Romney’s “Appeasement” Canard

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 3 2012 @ 11:04am

Ted Galen Carpenter takes on the bizarre allegations directed against Obama on foreign policy: 

[W]hat is the president’s conduct that warrants allegations of appeasement? For the current crop of GOP presidential wannabes, merely exhibiting a willingness to conduct negotiations with adversaries is considered evidence of craven appeasement on the part of an American policy maker. And because Obama has attempted to open or advance dialogues with such adversaries, Republican activists excoriate him. But that is a very disturbing standard.

If the GOP candidates believe that it is improper even to talk to hostile foreign regimes, diplomacy largely ceases to exist as a meaningful foreign-policy tool. It is no challenge at all to negotiate with friendly, democratic governments. But we don’t have the luxury of dealing only with the New Zealands, Chiles and Estonias of the world. The real challenge for diplomacy is negotiating with, and getting desirable results from, prickly or odious regimes. Making demands for a laundry list of concessions from such adversaries, backed up by either unenforceable or ill-advised threats, is not a practical—much less a sensible—foreign policy. Yet that is where Romney, Gingrich and most of the party’s other presidential candidates apparently would take the United States if any of them entered the White House.