Obama’s inauguration address: A Chamberlain-like appeasement?

There’s no shortage of think tank reax of President Obama’s second inaugural address Monday, but Center for a New American Security (CNAS) senior fellow Tom Ricks, who often calls himself an “Obama fan,” gave the president a C- for his “second rate Kennedyisms.”


(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

But also for Obama’s apparent appeasement reference?  Ricks took exception to Obama’s

… use of the phrase “peace in our time.” This came during his discussion of foreign policy, and in such circles, that phrase is a synonym for appeasement, especially of Hitler by Neville Chamberlain in September 1938. What signal does his using it send to Iran? I hope he was just using it to jerk Netanyahu’s chain.

I also simply didn’t understand what he meant by “a world without boundaries.” But my immediate thought was, No, right now we need boundaries — like those meant to keep Iran out of Syria and Pakistan out of Afghanistan.

It’s not clear that what Obama was prescribing in Monday’s address is the same thing as appeasement of Hitler and the Nazis, although Ricks isn’t the only one to think so.

“And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice,” Obama said.

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Allen McDuffee · January 22, 2013