"This terrorist enemy will never be appeased, because death is their banner and their cause."
-- George W. Bush speaking today at Fort Campbell
As predictable as they are disciplined, Republicans are still relying on "appeasement" as their go-to buzzword. Any and all critics of their ass-backwards foreign policy will be attacked as "appeasers," which is code for either traitor or dangerously soft liberal or both.
This is shrill but effective propaganda -- note that Kerry's losing by a mile in the "who will make you safer" question in recent polls. So the pragmatic question is, what's the Democrat's alternative language for criticizing the Bush administration?
So far the Democrats have relied mainly on the charge of "unilateralism" to define their opponents. It's not a bad choice. Unilateralism counters the "appeasement" charge since most Americans want greater cooperation with our allies. And it sets up the Democrats' smarter approach -- more diplomacy, use of soft power, more cooperation, etc. And it does not imply pacifism.
But unilateralism is too wonky to stick. And the Bush administration's problems go well beyond unilateralism anyway -- but here they go unnamed and largely undefined (at least by democrats).
Without getting into the nitty-gritty details here, I'd describe the Bush admin. approach as basically this: intentionally provoking potentially sympathetic nations into seeing the US as a threat under the misguided assumption that this makes us safer. But that's not very catchy.
Whether that description is entirely accurate or not, the real question is this: is there a stronger, less wonkish, simpler word than "unilateralism" for describing the Bush administration's radical and dangerous foreign policy?
Hornet nest wackers? Evangelical revolutionaries? Al Queda recruiters?
I don't know. Perhaps the word is already being used and I'm just missing it. If not, any ideas?