Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The three phases of appeasement

Many of us view the Bush Administration's appalling denoument regarding North Korea as John Bolton does (Wall Street Journal, h/t David Frum and Andy McCarthy of NRO):
The only good news is that there is little opportunity for the Bush administration to make any further concessions in its waning days in office. But for many erstwhile administration supporters, this is a moment of genuine political poignancy. Nothing can erase the ineffable sadness of an American presidency, like this one, in total intellectual collapse.

Bolton isn't alone either (One Free Korea and the Washington Times). In fact, one could easily believe that the Administration has hit rock bottom. Sadly, others are doing far worse. To understand why, we have to remember that North Korea is not an independent actor; it is a Communist Chinese colony (to the point of shooting its own citizens on Beijing's orders - OFK), and when it comes to Communist China, making nice with its satellites on worthless agreements is just the first phase of appeasement.

Regimes like Communist China see the United States as a threat by example more than a threat through policy. Our refusal to silence dissent - and the national strength we gain from that - is a terrible embarrassment to the cadres, who must rely on the iron fist to maintain power (Boycott 2008, CNN, Epoch Times, Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, and the Weekly Standard). While the Communist regime certainly sees the free world as an obstacle to its geopolitical goals (themselves driven by the regime's reliance on radical nationalism), they see as much risk in the internal mechanisms of democratic nations. Thus, appeasement of the Communist regime and its satellites requires far more than honoring useless treaties and taking diplomatic lies at face value.

The second phase of appeasement can best be described as "self-censorhsip abroad," i.e., putting an end to things like reaching out to dissidents in Communist China (Washington Post), hearing out the internal critics of the Communists (Voice of America via Epoch Times), and criticizing the appalling practices of said satellites (such as Sudan - Washington Times - or Zimbabwe - Epoch Times). So far, the free world already has a checkered history, one that will likely get worse when the Stalinist North makes clear just what htey mean by "security guarantees."

The third phase of appeasement is "self-censorhsip at home," at which point, people cease being independent actors and become enablers of the regime. Sadly, this is also getting traction, in Nepal (Washington Times), in Europe (Epoch Times), and even in New York's City Council (Epoch Times).

This could be our future with North Korea as well (in fact, until South Korea's new President changed tack, it was that nation's present). The events in Flushing in particularly should remind us that totalitarian regimes accept no neutrality or non-interventionist policy. One must confront, or one must submit. The next President must decide which.

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