When I first wrote this write up, I for some reason ignored the commonly accepted meaning of this term, which is used in history to describe the Western Democracies continuing fear that any attempt to compromise with a communist country would lead to red flags over Kansas. And of course, everytime this was challenged, the rightfully shameful memory of Munich would be dragged up.
That being said, this term should have entered the pop sociology lexicon by now, but sadly has not, at least as far as several search engines can tell me.
In class one day, I was talking to one of my tongxue and he mentioned the Chinese practice of footbinding. I said that the people who practiced this must be quite ignorant. I did not mean this as an insult or a value judgement.
Well, later that day, on IM, my friend, who had been quite offended by my description of the zhongguoren as 'ignorant'. He said that they merely suffered from "appeasement phobia", or the fear that granting concessions, even when these concessions are rational in themselves, will only lead to further trouble.
As I reflected on this, I thought about how many current social issues in this country this explains. Appeasement phobia is a true phobia, a fear that a single thing has unspeakably evil consequences that can not be stopped. Just as a normal phobic sees a spider in the corner of the room and can not stop thinking about the unthinkable thought of spiders crawling all over every niche of their body, so an appeasement phobic hears about marijuana being legalized and immediatly thinks of armed gangs of Hells Angels roaming the streets, raping women at will and shooting puppies and kittens with Ak-47s.
Appeasement phobia is not the fear of whatever issue is being negotiated over. It is a fear that the only thing that keeps people from running wild in the streets is rigidly defined rules.
Everyone out there is free to pick their favorite social issue and apply this theory to it.