Monday, March 16

Seems like 1938 again!

If you were born after 1980 or so you probably know almost nothing about WW2.

That's not your fault, of course.  Your school rulers had more important things to teach, I guess.  Economics?  Business theory?  Advanced management?  Fundamentals of genetic therapy?  No?

Well, surely they had some sort of priorities when it came to deciding what you needed to know.  Maybe someday someone will ask 'em to explain what those were.

I won't hold my breath.

Since you never learned about WW2 I want to tell you about one small event that happened just a year before that war started, because it seems to have a lot in common with what we're seeing today.

The event concerns a British prime minister who believed Hitler was actually a reasonable, rational, honorable, trustworthy man.  A gentleman, like the prime minister.

When Hitler demanded that Germany be given a few thousand square miles of a neighboring country, many people who had carefully studied Hitler's background and tactics predicted this wouldn't be the last of his demands.  But the PM could not imagine a national leader so greedy and belligerent.  Didn't fit his world-view.  So he flew to Munich to "negotiate" with Adolf Hitler over his brazen demand.

Lots of smart people who had carefully studied Hitler's rise to power advised the PM that trying to appease the chancellor would be not just useless but worse, since it would lead Hitler to believe the west would always surrender to his demands.  But the prime minister was head of the British government and no one could overrule his decisions, including on foreign policy.

Much like the situation here in the U.S., now that the emperor has junked the Constitutional requirement that the U.S. is only bound by a treaty if it's ratified by a public vote in the senate.

So the PM signed off on turning a chunk of Czechoslovakia over to Germany.  The fact that the Sudetenland wasn't his to give away didn't enter into the calculations, because at the time Britain was arguably the strongest nation in the European theater that could oppose Hitler.  If Britain wouldn't oppose Hitler, no other European nation would step up.

So in an infamous news film the PM was seen getting off his plane on his return from Munich.  He waved a piece of paper over his head and assured the British public that he had achieved "peace for our time."

The peace lasted almost exactly a year.

After the war, examination of Hitler's writings, and interviews with his advisers, showed that he would have backed down if he'd been opposed by Britain or France.

After the war began the PM, having been proven so utterly, ridiculously wrong about virtually every foreign-policy recommendation regarding Hitler's aims and actions--and arguably having made world war a certainty when it might have been averted--at least had the grace to admit his error before the nation, and to apologize for his bad judgment and refusal to listen to people who had studied Hitler carefully.

Just kidding, of course.  Chamberlain never apologized.

So here we are about 75 years later.  The Bush administration worked with our allies and the U.N. to impose a coordinated system of economic sanctions on Iran after the mullahs were discovered taking steps to build an atomic bomb.  Obama has now discontinued over half of those sanctions, and is negotiating a secret agreement with those rational, trustworthy wackjobs running Iran. 

In the last ten months the Iranians have missed two so-called "deadlines" for signing an agreement, but just like Obama's "red line" to Syria's Bashir Assad, the actions of his agents have made it clear to the mullahs that deadlines weren't really, um, deadlines.  Merely suggested timetables.

So Obama's team let the mullahs know that the U.S. was eager to continue negotiating--a fact the Iranians couldn't have failed to notice.  When your opponent is happy to ignore "deadlines" to sign an agreement, and your team still does everything it can to bring them back to the table, what does it do to your negotiating position?

Lots of people have spent years studying the Iranian regime and its players.  Almost all serious students of the regime believe the mullahs are trying to build an atomic bomb.  But Obama--like Neville Chamberlain--knows history and psychology and negotiating better than anyone else on the planet.  He only listens to Valerie Jarret--who, interestingly, was born in Iran.  Surely just a coincidence.

But surely, if Obama is wrong about the mullahs being determined to get the Bomb he'll apologize to Israel and the world for getting so many people killed.  Since he's a Nobel prize-winner this will make things all delightful again--except for the people killed by the bombs, of course.  But it's a small price to pay for "peace for our time," eh?

Chamberlain's "peace" lasted a full year after he came back with Hitler's signature.  Surely our skilled community organizer can beat this.

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