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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 16, 2006 / 18 Shevat, 5766

Appeasement 101

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is easy to damn the 1930s appeasers of Hitler — such as Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain in England and Edouard Daladier in France — given what the Nazis ultimately did when unleashed. But history demands not merely recognizing the truth post facto, but also trying to reconstruct the rationale of something that now in hindsight seems inexplicable.


Appeasement in the 1930s was popular with the European public for a variety of reasons. All of them are instructive in our hesitation about stopping a nuclear Iran, or about defending the right of Western newspapers to print what they wish — or about fighting radical Islamism in general.


First, Europe had nearly been destroyed during the Great War, a mere 20 years prior. No responsible postwar leader wished to risk a second continental bloodbath.


Unfortunately, Hitler understood that all too well. In a game of diplomatic chicken, he figured many responsible democratic statesmen had more to lose than he did, as the weaker and once-beaten enemy.


British intellectuals, like European Union idealists today, wrote books and treatises on the obsolescence of war. Conflicts were supposedly caused only by rapacious arms merchants and profiteers at home, not by anti-democratic dictators who interpreted forbearance as weakness. Winston Churchill was a voice in the wilderness — and demonized as a warmonger and worse.


Today, the 50-year Cold War is over, and Europe is at last free of burdensome military expenditure and the threat of global annihilation. Like Osama Bin Laden, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad senses a certain weariness in much of the West as it counts on perpetual peace.


He assumes that most sober Westerners will do almost anything to avoid military confrontation to stop a potential threat — even though, unlike Hitler, Ahmadinejad not only promises to liquidate the Jews but reveals his method in advance by seeking nuclear weapons.


Some naive conservatives in prewar Europe thought the German and Italian fascists would prove a valuable bulwark against communism, and so could be politically finessed. So, too, it has been at times with Islamic fascism. Arming the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia was once seen as an inspired way of thwarting Soviet communist imperialism.


At the time of the Ayatollah Khomeini's homicidal fatwa against Salman Rushdie, religious conservative commentators from Patrick Buchanan to New York's Cardinal O'Connor attacked Rushdie, rather than defended the Western right of free expression. Apparently, they felt such Islamic threats to supposed blasphemers might have positive repercussions in discouraging left-wing anti-Christian attacks as well.


In the 1930s, the doctrine of appeasement fobbed off responsibility of confronting fascism onto the League of Nations. Both France and England were quiet about the 1936 Italian invasion of Ethiopia and the German militarization of the Rhineland. They counted on multilateral action of the League, which issued plenty of edicts but marshaled few troops.


Likewise, the moral high ground today supposedly was to refer both the Iraqi and Iranian problems to the United Nations. But considering the oil-for-food scandals and Saddam's constant violations of U.N. resolutions, it is unlikely that the Iranian theocracy has much fear that the Security Council will thwart its uranium enrichment.


As fascism spread, France worked on fortifying its German border with the Maginot Line, Oxford undergraduates voted to refuse "in any circumstances to fight for King and Country," and British newspapers decried the Treaty of Versailles for unduly punishing Germany. This was all long before the "no blood for oil" slogan and Al Gore in Saudi Arabia apologizing to his Wahhabi hosts for the supposed American maltreatment of Arabs.


But deja vu pertains not just to us, but our enemies as well. Like the Nazi romance of a exalted ancient Volk, the Islamists hearken back to a mythical purity, free of decadence brought on by Western liberalism. Similarly, they feed off victimization — not just recent defeats, but centuries-old bitterness at the rise of the West. Their version of the stab-in-the-back Versailles Treaty is always the creation of Israel.


Just as Hitler concocted incidents such as the burning of the Reichstag to create outrage, Islamist leaders incite frenzy in their followers over a supposed flushed Koran at Guantanamo and several inflammatory cartoons, some of them never published by Danish newspapers at all.


Anti-Semitism, of course, is the mother's milk of fascism. It is always, they say, a small group of Jews — whether shadowy cabinet advisers and international bankers of the 1930s or the manipulative neoconservatives and Israeli leadership of the present — who alone stir up the trouble.


The point of the comparison is not to suggest that history simply repeats itself, but to learn why intelligent people delude themselves into embracing naive policies. After the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, the furious reply of the radical Islamist world was to censor Western newspapers, along with Iran's accelerated efforts to get the bomb.


In response, either the West will continue to stand up now to these reoccurring post-Sept. 11 threats, or it will see the bullies' demands only increase as its own resistance weakens. Like the appeasement of the 1930s, opting for the easier choice will only guarantee a more costly one later on. .

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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