May 15, 2008

A rhetorical gambit almost as profoundly futile as Godwin's Law is the Law of Appeasement: anytime someone feels the need to compare one's opponent to Neville Chamberlain, and/or to analogize the art of diplomacy with "appeasement," there really isn't much left to discuss. As it turns out, most people who appeal to the Law of Appeasement have no idea what "appeasement" is, why (or even, if) it led to World War II, or how, as a policy, it differs from, say, the US policy towards China since 1972, or the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1989, or even the British policy towards the United States between 1815 and 1917. They just know that hashing out differences with an enemy leads inexorably to the Final Solution and 9/11.

The "lessons of Iraq" will surely become the counterpoint to "Munich" in future debates on foreign policy....

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