Once again our leaders are needlessly appeasing a hostile state that shows them nothing but contempt.
The Western capitulation to Adolf Hitler in the 1938 Munich Agreement is cited as classic appeasement that destroyed Czechoslovakia, backfired on France and Britain, and led to World War II.
All of that is true.
But there was much more that caused the Munich debacle than simple Western naiveté. The full tragedy of that ill-fated agreement should warn us on the eve of the Obama’s administration’s gullible agreement with Iran on nuclear proliferation.
Fable one is the idea that most people saw right through the Munich folly. True, Europeans knew that Hitler had never once told the truth and was already murdering German citizens who were Jews, Communists, or homosexuals. But Europeans did not care all that much.
Instead, the Western world was ecstatic over the agreement. After the carnage of World War I, Europeans would do anything to avoid even a small confrontation — even if such appeasement all but ensured a far greater bloodbath than the one that began in 1914.
Another myth was that Hitler’s Wehrmacht was strong and the democracies were weak. In fact, the combined French and British militaries were far larger than Hitler’s. French Char tanks and British Spitfire fighters were as good as, or superior to, their German counterparts.
Czechoslovakia had formidable defenses and an impressive arms industry. Poland and perhaps even the Soviet Union were ready to join a coalition to stop Hitler from dissolving the Czech state.
It is also untrue that the Third Reich was united. Many of Hitler’s top generals did not want war. Yet each time Hitler successfully called the Allies’ bluff — in the Rhineland or with the annexation of Austria — the credibility of his doubters sank while his own reckless risk-taking became even more popular.
Munich was hardly a compassionate agreement. In callous fashion it immediately doomed millions of Czechs and put Poland on the target list of the Third Reich.
Munich was directly tied to the vanity of Neville Chamberlain. In the first few weeks after Munich, Chamberlain basked in adulation, posing as the humane savior of Western civilization. In contrast, loud skeptic Winston Churchill was dismissed by the media and public as an old warmonger.
Hitler failed to appreciate the magnanimity and concessions of the French and British. He later called his Munich diplomatic partners “worms.” Hitler said of the obsequious Chamberlain, “I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach in front of the photographers.”
The current negotiations with the Iranians in Lausanne, Switzerland, have all the hallmarks of the Munich negotiations.
Most Westerners accept that the Iranian government funds terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. It has all but taken over Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Yet the idea of stronger sanctions, blockades, or even force to stop Iranian efforts to get a bomb are considered scarier than Iran getting a bomb that it just possibly might not threaten to use.
The U.S. and its NATO partners are far stronger than Iran in every imaginable measure of military and economic strength. The Iranian economy is struggling, its government is corrupt, and its conventional military is obsolete. Iran’s only chance of gaining strength is to show both its own population and the world at large that stronger Western powers backed down in fear of its threats and recklessness.
Iran is not united. It is a mishmash nation in which over a third of the population is not Persian. Millions of protestors hit the streets in 2009. An Iranian journalist covering the talks defected in Switzerland — and said that U.S. officials at the talks are there mainly to speak on behalf of Iran.
By reaching an agreement with Iran, John Kerry and Barack Obama hope to salvage some sort of legacy — in the vain fashion of Chamberlain — out of a heretofore failed foreign policy.
There are more Munich parallels. The Iranian agreement will force rich Sunni nations to get their own bombs to ensure a nuclear Middle East standoff. A deal with Iran shows callous disagreed for our close ally Israel, which is serially threatened by Iran’s mullahs. The United States is distant from Iran. But our allies in the Middle East and Europe are within its missile range.
Supporters of the Obama administration deride skeptics such as Democratic senator Robert Menendez and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as if they were doubting old Churchills.
Finally, the Iranians, like Hitler, have only contempt for the administration that has treated them so fawningly. During the negotiations in Switzerland, the Iranians blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. Their supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, did his usual “death to America” shtick before adoring crowds.
Our dishonor in Lausanne, as with Munich, may avoid a confrontation in the present, but our shame will guarantee a war in the near future.
© 2015 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
17 thoughts on “The Shadow of Munich Haunts the Iran Negotiations”
Indeed, Obama’s mistaken capitulation to the Iranian mullahs warrants comparisons to Chamberlain’s follies with Hitler. I fear millions of dead Jews and other Middle Eastern people will be one of the horrific outcomes as history repeats itself.
great point…. but…. how many years into the future will this happen…. and….. what will liberals be pushing then…. and won’t take any of the blame for the disaster they created now?
I think the key difference now from then is that the west really does want a capitulation to Iran. They’re not deluding themselves that they’ve reached an adequate detente so much as they’re concerned how they can spin their willing defeat to their own electorate. Lausanne was theater. It was fake. It was for the cheap seats at home. Obama and other weren’t going TO cave, they already had, before they arrived. The Germans and Brits were drooling for contracts with Iran, China and Russia have been nearly invisible because they never HAD entertained sanctions. France raised its head to some extent but again, that was for Gallic pride at home. Obama already intended to give Iran whatever it liked, and more, no matter what the curtain at the end of Act III signified. Now all we have to wait for is the standard Obama denouement where he unleashes then ignores another Islamic nation of madmen, claim he’s be swept along by the verdict of history and once again watch as another region of the world burns. Because that’s what ideologues do.
No, I’m afraid we’ve all been lead down the primrose path, not by well wishing cowards like Chamberlain, but by lying double dealing nihilists like Stalin.
“You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour. You will have war.”
I’d think ,regardless of current ‘negotiations’, it still remains to be seen conclusively that the United States can be like a staunch Poland in the face of Iranian policies of aggression.
Prior to Munich, there was much Hitlerian bombast to get his way in Europe.. Today, it would appear Iran has gone the ‘softer’ route by having the US come to the table and thereby show Iran its difficulties in having some semblance of holding and pressing the initiative in the still-to-be-decided talks on solutions. to the ‘Iranian’ problem of nuclear capability. With each day of negotiation it would see Kerry et al shows with which side they should be cut and dispensed with. Really Iran simply probes for weakness. If Mr. Kerry comes out with a paper it better be good.
As we’ve seen too much talk and no action is deleterious in checking the desires of a country bent on pursuing destabilizng aims at a time of great geographical insecurity. Let’s see what was learned after 1939.
Is Saudi theocracy not a menace? I would love to see an article from the Professor on the rabid Kingdom.
Our Western leader’s have failed the West. Article from harvard’s Lawrence Summers, “”” Time U.S leadership woke up to new economic era.””” In the U.S, it’s finance. Our very own, honorary Prez of mexico is seaching for an answer on the 9th hole.
why hasn’t anyone pointed out yet that extremist muslims. their minority counterparts as well as the borderline militant left wing are the heirs of the Nazi legacy? i see what these people stand for and frankly, i’m scared.
please don’t think i’m being flippant. i really respect your writing – it is second to none.
It is interesting, for a man who so disdains conflict and is hell bent on avoiding one at all cost, it will be his policy and his legacy that will put this nation and others back into one.
How is that for hypocritical actions. Of course, he will be on the golf course, not giving a damn. His patented response of course will be., “it didn’t happen on my watch”. What a bum and a punk he is.
“”” Corker: Obama doctrine means abandoning middle east””, from bloomberg. Jaw-dropping stuff. The picture should be plastered on every history book. If the Left wins, Europe/Middle-East— lost to the powers of domination.
If you like your nuclear bombs, you can keep (and use) your nuclear bombs.
The French had a nickname for Chamberlain it was J’aime Berlin. How can Obama be so stupid, it is very clear what Iran is up to. Still there is some justice in all this. When the Ayatollah Khomeini was a political refugee in France, the French government gave him a post office and two telex machines from which to orchestrate the revolution in Iran getting rid of the American Installed Shar. This is a clear breach of international law whereby refugees are forbidden to partake in the politics of the country they have fled from. Very clever French diplomacy and now we will see rockets pointed at Paris within about five or six years. Hope and change hope and change yea right
It is actually a very good treaty for America. But don’t expect Hanson, who supported Bush’s war based on lies that cost $3 trillion and killed 1.3 million, to point this out. We heard the same “Munich” cries about Vietnam
Obama seems to have a serious problem with “math”… Is there ANYTHING he tells us that “adds up”?
No Nukes for Iran.
We will inspect Iran.
Not a Smidgen of Corruption in the IRS.
Fully Transparent Administration.
All bills will be posted on the internet 48 hours before votes…
The list would seize up Mr. Hanson’s server….
More accurate, a pathological liar…
The comparisons to Chamberlain are almost spot on. Except it is Obama who makes Neville shine as a truer nationalist, one who graciously stepped aside as Churchill took the stage as Prime Minister. One who also threw himself into the war effort as much as anyone to defend his country. This despite his wrongheaded approach to succoring the German cause. Chamberlain was never the narcissist, nor petulant academic second-rater as Obama proudly parades himself to be. Chamberlain may have lofted a thin agreement on paper allowing Germany to light the fuse of WW II, but he never would have personally handed over the bomb to his enemies as Obama has done with a cheerful, “Allow me.” Yes, Chamberlain was foolish, but at least he wasn’t a fool.
The shadow of Hitler haunts the Iran negotiations, on both sides of the table.
What did Barack learn in university? And how does he really feel about Western civilization? I think we’re getting those questions answered.