The Neo-Con response to diplomacy and any agreement that might result thereof, is to bring up the idea that the President or any president is guilty of appeasement.
Not every foreign policy crisis has the same factual context that the “Munich Pact,” of some years ago had. In almost a knee jerk reaction to whatever crisis takes place you can count on the opposition bringing up the Hitler lesson of the past. My fellow citizens each foreign policy crisis is not comparable to that famous day when Neville Chamberlain famously commented on his agreement with Hitler that peace in our time had been accomplished.
Before Neville Chamberlain appeasement was known as fence building or conciliation now it is thought of as giving in or conceding, concessions. Today let us not confuse diplomacy with appeasement. No agreement if it is to last is without each side feeling as if they have won something for their side.
Irrespective of the current American fatigue of war let us review briefly the history of the Munich Pact. It behooves all of us to realize that yes, lessons were learned from the days when Prime Minister Chamberlain thought he had a peace agreement with Hitler. History does not repeat itself, exactly, when the facts are similar to one another, and sometimes the facts are quite different and a country should be careful to not take what happened in Munich as a literal lesson for each historical circumstance.
In the days leading up to the Munich Pact, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler had taken advantage of what the allies had already given away to Germany. Germany had been disarmed by a solumn treaty from the end of World War I and were rearming their nation to the neglect of the victorious countries in World War I; The allies had stood by while Germany marched into and occupied the Ruhr or what some have called the Rhineland; The German-Italian Axis was established; Austria was taken over by Germany. All of those things had taken place before Hitler gave his ultimatum regarding the Sudetenland and the take over of the Czech State took place as a result of Hitler’s thirst for conquest.
It is natural for a people and the world to seek peace but not peace at any cost. The Munich Pact had public support in England. A few days after the German takeover of Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain had changed his tune and had accepted what Hitler’s true intentions were and set in motion a new policy whereby Poland became the line in the sand.
Churchill spoke about how Hitler had misunderstood Chamberlain as well, by saying that, ” He mistook his civilian aspect and passionate desire for peace for a complete explanation of his personality, and thought that his umbrella was his symbol. He did not realise that Neville Chamberlain had a very hard core, and that he did not like being cheated.”
Chamberlain’s Birmingham speech set a markedly different tone explicitly saying that England would not accept any more claims to new territory by the German government and by Adolph Hitler.
Now the Neo-Cons would have us believe that an agreement between Iran and the 5 major world powers, the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France is an agreement deserving of the title of appeasement.
Iran has no history of aggression and conquest of it’s neighbors. Germany had a history of expansion and of invading their neighbors. Germany had already started a world war. There is no real historical comparisons that can lend themselves to the conclusion that Iran is another Germany, nor that their religious leaders have any interest in the conquest of any other country. No one has been appeased and in point of fact it would appear that the agreement is much stronger than what was anticipated.
Neo-cons come into this argument with unclean hands. They cried wolf about Iraq and Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. They seem to support any war for the sake of what we are not sure. But it would appear that what Neo-Cons really want to do is to use the power of our military for financial gain by making money on war or on the increased oil prices which a war with Iran would guarantee. Also they seem to seek to gain political power through the use of force. What the Neo-Cons have brought us in reality is an Iraq and a region that is so unstable that a regional war is quite possible.
The American people must not be fooled into thinking that any agreement is too weak unless Iran completely folds. Unreasonable demands which we know will not be agreed to will only give the hardliners on each side what they want, which is another war.
Demand of our Congress the support that this agreement between the 5 powers and Iran richly deserves. Give Peace a chance. Diplomacy and the willingness to talk to each other with respect offers our best chance for peace and a new relationship between Iran and the rest of the world.