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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Idiotwatch 2

Tory leadership candidate David Cameron will make his contribution to the Islamic extremism debate. Apparently,
David Cameron will liken the growth of militant Islamic terrorism to the rise of the Nazis in a speech today attempting to establish his leadership credentials as tough on foreign policy.
The Conservative leadership hopeful will use his first major foreign policy speech to urge Britain not to agree to an early withdrawal from Iraq or back major concessions by Israel in the Middle East, likening weakness in the face of extremism to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.

Mr Cameron will say today: "If only, some argue, we withdraw from Iraq, or Israel made massive concessions, then we would assuage jihadist anger. That argument, often advanced by well-meaning people, is as limited as the belief in the Thirties that by allowing Germany to remilitarise the Rhineland or take over the Sudetenland, we would satisfy Nazi ambitions.
"As we discovered in the 1930s, a willingness to cede ground and duck confrontation is interpreted as a fatal weakness. It can only provide an incentive to escalate the struggle against a foe who clearly lacks the stomach for the fight."


This argument is doing the rounds of late. We already had to witness the absurd comparisons between the Iraq War and WWII, now this. Historical parallels are almost doomed to failure. There are no such convenient patterns in history (as Eden found out in the Suez crisis). One reason why this use of historical parallels is absurd is that the historical conditions are radically different from the 1930s. On a basic level, what really are the chances of terrorists being as powerful as Hitler? What chance, seriously, have Muslim terrorists got of taking over chunks of Europe? And isn't there a little more to the Israeli situation than assuaging terrorist concerns? None of it comes close to working. Paralleling the events of the 1930s have little if any usefulness. They can be turned on their head. Who's to say Saddam or anyone else couldn't have used such logic? And what drives this? Does history have some self evident morals driven my a mysterious force? It makes no sense.

Look further at the underlying logic: those who wanted to avoid confrontation in the 1930s is interpreted as a fatal weakness, therefore those who don't want one now have the same problem. So presumably anyone who wants to avoid a confrontation is just the same, in any situation, any time?? If the 1930s say so then this applies for all time? 'It can only....'

Another great choice for the next election looms...

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