'Seductions of Appeasement': Why the World Has Gone to Hell

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Appeasement defined the global conflicts of the 20th century. Time after time, America and other forces for freedom and democracy withheld their power in efforts to appease the most evil regimes in recent history. Over and over again, the policy of appeasement has ended in disaster. Now, conservative giant Victor Davis Hanson asks: why is appeasement so seductive and where will it take us in the 21st century?

In this collection of Hanson’s best columns from the last four years on the policy of appeasement today and in history, the path becomes clear. If America continues down the road of appeasement with radical Islamic groups and aggressive regimes in Russia and North Korea, the world will see a conflagration rivalling World War II.

A copy of the book can be purchased here.

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Dr. Victor Davis Hanson's new ebook, Seductions of Appeasement, should be required reading for every Republican presidential candidate running in 2016. The book, a series of essays published over the last few years by Dr. Hanson on his PJ Media blog, offers a searing indictment of American foreign policy in the age of Obama and takes a frightening look at the logical outcome of those policies.

Hanson is one of the most clear-headed academics working today and a crackerjack writer as well. Despite the downer subject matter, it is an immensely satisfying read, thanks largely to Hanson's ability to reduce complex ideas and concepts to their bare essence and present the results in a clarifying way. No, the world is not simple nor can explaining it be reduced to black and white -- as liberals are fond of accusing conservatives of doing. But Dr. Hanson makes what's happening understandable by connecting past with present, showing where we've gone off the rails and why the inexorable logic of events is following a predictable path due to wrongheaded, naive policies.

The book mostly covers Islamic extremism, Putin's Russia, and the incomprehensible policy prescriptions of the Obama administration to deal with them. In his prologue to the book, Hanson immediately reveals his major thesis:

We are witnessing another world order in the making. Russia, Iran, China, and ISIS are all carving out spheres of regional influence. Europe and Japan are unsure of their own security. NATO is ossified. The United States at home is distracted by all sorts of ginned-up racial, gender, and class tensions, as it seeks to shed it past postwar role and somehow achieve a respite by forfeiting its obligations as global protector of the West.

As these essays attempt to demonstrate, the common denominator is the Obama administration’s belief in a therapeutic view of human nature, and a strange half-educated notion that the United States since World War II was not responsible for the greatest era of affluence, freedom, and security in the history of civilization.

Finally, the Obama administration proves wearisome, as if it is replaying a tired script of a strong power whose anxieties prompt naiveté in lieu of deterrence, and render it paralyzed before weaker but aggressive enemies. We have learned nothing from the paralyzed Carter administration. Its outreach to communists in Central America, theocrats in Iran, and geriatric Soviets ended in a chaotic world from Kabul to Teheran to Managua. The European appeasement in the 1930s of an ascendant Third Reich is the locus classicus for any historical analogy with the present American recessional: a public weary from war, record debt and economic uncertainty, apologies and euphemisms for the aggressive behavior of violent regimes, an impotent world council of nations, indifference to the victims of fascist violence, cutbacks in military readiness, and invective and charges of war-mongering leveled toward any that question such appeasement. And we know how this ends: either in a costly 11th-hour recalibration to restore deterrence—or war as violent as it was avoidable.

Barack Obama is the Word Made Flesh for the radical left and their rancid worldview that includes the notion that America is to blame for most, if not all, the troubles in the world, and that if only America would relinquish its role as a superpower, the planet would heal itself and all will be right as rain.

It seems impossible that any rational American could believe that. But as Hanson shows, the Obama administration has lived that simple credo for more than 6 years.

But why? And how have they gone about making policy to reflect those beliefs?