"Like Newt Gingrich and the Conservative Revolution of the early 1990's that blamed liberalism for the Columbine Massacre, President George W. Bush and the Neo-Conservatives are now trying to smear and destroy the idea of appeasement-the policy of giving concessions in exchange for peace. By linking appeasement with an isolated event before World War II and claiming it caused the Jewish Holocaust, President Bush has discredited himself and not "the real comfort of appeasement." Throughout history it has been appeasement that has prevented thousands of conflicts, averted nuclear wars (Korea, Vietnam, The Cuban Missile Crisis), and established a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt at Camp David.
Several days ago President Bush spoke before the Israeli Knesset and said, (in relation to diplomatic talks with Iran, Hamas, Syria, and Hezbollah), "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is - the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
President Bush was specifically referring to Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's 1938 visit to Munich when Adolf Hitler threatened to regain the Sudetenland. In order to preserve peace, Chamberlain gave-in to Hitler's demands. Chamberlain's policy of appeasement prevented war until one year later when German troops invaded Poland. Hitler's vision for a hegemonic and unified German-speaking people, along with a powerful and dominant military, however, started much earlier. It began at the end of World War I and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles when Germany was severely punished, forced to pay war reparations, and portions of its territory were seized.
As a result, Germany experienced political instability and a smoldering vengeance towards the Allies. Hitler's fascism-an aggressive, patriotic and militant nationalism, resonated with most Germans and right-wing political groups. With their anti-communist rhetoric, goals of rearming Germany, and threats in overturning the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler and the Nazis eventually rose to power. In 1936 with support from conservatives, Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland with German troops. He then announced his Anschluss (unity) plan annexing Austria and later the Sudetenland, both former German territories. When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and seized the Baltic Port of Danzig, also once a part of Germany, Britain and France declared war.
It was not appeasement but fascism, masquerading as liberty and self-determination for all German-speaking peoples in the Rhineland, Austria, Sudetenland, and Poland, that caused World War II and the Holocaust. Hitler also wanted "to make Germany secure and preserve the racial community and enlarge it" which was "conditional upon the need for space" and resources, as stated in the 1937 Hossbach Memorandum when he met with his military staff. One could also argue that because of appeasement, Britain bought more time to institute a draft and speed up its rearmament programs preventing Hitler's goal of invasion and conquest. Furthermore, was it not a lack of appeasement, when the Allies forced the Versailles Treaty on Germany and the Ottoman Empire, that started World War II and many of the present day conflicts in the Middle East?
Finally, remember when President Bush rejected Hans Blix's appeasement to forgo a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to continue its inspections (there had been over 700 with no cases of weapons of mass destruction); and when he denounced Saddam Hussein's appeasing overtures weeks before the bombing of Iraq; and when he degraded President Ahmadinejad's appeasing letter to the United States. President Bush has yet to understand that fascist and hegemonic ways of thinking are the real enemies, along with the belief that the United States can conquer and Americanize the Middle East with its powerful military and corporate security forces.
If President Bush's message was supposed to be a trial balloon, it has instead turned into a bombshell. Until he sees the real enemy as poverty, humiliation, unemployment, illegal military occupations, and the refugee crises from past and present wrongs, the Middle East will continue to experience turmoil and wars. Yet, history has proven and will show that appeasement and the establishment of diplomatic relations, instead of fascism and aggression, will bring justice and peace to the Middle East. If you do not believe me, just ask former President Jimmy Carter, Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin."
firstname.lastname@example.org(Dallas Darling currently teaches U.S. and World History and writes for World News. He was a pastor in rural America for ten years and worked in a Guatemala Refugee Camp, the barrios of Panama, and in Mexico. Dallas was active in the Central American Peace Movement and currently works with Pastors For Peace in delivering humanitarian aid to foreign countries. He has a Masters in Pastoral Theology and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion. Dallas is a regular contributor to www.worldnews.com. You can also read more of his articles at www.beverlydarling.com.)