Appeasement; Strategic Insight
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"Appeasement" is a word much in the news lately, and one whose application to policy is always negative. It is the political equivalent of a swear word; other examples include "fascism," "totalitarianism," and "aggression": all expressions whose use implies not merely disagreement or disapproval, but stigmatization. Among such anathema, "appeasement" stands out as the only one that derives from the politics of a democracy. It refers to the foreign policy of Great Britain toward Germany in the 1930s, a policy deemed so unwise as to involve not merely misjudgment or misfortune, but craven weakness, self-delusion, and treachery. To accuse someone of appeasement is to associate him or her with a historical episode whose meaning is thought to be beyond dispute, and one whose lessons are so plain that only a fool could fail to heed them.
Strategic Insights are authored monthly by analysts with the Center for Contemporary Conflict (CCC). The CCC is the research arm of the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
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