Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Appeasement and Isolationism Are Dangerously Misguided Ideologies

Speaking about the infamous 1938 Munich Agreement in which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to give part of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland) to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, Otto Strasser--an early member of the Nazi party--told historian John Toland in the 1970s, "He (Hitler) would have broken every promise, every signature, because these are not obligations for him. He had no moral connections. He was the most amoral man I ever have seen. And I believe this was one of the reasons for his success."

Chamberlain's inability or unwillingness to recognize Hitler's true nature set the world on a path toward oblivion. Chamberlain declared that he had delivered "peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time." Winston Churchill, who later became Prime Minister and helped lead the Allies to victory over Nazi Germany during World War II, retorted, "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war."

The main reason that history repeats itself is that very few people learn and apply the lessons that history teaches. One might think that the Jewish people, who suffered so greatly during the Holocaust in the wake of Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, would have learned the lesson that appeasement is not an effective policy toward countries and terrorist groups that openly state their genocidal goals, but--sadly--Israel has often chosen dishonor over war. For example, in 2011, Israel foolishly released more than 1000 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli solider illegally kidnapped and held captive by the terrorist group Hamas. More than a decade later, Hamas is still launching terrorist attacks not just against Israel but against Jews worldwide. Israel's appeasement strengthened and emboldened Hamas, other terrorist groups, and Hamas' sponsor state Iran.

Many world leaders have been far too slow to understand or accept the danger posed by Vladimir Putin, whose grandiose goal to build a Russian Empire is very similar to Hitler's goal to conquer Germany's neighbors to provide lebensraum ("living room") for the so-called master Aryan race.

On March 10, 2015, I wrote Garry Kasparov Lambastes West's "Weak" Response to Vladimir Putin's Tyranny, quoting Kasparov's warning about the dangers by Putin: 

We have been facing this problem for quite a while. And so many mistakes have been made. These mistakes created an impression for Putin and his cronies and also his clients like Assad and others in the world. Iranian Ayatollahs. The West is weak. The West is not willing to get engaged. So the West will give them anything they want. Before we talk about the right strategy, what the leaders of the free world must do, let's talk about what they must not do. You cannot project weakness. Yes, I know that America will never consider seriously boots on the ground in Ukraine. Why are you talking about it? Why do you say publicly that you will not do that?

I concluded my article with these prophetic words: 

Hitler took whatever he could take through negotiation and then sought to conquer the rest through war. Putin's Russia and Iran's jihadist regime are following that same blueprint today. Hitler did not have legitimate grievances nor could he be reasoned with or placated. Hitler had strategic goals and he made those goals very clear in his writings and in his speeches. The world was foolish to ignore his words.

When will the West wake up to the dangers posed by today's tyrants, who also speak quite clearly about their ultimate goals? When will a modern-day Winston Churchill or Harry Truman emerge?

Neville Chamberlain was wrong about Adolf Hitler and Chamberlain's mistakes precipitated World War II. President Obama is wrong now about Putin's Russia and about Iran. We can only hope that the consequences of President Obama's mistakes will not be as severe. 

We now see those consequences every day in the form of headlines about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, resulting in immense suffering and loss of life. President Joe Biden, who funds the PLO's "Pay for Slay" program to kill Jews and whose defining moment is the triumph of the Taliban after his retreat from Afghanistan, is unlikely to enact policies to mitigate those consequences and curb the impact of Putin's tyranny. 

Appeasement and isolationism are two sides of the same tarnished coin. The United States should not appease tyrannical regimes, nor should the United States pretend that what happens in other parts of the world is of no consequence to the American people. Declaring that "war is not the answer" may sound great, but the reality is that in many instances there is not a peaceful way to deal with tyrannical regimes. Non-violent non-cooperation is a very effective strategy for dealing with injustices within a free, open society: it worked for Mahatma Gandhi's followers in opposition to the British, and it worked for Dr. Martin Luther King's followers in opposition to American discrimination against Black people. However, as I noted in Violence, Non-Violent Non-Cooperation, and Human Nature, "Gandhi's public assertion that European Jewry should accept without resistance whatever fate Hitler's executioners delivered is not only absurd but it is obscene. As Rabbi Shmuley Boteach explains, 'What Gandhi failed to realize is that when dealing with moral or at least somewhat humane governments, nonviolent resistance has its place. But when dealing with murderous barbarians such as ISIS or the Nazis, no level of nonviolent resistance will ever change their minds. Gandhi's philosophy would only guarantee that they take over the world.'"

Appeasement was a fatally flawed strategy in 1938, and it remains a fatally flawed strategy today. War is awful, but--as Churchill sagely noted--dishonor followed by war is even worse. If Putin's Russia, Iran, and other tyrannical regimes are not stopped today, it will become more costly (both in terms of human suffering and money) to stop them later.


  1. Amna Nawaz and Palestinian-Arab terrorists attack on any Israeli Jew

    June 3, 2023.

    Following weeks of attacks on Israelis civilians and on Israeli anti-terror enforcers...

    On the day, IDF began 'Home & Garden' - an anti-Terror operation on Jenin (with highly precision guided weapon to minimize collateral damage), Amna Nawaz, outrageously uttered the following line:

    "Raising fear of an uprising against the occupation, the settlers and the right wing Israeli government..."

    (PBS News hour, July 3, 2023.
    [youtube [dot] com/watch?app=desktop&v=FgIiDwsOEOc&t=4m20s]).


    Is she attempting to white wash Arab Palestinian targeting of civilians anywhere?

    She also tried, very hard, to connect Palestinian terrorists - which she calls "uprising" - to newly planned settlements.

    As if under Bennet administration -- the unity government which also included the Arab-Islamist representative Ra'am's Mansour Abbas in its coalition -- there were no massacres by the Arabs? --- Hadera, Beer Sheva, Elad (with axes), Bnei Brak (following swastikas with Mosque drawing seen at Arab workers site), etc.?

    As (first Muslim presenter at PBS) Amna Nawaz, was so focused on what she terms "extremists", she couldn't find a word about the (days earlier) horrifying Arab-Islamic mob in Paris - trashing at Holocaust Memorial site and other anti-Jewish expressions there.

    And the largest hole in her "reporting" - ignoring the moral amd financial support for attackers by the Palestinian Authority.

  2. Anonymous:

    PBS is just one of many networks and news outlets that provide coverage that is very biased against Israel and in favor of Palestinian-Arab terrorists. These networks and news outlets often profess to support "progressive" causes, but they ignore the deep and long-standing alliances connecting the Palestinian-Arab terrorist groups to tyrannical regimes--including the former Soviet Union (and its successor state, Russia), Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, to name just a few--that are enemies of democracy and freedom around the world (not just in Israel).


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