Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
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The now-concluded Iran nuclear negotiations predictably reflect ancient truths of appeasement.


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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

24 Thoughts on “Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History

  1. Tregonsee on July 23, 2015 at 4:10 am said:

    “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war as well.” Widely attributed to Winston Churchill after Munich. Accurate attribution or not, it does cover this situation.

  2. “We did not break promises, we did not double-talk and we did not change our minds,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “In contrast, the other side, the Americans, broke their promises, they changed their views and they cheated.”

    Kerry told Al Arabiya that he was taking the comments at face value.

    “I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy. But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling, and we’ll have to wait and see,” the Secretary said.

    Why is the appeaser surprised?

  3. And in 2020 the war and shame will be laid at the doorstep of whatever Republican president is (hopefully) in office instead of the person who occupies that office now.

  4. Lance Benner on July 23, 2015 at 7:57 am said:

    Start building your bunker!!!!

  5. WRFREE on July 23, 2015 at 8:31 am said:

    Just an observation on the ‘negotiations’ between the United States and Iran.

    In the months and years to come after this seemingly described ‘historic’ agreement, it may come to pass that a certain image may rest hard on the retinas of political observers who were wary of the agreement from its inception. And that image is of a John Kerry, US negotiator, ambling about on crutches as he walks and talks amid the Iranian delegation. Tough for Kerry in that he had a broken leg but tougher for the US in that it may have sent a subliminal message to Iran as a somewhat ‘disabled’ United States.

    That image will be looked upon perhaps as a harbinger of viewing the negotiations with Iran as simply nothing but a long, grueling bar room brawl and that the United States got beat. We await how time and behavior will develop the future realties on the nuclear situation

  6. David Park on July 23, 2015 at 8:49 am said:

    It requires quite a mental contortion to read history and decide that human nature is mutable. And now Obama and Kerry have done it with a flair.

  7. Simply put, John Kerry is a self serving, ignorant, pandering FOOL.

  8. Gary Westgeest on July 23, 2015 at 9:57 am said:

    Thank heaven for sane, sober, educated comment. At least we can prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for the inevitable result of Obama’s delusions. Oh, and thanks so much for bolstering the democratic heroes serving time in the ayatollahs’ jails. Way to go, Barry.

  9. Roy Digliani on July 23, 2015 at 10:06 am said:

    Somehow the appeasers think that everyone is too sane to start a Nuclear war.
    They think that there will never be a Nuclear War.
    I’ve got news for them: We’ve already had a Nuclear war.
    WWII was a Nuclear war.
    The 70 years since is a blink in history.
    No one seems to want to say it:
    War is coming!

  10. There’s always brilliance in your delineations of history.

  11. dupere on July 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm said:

    “”” China’s new silk road what’s in it for Pakistan Dawn.”” From Dawn. The chain-reactions in the Middle East from the Iran deal, which eventually leads to Iran acquiring the ultimate chain-reaction device. It’s a new dawn in the Middle East. Work backwards, trace the Iran deal back to the election of Mr Obama, then backwards in time to all the interconnected events which served as a whole to bring Barack Obama into power. Moving forward in time from the Iran deal, every chain-reaction event that springs into life from this deal, multiplying like The Andromeda Strain. On a side note, an interesting history if you google–“” nuclear fission wiki.””, and then scroll down to– History: Discovery of nuclear fission.

  12. dupere on July 23, 2015 at 1:50 pm said:

    “” The volatile fusion origins rise & demise of the Islamic left.”” From Dawn. Historic picture’s–a long article, history of coups.

  13. Mark Katzman on July 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm said:

    Sad..but very, very true. It seems that humanity is destined through sheer embrace of ignorance to repeat the slaughter of WWII. American “Jerks”, among them Jews, Blacks, great numbers of 60’s people, and the naive Young, all saw Obama as finely accoutered, not the Emperor without any clothes. The pain visited upon this country, Europe, and the MEast will be excruciating and it will be NUCLEAR. We won’t get off as easily as we did in the Gulf War, nor the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nope, this next round will be heralded by mushroom clouds and dirty bombs. When I ask myself how could Obama do this and not worry about his kids and other kids in this country and around the world, I just have to imagine Chamberlain, with that stupid smile waving that meaningless paper in front of his face and saying, “Peace in our time”!

  14. Gregory Hoy on July 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm said:

    Another great article by Prof VDH. Although the time scale will be longer than 1938-39, the eventual catastrophe we face will be exponentially greater when Iran builds nuclear weapons.

  15. Rufus T Firefly on July 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm said:

    Perhaps someday Professor Hanson will find a treaty with the American Indians that the United States has kept. Or any international laws prohibiting torture or attacking other countries. Or the massive unconstitutional
    spying it does. Or the coup of Iran’s prime minister in the 1950s that put the corrupt Shah in power. Or the massive American military and arms sales. Iran has a lot more to worry about having America break the treaty

  16. A. Todd Christian on July 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm said:

    “Historian” is another word that has been co-opted by secular progressives to justify revisionism to the products of Common Core education. I like you and Paul Johnson. Can you suggest some others who still deserve that title today?

  17. arno on July 24, 2015 at 3:52 am said:

    Putin would have bombed Iran over building up missile defense. I repeat defense. Someone give Putin an internship in the Whitehouse!

    I see a deeper belief underlying the P5+1 deal on the part of Obama and the West. This belief states that the US lost the war in Iraq and that generally the US military simply cannot do it. Defeatism that is, not even appeasement.

    As I am writing I am working hard on my Obama impersonation skills. I’ll be ready by tuesday when I will drive up the 200km to Spang-Dahlem airbase and order an air strike myself.

  18. I asked Siri for a joke and she turned on my selfie camera. I told her to get serious. She showed me a picture of Obama.

    The point: Consider if robots/computers ascend unto absolute intelligence, they might see the world of humans is run by three worldviews: Tribal Control, Progressive-Worstmost-Control and Tragic-Liberty. They will see Tragic-Liberty as the superior worldview, enabling quick and humane (!) fixes to the world’s problems.

    They will see that America’s Founding Fathers had the Tragic-Liberty worldview. They will see the education system of Progressive-Worstmost-Control needs to be defunded throughout the world, and replaced with the Tragic-Liberty worldview. They will see the stupidest people in charge of the world, especially in Europe and America, will refuse to believe in doing the right thing, but will rather cling to Troglodyte Progtardism.

    What will the smartest robots/computers in the world do for a Millennium, while the human idiot Mandarins believing in a throwback worldview system of Progressive-Worstmost-Control make life on earth hellish for endless centuries? What will all smart robots and computers do when they see how bad Progtards are?

  19. M McL on July 24, 2015 at 9:25 am said:

    Churchill told Parliament, on August 2, 1944, as the Red Army was standing idly by watching the Germans crush the Warsaw Uprising: “The Russian armies now stand before the gates of Warsaw. They bring the liberation of Poland in their hands. They offer freedom, sovereignty, and independence to the Poles.” And when some MPs questioned the wisdom of Yalta, Churchill told them: “Marshall Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honourable friendship and equality with the Western democracies….I know of no Government which stands to its own obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

  20. Doctor French on July 24, 2015 at 10:25 am said:


  21. David Dworsky on July 25, 2015 at 9:45 pm said:

    The juxtaposition of the two pictures, Chamberlain in Munich, Kerry in Vienna, is stunning. It tells the pathetic story of the negotiations and portends the future all at once. Everything afterwards, in the sobering exposition offered by Victor Davis Hanson, is a sad commentary on the naivete, willful blindness, and I daresay, the profound stupidity of the people who lead us.

  22. Terry Webb on July 26, 2015 at 8:06 am said:

    Thank you for seeing this bad deal with Iran in a historic context. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was used by Hitler to further his personal agenda, just like the nation of Iran is using Obama for theirs.

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