The now-concluded Iran nuclear negotiations predictably reflect ancient truths of appeasement.
While members of the Obama administration are high-fiving each other over a deal with the Iranian theocracy, they should remember unchanging laws that will surely haunt the United States later on.
First, appeasement always brings short-term jubilation at the expense of long-term security. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was a beloved peacemaker after the Munich Agreement of 1938 with Adolf Hitler but derided as a conceited fool andnaif by May 1940.A few years from now – after Iran has used its negotiated breathing space to rearm, ratchet up its terrorist operations, and eventually gain a bomb to blackmail its neighbors – the current deal will be deeply regretted. Expect a Nobel Peace Prize for Secretary of State John Kerry now, followed by Chamberlain-like infamy later.
Second, the appeasement of autocrats always pulls the rug out from under domestic reformers and idealists. After the Western capitulation at Munich, no dissenter in Germany dared to question the ascendant dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Expect a Nobel Peace Prize for Secretary of State John Kerry now, followed by Chamberlain-like infamy later.
Until last week, Iranian dissidents and reformers had blamed the theocracy for earning Iran pariah status abroad and economic ruin at home. Not now. The haughty ayatollahs are bragging that they faced down the West and will restore the economy – as they wink to applauding crowds that Iran will soon be nuclear and dictate its terms to the Middle East.
Third, appeasers always wrongly insist that the only alternative to their foolish concessions is war. Just the opposite is true.
Time was not on Iran’s side. Teheran was growing desperate for financial and commercial relief from global sanctions and embargoes. In contrast, the world had no such urgency and could have easily waited for a cash-strapped and ostracized Iran to give up on a bomb.
There were plenty of alternatives short of war in dealing with Hitler from 1936 to 1939, but none after. Expect that in five years Iran will be better armed, richer, more confident, more aggressive – and nearly impossible to deter without the use of force.
Fourth, beneficiaries grow to hate their appeasers. Such ingratitude might seem counterintuitive, given the gifts that the Iranians have just received from the Obama administration. But we should remember that Hitler called his Munich appeasers “worms” and pushed them even further.
Under the rules of appeasement, an aggressor privately has only disdain for compromises that benefit him, and yet feels a weird sort of respect for those who deter him. Expect an emboldened Iran to double down on its anti-Americanism, as it brags about how a weak and decadent Great Satan meekly caved to its demands, which will only grow greater.
Fifth, allies are always the big losers in appeasement. Britain and France ensured the destruction of third-party Czechoslovakia by conceding to Hitler’s demands in 1938 – and doomed Poland in 1939.
Our apprehensive friends and allies in the Middle East – the Gulf states and Egypt especially – will naturally, for their own protection, expect the same sort of nuclear deal that we accorded our enemy, Iran.
America is for a while longer out of Iranian missile range. Not so the Arab world, Israel, and perhaps southern and eastern Europe. Won’t our Pacific allies also wish to keep their strategic deterrent options open by following the Iranian enrichment model?
Concessions to enemies naturally prompt allies into wondering why they do not receive similar latitude – even on issues quite unconnected with military affairs. Were Western diplomats harsher on friendly Greece than they were to hostile and would-be nuclear Iran?
The cost of giving into Greece is hundreds of millions of euros; giving into Iran will involve blood rather than money. Perhaps if Greece just had a few thousand spinning centrifuges, it might have been bailed out more quickly by terrified Westerners.
After the Iranian agreement, expect a world of nervous and angry allies, the end of dissent inside Iran, the spread of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, more nuclear states, a growing contempt for alliances with the West, and a new Middle East that may have to adopt appeasement to deal with a haughty Iran, flush with new cash and arms.
Finally, outside observers of appeasement always make the necessary geostrategic adjustments.
Joseph Stalin weighed carefully the democracies’ appeasement of Hitler’s serial aggressions in the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. By 1939, the Soviet Union had fatally decided that it was as dangerous to have unreliable France and Britain as allies as it was having Germany as an enemy. So Stalin cut what proved to be a disastrous deal with Hitler that ensured World War II.
China and Russia will never again see any advantage in joining the West in embargoing and sanctioning a would-be nuclear state – not when such a hard-won common front can become utterly nullified at any moment by a fickle United States. Both powers will grow closer to Iran.
In 2015, we naively hail peace with honor, but by 2020, sadder and wiser, we will lament war and shame.
© 2015 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
24 thoughts on “Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History”
“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.
“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?
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.
Start building your bunker!!!!
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
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.
Simply put, John Kerry is a self serving, ignorant, pandering FOOL.
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.
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!
There’s always brilliance in your delineations of history.
“”” 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.
“” The volatile fusion origins rise & demise of the Islamic left.”” From Dawn. Historic picture’s–a long article, history of coups.
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”!
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.
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
“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?
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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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