Paul Greenberg

For those who like their fashions retro, these are the good old days -- all over again. Especially if you liked the look of the 1930s. Fashion doesn't apply just to clothes but to ideas, including those about foreign policy. And now appeasement is in again.

Naturally, it's called something else now, for appeasement acquired a bad reputation in the Thirties. These days it's being marketed under a new brand name, realism. And it can be worn with accessories like isolationism to complete the ensemble. Together, they produce a whole, not-so-new attitude toward threats from abroad. Mainly, let's ignore them.

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As in: Why be beastly to the Russians by setting up a missile defense system on what Moscow used to consider its turf -- eastern Europe -- and may still? Let's call the whole thing off.

The current regime in Russia, which brings to mind many a past regime in Russia, can only be delighted as this administration goes back to the old sphere-of-influence division of the continent. So delighted it will reciprocate, and cooperate in pressing the Iranians not to develop their nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it. And all will end happily. Or maybe just end.

Banish such entirely too realistic thoughts from your mind. Surely neither Moscow nor Teheran will take our dismantling our defenses as a sign that we're dismantling our defenses.

If we're nice to them, they'll be nice to us. That seems to be the pivot-point of this president's new foreign policy. It certainly worked with North Korea. Look how negotiating with Pyongyang, while supplying it with all kinds of goodies and promising still more, has kept Dear Leader from developing a Bomb of his own.

It's worked so well that Iran's little fuehrer is following the same diplomatic -- and military and technological -- strategy. Who can blame him? We've shown him how to get a Bomb of his own: Negotiate endlessly, but keep those centrifuges spinning. And soon it will be too late to keep Ahmadinejad and (mad) Company from becoming a nuclear power. Now there's a thrilling prospect.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.