advisor to Jimmy Carter and, more recently, a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Entitled Iran: Time for a New Approach, the report reads like a study in self-contradiction. Conceding that Iran has used “Iraqi instability for its own political gain,” the report concludes, “Iran nevertheless could play a potentially significant role in promoting a stable, pluralistic government in Baghdad.” Noting that “Iranian foreign policy remains captive of the regime’s official enshrinement of anti-American and anti-Israeli ideology,” the authors nonetheless attribute strained U.S.-Iranian relations to the Bush administration’s decision to include Iran in the “Axis of Evil,” lamenting that this “undercut several months of tacit cooperation between Washington and Tehran.”

Central to the report is the fatalist assumption that the United States is powerless to prevent an Iranian nuclear program and that the only solution is to submit to “dialogue” with the mullahs. Cognate arguments have long been advanced by the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy, of which Gates is a member in good standing.

In recent months, the president has made repeated overtures to James Baker, the former Secretary of State under President Bush Sr. whose Iraq Study Group (ISG) has pressed the administration to appeal to Iran and Syria – perhaps the two most destabilizing forces in the Middle East – to help pacify Iraq.

An American Douste-Blazy? Or worse?

It would be too ironic if America launched overtly and desperately into a policy of appeasement just as France began emerging from the sleep that has blinded her to the consequences of appeasement. We would then have to hurl accusations of racism and elitism at France, whereas 3 years ago we were screaming "Weasel! Appeaser! Collaborator!

Photo from Wikipedia.

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