Sunday, December 04, 2005

Peace Studies

Looking over Viper's options for social studies classes next year, we spotted "Peace Studies" on the course list. Count us among those in favor of peace. Who isn't? However, we don't have much patience with the moonbattery that occurs under the banner of the "peace movement" (e.g. Cindy Sheehan), and we don't have much use for the Nebraskans for Peace organization.

The problem, of course, is that these people think that good intentions and a willingness to split differences will automatically solve any conflict. It follows from that (in this way of thinking) that everything would be fine, if the US (or Israel) would just stop irritating our enemies and listen to their concerns. Sadly, their main concern is often a desire to kill us or rob us, and talking it through with them is just going to get us killed or robbed. There is evil in the world, but the "Peace Movement" thinks it's all in the White House.

According to the blurb, the Peace Studies course:
"... offers an intellectual grounding in the methods, history and practice of peacemaking. The course is theoretical as well as practical. The peacemaking skills of Gandhi, King and history's other proven peacemakers will be discussed."
We have great admiration for Gandhi and Dr. King, but an absolutely essential element of their success was the underlying good of the governments they were facing. Against the ruthless tyrants of the world, where speaking up gets you killed, different approaches are needed.

What this course really needs is a thorough analysis of the peacemaking skills of Neville Chamberlain. Compare and contrast Chamberlain's legacy vs. King and Gandhi. Why did Chamberlain's policy, which he called Appeasement, become the very definition of failed negotiations? It comes down to who they were negotiating with. Chamberlain's failure to recognize the nature of his adversary was enormously costly. Churchill and others could see that the Nazi regime could not be trusted, but Chamberlain refused to see it.

We haven't taken the Peacemaking course, of course. Tycho didn't take it, and Viper won't be taking it either. Perhaps it does cover how to recognize the cases where a purely "peacemaking" approach is bound to lead to ruin. Perhaps.

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