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Not all Europeans are appeasers

Reader comment on item: [Appeasement Explains] Why Europe Balks

Submitted by David Rose (United Kingdom), Jan 28, 2003 at 07:51

In my opinion, this article, and the piece by Gelernter from which it draws, overstate the case that appeasement has become endemic in Europe. ... These times are not the period between the two world wars revisted, and it's mistaken to argue that the lessons of the first of these wars are outlasting the second. Indeed, the memory of Nazism and World War Two remains the strongest influence on German foreign policy, and the specific cause of the pacifism which is its characteristic trait. As for France, now as often before, its leaders are making their decisions on precise calculations of national interest, not some psycho-historical shared consciousness. These calculations may well change, producing the same kind of flip in French policy which we saw in 1991.

As a British citizen who believes that war against Saddam Hussein's regime is likely to be inevitable, and will be both just and (from the point of view of self-defence) justified, it does depress me a little that British public opinion, in such notable contradistinction to our Prime Minister, is at present against such a war. I am equally depressed by the emptiness of the arguments British doves use to justify their position, especially the baffling assertion that changing Saddam's regime will exacerbate, rather than diminish, the threat of terrorism. However, I notice that US opinion is going in much the same direction. I also suspect that on both sides of the Atlantic, the rapidity of victory and the horrors of the charnel house which will then lie revealed will swiftly provoke many changes of mind.

My fear is that by dwelling too closely on the European-American rift, and by exaggerating its historic roots, Dabiel Pipes is fostering something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a European supporter of democracy, freedom and the values expressed by the US Constitution, I would find that an outcome worth taking some trouble to avoid.

David Rose

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