Faced with the unmasking of the neo-isolationist Obama and his Chamberlain-esque foreign policy (appeasement of enemies, abandonment of friends, and underfunding of defense), I cannot help but think back to the last time world peace was threatened by such fuzzy-brained pacifism: the 1930’s.
Then, too, building strong defenses was anathema, because it was the easiest place to cut costs, and also to avoid worrying our enemies. Then, too, the concern was that our edgy ally (then France) would get us into big trouble with its extreme demands. And, then, too, we worried that the seemingly aggressive (to judge them by their deeds and their words) upstart nation with the seemingly irrational leader were really only trying to correct past injustices and imbalances; appeasing their demands while uttering soothing reassurances was the best way to settle them down.
So the current Obama foreign policy farce has already had a full dress rehearsal and tryout on the road; it was…less than a hit.
Much has been made of the possibility of a nuclear Iran contemplating an intentional genocidal attack on Israel’s 6 million Jews (now conveniently gathered together in an area smaller than New Jersey). The apocalyptic nutcases who hold power in Iran have in fact talked about doing just that, many times over the past dozen years. Fortunately, the wise “realists” of the foreign policy establishment have always known it was just talk. “You know how kids are.”
The other worry (as if Holocaust II were not enough to get your attention) is that a nuclear Iran will be the undisputed power center of the Middle East. Here we ought to heed the warning given by Winston Churchill after the 1938 Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia.
“It must now be accepted that all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will make the best terms they can with the triumphant Nazi power…
“In fact, if not in form, it seems to me that all those countries of Middle Europe… will, one after another, be drawn into this vast system of power politics – not only power military politics but power economic politics – radiating from Berlin, and I believe this can be achieved quite smoothly and swiftly and will not necessarily entail the firing of a single shot.
“Many people, no doubt, honestly believe that they are only giving away the interests of Czechoslovakia, whereas I fear we shall find that we have deeply compromised, and perhaps fatally endangered, the safety and even the independence of Great Britain and France.”
How chillingly familiar it rings. Already we see Egypt making its obeisance to the new regional power. “It must now be accepted that all the countries of [the region] will make the best terms they can with the triumphant…power.” It may not “entail the firing of a single shot” – just a few successful nuclear weapon tests.
In the 1930′s, inflated and premature fears of German military power paralyzed French and British (and American) action when it might have succeeded, and put off the showdown until Hitler was actually ready. Excuses for inaction are always plentiful.
Of course, “Many people, no doubt, honestly believe that they are only giving away the interests” of our ally – isolated, democratic, freedom-loving Israel. But here, as in 1938, they may find themselves mistaken.
The uncomfortable deja vu of all this brings to mind Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky; watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”
Rocky: “That trick never works.”
Bullwinkle: “This time for sure.”
Bullwinkle (after trick fails): “I gotta get a new hat.”