The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Wages of Appeasement
Meanwhile the appeaseniks at the UN and in Europe continue to sit on their hands and look at each other helplessly, even as Germany and France now see where their decision to block bringing Georgia into NATO has led.
We've been through this before. Then--as now--the voices of appeasement hold the day. Will our European neighbors ever learn from their previous errors?
COB6 over at Blackfive echoes my own deep concerns about Putin's intentions with Georgia--and what inaction now might portend for the very near future:
The crisis in Georgia is growing and the west seems collectively paralyzed.
Just today the United Nations met for the third time in as many days and have not surprisingly accomplished nothing.
The London Times today reminds us of the last time that Russia invaded Georgia in 1921. The president of Georgia appealed to the newly formed League of Nations. The League of Nations responded:
"it is realized that the League is incapable of rendering material aid and the moral influence which may be a powerful force with civilized countries is unlikely to make an impression upon Soviet Russia."
The Germans and French who blocked Georgia's attempts to join NATO in April will now be forced to find a diplomatic solution; and historically a European "compromise" will be little more than appeasement.
The question "Are we willing to start a war over a small piece of land with few people who don't want to be there anyway?" has already started.
In that case it might be worth while for the GEORGIAN government to consider whether they should exclude altogether the project, which has found favour in some quarters, of making GEORGIA a more homogeneous State by the secession of that fringe of alien populations who are contiguous with the nation with which they are united by race. In any case the wishes of the population concerned would seem to be a decisively important element in any solution that can hope to be regarded as permanent, and the advantages of becoming a homogeneous State might conceivably outweigh the obvious disadvantages of losing the SOUTH OSSETIA districts of the borderland.
[Source - The Times (London)]
Now go read that quote again. This time change GEORGIA to CZECHOSLOVAKIA and SOUTH OSSETIA to SEDETEN GERMAN.
Oh, and change the source as well: [Source: The Times (London), 7 September 1938]
I am not advocating launching an American offensive but it is of critical importance what Western Europe does. Doing nothing might mean a brokered peace on the horizon but it would ultimately meanthe death of Georgia and it would abdicate almost all energy decisions that impact the EU to the Kremlin.
If a re-constituted Soviet Union under control of an old school KGB leader is okay with you, then no worries.
If it does worry you, dust off the old REFORGER maps; we may need them again.
It has not yet been announced whether or not Putin will speak at the Democrat Convention.
AJ Strata adds (emphasis mine):
Want to know what causes war and conflict? Doubt and Caution. The liberal forces in Europe and America keep whining about how we cannot enforce peace and democracy and must simply talk and appease. But those opposing forces ready to use military means (or worse in the case of terrorists) simply see the grasp for talk and negotiation as the final green light to move ahead and take by force that which can only be taken by force. And apparently that is what happened with Georgia, snubbed by its what should be its European allies for the cheekiness of being an American ally, the European state of Georgia which wants to be part of the EU and NATO is now under military attack by Russia.
And those Europeans who are standing there watching this all transpire don’t even realize Russia just attacked one of them in an effort to peel it off from the heard. The predator is starting to stalk the weak and isolated. This is what comes when alliances fracture. Europe may not have liked our decisions after 9-11, but it was their mistake not to stand by us as we have stood by them in the face of the Russian Bear for nearly a century. They never realized that once the signal is given, that there will be no fight to save an ally, all that means is the heard has given up one of their members to the predator.
Europe is much more like a herd cows than something like a herd of wildebeests which can protect themselves from predators. There was one good article in the UK Times which outlined this situation perfectly:
Thanks to American military aid, Georgia’s 18,000-strong armed forces are the best-trained and equipped fighting force in the Caucasus. But it is one thing for them to defeat the raggle-taggle militia of a tinpot place like South Ossetia (population 70,000). It is another for a country of less than five million people to take on Russia (population 142 million). Now the Kremlin is reacting strongly. Russian warplanes are reportedly striking targets in Georgia. Reinforcements are pouring in. And the Kremlin’s mighty propaganda machine is lumbering into action while a cyber-attack appears to have crippled Georgia’s websites.
European leaders have long been dubious about Mikhail Saakashvili, a charismatic US-educated lawyer who stormed to power in the Rose Revolution of 2005. Where the fans of the Georgian President see charm and brains, his critics - such as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel - see a dangerously headstrong and erratic leader. A crackdown on the Opposition in November, bullying of the media and instances of abuse of power among senior officials have allowed detractors to draw uncomfortable parallels between Georgia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
These are misplaced: Georgia is not perfect, but it is not a dictatorship. Its leadership does not peddle a phoney ideology, such as the Kremlin’s mishmash of Soviet nostalgia and tsarist-era chauvinism. It has a thriving civil society, vocal opposition and ardently wants to be in the EU and Nato. Moral grounds alone would be enough reason for supporting it against Russian aggression.
The truth is the EU can save their ally Georgia, but they won’t. CNN is noting that Georgia is standing tall and declaring a war footing (but not yet formal war) with Russia. But this is not something America should be required to fix for Europe. After years of being told there was not threat from Iraq (even though there was) it is absolutely true there is no immediate threat to America in this action. There is an obvious threat to Europe, but there are also infinite rationalizations that can be created to create a shield of denial about what is happening.
Georgia is, in the end, an example of what happens when liberals distract the forces of good from their purpose in order to pursue paths of appeasement on the claim it will be ‘easier’ and ‘less costly’. Predators look for any sign of hesitation or doubt, and then they strike when they find the circumstances they need to run over their opponents. That is why doubt and hesitation are more dangerous than a being bold and sometimes overbearing.