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Appeasement: Right or Wrong?

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  • Appeasement: Right or Wrong?

    I hear a lot of people these days ridiculing those who oppose war with Iraq (and war in general) as "Chamberlain's" or "appeasers", with the implication being that the current situation is as bad as appeasing Hitler at Munich.

    I guess my question is, is and was appeasement actually wrong?

    I would say absolutely not.

    Although Germany had certainly violated the Versailles Treaty in several different ways, the Versailles Treaty was not actually fair to Germany. Germany was not the only one responsible for WW1, nor did they commit actions that were any worse than those committed by all the other participants (the worst being, in my opinion, conscription and shooting deserters, which all sides did).

    Sure, Germany had united with Austria, and seized the Sudetenland, and reoccupied the Rhineland, but these were not actions that were any of France's or Britain's business. You might argue from a hindsight perspective that the ultimate goal was to take down France (which might or might not be true), but that is hindsight talking. Chamberlain and the rest couldn't have known this - unless they were psychic, that is.

    So, in reality, the appeasement of Germany was nothing more than the major powers of Europe disengaging themselves in a matter that was really none of their business, and making every possible effort to maintain the peace.

    If, instead, had British and French troops had attacked Germany, they would have been just as much in the wrong as Germany (Germany in the wrong for occupying the Sudetenland and their internal policies, Britain and France being in the wrong for invading Germany). Using force in a manner other than outright self defense, in relations between nations, is never, ever justified, and it would not have been in this case, either.
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  • #2
    Floyd, free nations are like free people.

    Imagine it this way. What if you had an agreement with your neighbor that you would defend each other if the government tried to trample your rights. One day, the government contacts you, knowing that with you out of the picture it can easily violate your neighbor's property rights and maybe even take away his firearms. You discuss the matter with the government, and instead of standing by your neighbor, you agree to let them take your neighbor's freedom, so long as they don't take anybody else's.

    That's essentially what happened. France was committed by treaty to defend many of Germany's neighbors. At Munich, it, along with the UK, abandoned its allies, and allowed to Germans to violate Czechoslovakia's property rights.

    It's retarded to appease any organization that is committed to extending its domination over others. Just as we know that we should prevent our own government from violating our neighbors liberties, so do we know that we should keep hostile powers from violating the rights of friendly powers.
    Do not take anything I say seriously. It's just the Internet. It's not real life.

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    • #3
      Appeasement wasn't wrong, merely monstrously stupid.
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      • #4
        Floyd, free nations are like free people.
        I fail to see how a nation and an individual are the same thing.

        Imagine it this way. What if you had an agreement with your neighbor that you would defend each other if the government tried to trample your rights. One day, the government contacts you, knowing that with you out of the picture it can easily violate your neighbor's property rights and maybe even take away his firearms. You discuss the matter with the government, and instead of standing by your neighbor, you agree to let them take your neighbor's freedom, so long as they don't take anybody else's.
        Your argument here fails for two reasons. Number one, there is no moral problem with defending your neighbor, because you are voluntarily placing yourself in danger, and no one else, whereas in the case of an alliance, you are placing millions of people in danger without giving them a choice in the matter.
        Secondly, a government violating the rights of an individual is not anything like one nation invading another nation. You are trying to liken Nazi Germany to an overriding government. That is not a good analogy.

        That's essentially what happened. France was committed by treaty to defend many of Germany's neighbors. At Munich, it, along with the UK, abandoned its allies, and allowed to Germans to violate Czechoslovakia's property rights.
        But defending Czechoslovakia (and in the Sudetenland, many of the native Germans wanted to be part of Germany, anyway), Britain and France would have put a hundred million Brits and Frenchmen in jeopardy, and would have sent hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to their death, over an issue that had nothing to do with them.
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        • #5
          Appeasement is not a good international strategy unless you're too weak to do anything about it.

          But opposition to the resolution (and a subsequent US attack) is not appeasement. Appeasement means your neighbor steals your bike and you do nothing about it (so then he steals your car). Opposing the first Gulf War would have been appeasement, since Iraq had stolen Kuwait.

          This is preemption, a whole different thing. Now once the US attacks, if the international community lets us get away with it, that will be appeasement. So let's hope they really are as spineless as we say they are.
          It is much easier to be critical than to be correct. Benjamin Disraeli

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          • #6
            You could argue that allowing Iraq to break the agreements that it signed at the end of the Gulf War is appeasement. Would invading Germany after Hitler has reoccupied the Rhineland have been preemption?
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            • #7
              Originally posted by David Floyd
              I fail to see how a nation and an individual are the same thing.
              I fail to see how an educated man cannot understand basic literary devices such as similes.


              Your argument here fails for two reasons. Number one, there is no moral problem with defending your neighbor, because you are voluntarily placing yourself in danger, and no one else, whereas in the case of an alliance, you are placing millions of people in danger without giving them a choice in the matter.


              In a democratic state, such as the UK, and the Third Republic, people do have a choice because they invest foreign policy powers in elected representatives. It's one thing to hate governments overstepping bounds, David, but in this case they were simply doing their jobs.


              Secondly, a government violating the rights of an individual is not anything like one nation invading another nation. You are trying to liken Nazi Germany to an overriding government. That is not a good analogy.


              I'm trying to liken Nazi Germany to an overriding government? Oh, wow, how could an educated person ever think of such a thing. Why, whenever David Floyd thinks of the ideal Libertarian utopia, Nazi Germany immediately springs to mind. In Nazi Germany, the government was never overriding, and always respected the rights of the people. . .

              Seriously, one nation invading another nation is a government violating the rights of many many individuals. How is it not?

              But defending Czechoslovakia (and in the Sudetenland, many of the native Germans wanted to be part of Germany, anyway), Britain and France would have put a hundred million Brits and Frenchmen in jeopardy, and would have sent hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to their death, over an issue that had nothing to do with them.
              The French people had already agreed to defend Czechoslovakia. That's what it means when a democratically elected republic makes an alliance. It's the people of France agreeing to defend the people of Czechoslovakia, and vice versa. How this is difficult for you to understand, I'll never know.

              Clearly the defence of Czechoslovakia had a great deal to do with the defence of France. That's why I had the neighbors analogy. Germany was intent on spreading its influence. The Czechs had a very modern weapons industry that Hitler wanted to use to bolster his own forces. Simply because you refuse to recognize historical reality, doesn't mean that people who oppose authoritarianism are evil.

              Floyd, I don't think I'll ever understand you. You love liberty, I know that. But you don't seem to realize that the price of liberty is beating the living hell out of anybody who wants to take it away. Nazi Germany wanted to take it away. Don't claim we couldn't read Hitler's mind, we didn't have to - he was nice enough to write Mein Kampf.
              Do not take anything I say seriously. It's just the Internet. It's not real life.

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              • #8
                Kepler,

                But opposition to the resolution (and a subsequent US attack) is not appeasement. Appeasement means your neighbor steals your bike and you do nothing about it (so then he steals your car). Opposing the first Gulf War would have been appeasement, since Iraq had stolen Kuwait.
                Except for the minor fact that Kuwait didn't belong to the US

                Felch,

                I fail to see how an educated man cannot understand basic literary devices such as similes.
                I understand similies, but I fail to see how the similie had anything to do with reality.

                In a democratic state, such as the UK, and the Third Republic, people do have a choice because they invest foreign policy powers in elected representatives.
                Well, fine, then by that argument, appeasement was exercising the will of the voters, because the voters elected leftist governments (especially in France).

                It's one thing to hate governments overstepping bounds, David, but in this case they were simply doing their jobs.
                Just because a majority of people voted for a certain government doesn't mean the government is above right and wrong. Doing what the people want does not necessarily equate to doing the right thing, which is what governments should primarily look at.

                Further, just because the majority of people want something doesn't give them license to violate the rights of the minority. As an example, even though the majority of Americans favored war with Japan after Pearl Harbor, doesn't mean those who opposed war should have had to fight.

                Seriously, one nation invading another nation is a government violating the rights of many many individuals. How is it not?
                That's another flawed analogy. One nation invading another is either many individual violating the rights of many other individuals, or a government violating the rights of another government. You're using different definitions to define the same thing.

                What I also fail to understand, still, is how what happens to Czechoslovakia any business of France or Britain, and more importantly, how is it worth the lives of Frenchmen or Britons who probably don't care about the issue or want to be dying for it anyway.

                The French people had already agreed to defend Czechoslovakia. That's what it means when a democratically elected republic makes an alliance. It's the people of France agreeing to defend the people of Czechoslovakia, and vice versa. How this is difficult for you to understand, I'll never know.
                So, anytime a country undertakes an action, they are following the will of not only the people in general, but 100% of the people? This argument won't work with me, remember, because I don't believe that any supermajority, no matter how big, can overturn the rights of a single person. 1 billion other people should not be able to make one other person go fight a war.

                But you don't seem to realize that the price of liberty is beating the living hell out of anybody who wants to take it away. Nazi Germany wanted to take it away.
                You're almost right. The price of liberty means beating the hell out of anybody who wants to take it away from YOU.

                Forcing you to go defend the liberty of another has nothing to do with liberty, and everything do to with authoritarianism.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Floyd
                  Well, fine, then by that argument, appeasement was exercising the will of the voters, because the voters elected leftist governments (especially in France).
                  Right. It was expressing the will of the voters. However, that wasn't what you were asking.


                  Further, just because the majority of people want something doesn't give them license to violate the rights of the minority. As an example, even though the majority of Americans favored war with Japan after Pearl Harbor, doesn't mean those who opposed war should have had to fight.


                  If you live in a society where the laws require you to fight for that society under certain extreme situations, then yes, you do have to fight if they make you. If you think that's too high a price to pay for mutual security, feel free to leave the United States and live someplace where you aren't compelled to fight. Nobody forces you to live in this country David, you are an adult, and are free to leave if you think the price to live here is too steep.


                  That's another flawed analogy. One nation invading another is either many individual violating the rights of many other individuals, or a government violating the rights of another government. You're using different definitions to define the same thing.


                  It's an analogy. Get over it.


                  What I also fail to understand, still, is how what happens to Czechoslovakia any business of France or Britain, and more importantly, how is it worth the lives of Frenchmen or Britons who probably don't care about the issue or want to be dying for it anyway.


                  I tried to explain it, but you're stubborn. It basically has to do with people not being self-centered jackasses, and thinking beyond their own petty lives for once.


                  So, anytime a country undertakes an action, they are following the will of not only the people in general, but 100% of the people? This argument won't work with me, remember, because I don't believe that any supermajority, no matter how big, can overturn the rights of a single person. 1 billion other people should not be able to make one other person go fight a war.


                  Out of curiosity, would you object to an all-volunteer army fighting?

                  You're almost right. The price of liberty means beating the hell out of anybody who wants to take it away from YOU.

                  Forcing you to go defend the liberty of another has nothing to do with liberty, and everything do to with authoritarianism.
                  David, people fighting for liberty are going to be more successful if they cooperate. The ends of guaranteeing that the light of liberty isn't extinguished from the earth is worth the price of temporary authoritarianism. In this case it's about thinking in the long term.

                  Following your method, the eventual result could very possibly have been victory by the totalitarian powers. Would it have been worth not conscripting people?
                  Do not take anything I say seriously. It's just the Internet. It's not real life.

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                  • #10
                    Felch, you are talking to David.

                    Let me explain this to you with smilies.

                    Arguing with David -
                    Ignoring David's silly rants -
                    “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
                    - John 13:34-35 (NRSV)

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                    • #11
                      Right. It was expressing the will of the voters. However, that wasn't what you were asking.
                      Right, I asked if appeasement was right or wrong. And this way, by either one of our arguments, it was right.

                      If you live in a society where the laws require you to fight for that society under certain extreme situations, then yes, you do have to fight if they make you.
                      Not morally. No power has the moral right to force me to fight, kill, and die.

                      If you think that's too high a price to pay for mutual security, feel free to leave the United States and live someplace where you aren't compelled to fight. Nobody forces you to live in this country David, you are an adult, and are free to leave if you think the price to live here is too steep.
                      Stupid argument for two reasons. First, there's nowhere I could go that respects individual rights to a significant degree. Second, the point I'm making is that the law is wrong - it is wrong whether or not I live here.

                      It's an analogy. Get over it.
                      Again, use analogies that make sense.

                      It basically has to do with people not being self-centered jackasses, and thinking beyond their own petty lives for once.
                      So now the lives of Frenchmen and Britons are "petty" in comparison to the fate of a chunk of territory containing a large number of people who probably prefer to live under German rule anyway?

                      Out of curiosity, would you object to an all-volunteer army fighting?
                      No, but I would object those who don't volunteer being forced to pay for the actions of the all volunteer army in many cases.

                      The ends of guaranteeing that the light of liberty isn't extinguished from the earth is worth the price of temporary authoritarianism.
                      I think we all know what Benjamin Franklin said about security vs. liberty.

                      Following your method, the eventual result could very possibly have been victory by the totalitarian powers.
                      Not really. The German wartime economy was, by all accounts, not very well suited to peacetime, and in any case, there were many attempts to assassinate Hitler. A government such as that of Nazi Germany will collapse on itself because of internal problems, eventually.

                      In any case, I don't know what you mean by "final victory". Do you mean conquering Europe? Conquering Russia? Conquering England? Conquering the United States? Conquering the world? The first two would have been possible, the third less so, and the final two absolutely impossible.

                      Would it have been worth not conscripting people?
                      No, it wouldn't have been.
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                      • #12
                        Felch, you are talking to David.

                        Let me explain this to you with smilies.
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                        • #13
                          I know. I'm just hoping that as a fellow lib I can help him see the light. Nazis = Very Bad. Fighting Nazis < Very Bad.
                          Do not take anything I say seriously. It's just the Internet. It's not real life.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Felch X



                            David, people fighting for liberty are going to be more successful if they cooperate. The ends of guaranteeing that the light of liberty isn't extinguished from the earth is worth the price of temporary authoritarianism. In this case it's about thinking in the long term.
                            Folowing this to its natural conclusion, If one does not surrender his rights as an individual one can never even form an armed force in the first place to fight. Since the first precept of any organized armed force is to obey orders, a group of individuals can never form a cohesive force if the individuals rights are first and foremost (even in a strictly volunteer force).

                            Individual rights are a wonderful concept to attempt to achieve, but ultimately in order to effect any force in the world it has to be the combined efforts and will of groups of individuals. As a consequence the rights of the individual have to be second to the group will in democracy else chaos and stagnation.

                            LOL at Imran.
                            "Just puttin on the foil" - Jeff Hanson

                            “In a democracy, I realize you don’t need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels. When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that’s the dictator, because he speaks for all the people.” - Jimmy Carter

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                            • #15
                              Nazis = Very Bad. Fighting Nazis < Very Bad.
                              Fighting the Nazis is OK, once they do something to you - then it becomes self defense. But at that point, fighting them is OK only if you are not forcing others to do so as well.

                              Same as any other situation.

                              Also, I fail to see how, as a libertarian, you support conscription in any situation.
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