Sunday, October 06, 2013
Munich on the Hudson
The article dated Oct. 5 from Sweden below (excerpts only) uses the Hitler/Chamberlain history to warn of the way Western countries today are prepared to sacrifice Israel to its enemies. The article rightly points out that Chamberlain was frantic to avoid war but in the end facilitated it. Another point that is less well known is that Chamberlain was not totally foolish in hoping that Hitler was a man of peace. In his election campaigns of the '30s Hitler repeatedly presented himself as a man of peace -- as Leftists generally do. Western leaders of today have no such excuse. The boiling hostility of the Muslim world towards Israel is there for all those with eyes to see and ears to hear
The German philosopher Hegel once remarked that great historical patterns seem to appear in human history twice, in a repeating configuration. Karl Marx added that, though great historical patterns may appear twice, they appear first as tragedy, and the second time as farce.
Historical patterns surrounding Munich seem to be casting a shadow on current Middle Eastern events. Let's refresh our memory with a quick look at Munich's original 1938 context.
Hitler's vision of world conquest began with a push to create a Greater Germany (Grossdeutsches Reich). This began with the annexation (Anschluss) of Austria on March 12, 1938, one day after the successful Nazi coup d'‚tat in Vienna. Rogers and Hammerstein built their box-office hit The Sound of Music around these events.
Hitler's next step involved the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. His preference was straight military conquest, and he gave orders that a military invasion should begin by October 1, 1938.
This caused his top generals much trepidation. They believed that an armed assault on Czechoslovakia would lead to immediate hostilities with Britain, France and possibly the Soviet Union. The generals felt that Germany was not ready for such a conflict.
At that time the German Wehrmacht had only 31 active divisions and 7 reserve divisions, while France had over 100 divisions and the Czechs had 45. On August 4 Nazi Chief of General Staff General Ludwig Beck presented a super-secret strategic analysis to Germany's top military brass, urging a cancellation of Hitler's plan.
Incredibly, Chamberlain believed that negotiations with Hitler could avoid a World War. His impression was that Hitler could turn out to be a man of peace. "In spite of the hardness and ruthlessness I thought I saw in his face, I got the impression that here was a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word."
At meetings with Hitler on September 15th (Berchtesgaden, Bavaria), 22nd (Rheinhotel Dreesen, Bad Godesberg) and 29th (the brand new Nazi building Fuehrerbau, Munich), Chamberlain was manipulated and bullied into finally abandoning England's Czechoslovak ally to the tender mercies of the Nazi juggernaut.
The representatives of Czechoslovakia were not allowed to take part in any negotiations due to Hitler's refusal to allow their participation. Up to that point the Czechs had refused to bow to any form of diplomatic surgery, preferring to trust in their small though well-trained army and in their political alliances with France and the Soviet Union.
The Munich Agreement was signed at 01:30 on September 30, 1938 by Hitler, British PM Sir Neville Chamberlain, Italian Fascist PM Benito Mussolini and French PM Edouard Daladier.
This Quartet's meeting was known as the Four-Power Conference. It sanctioned the immediate Nazi invasion and annexation of Czech Sudetenland. A few hours after having signed away Czechoslovakia,
Chamberlain took a light nap, arose and asked Hitler to sign a peace treaty between the United Kingdom and Germany. Hitler happily agreed. The German High Command's plot to stop Hitler was shelved, and Europe tumbled slowly into the abyss.
But Hitler no longer had any fear that the West would opposite his genocidal plans. His comments about Chamberlain and Daladier were telling on this point: "I did not think it possible that Czechoslovakia would be virtually served up to me on a plate by her friends."
Even more telling was Hitler's conclusion, "Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich" ("Unsere Gegner sind kleine Wuermchen. Ich sah sie in Muenchen" - www.ns-archiv.de/krieg/1939/22-08-1939.php). In March 1939 Hitler invaded and conquered the rest of Czechoslovakia.
Back in England, Chamberlain stood in front of Number 10 Downing Street, London on September 30, 1938 and proclaimed: "We regard the agreement signed last night as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again ."
On Monday October 3, 1938 PM Chamberlain addressed the House of Commons in London and declared: "It is my hope and my belief, that under the new system of guarantees, the new Czechoslovakia will find a greater security than she has ever enjoyed in the past."
"I say in the name of this House and of the people of this country that Czechoslovakia has earned our admiration and respect for her restraint, for her dignity, for her magnificent discipline in face of such a trial as few nations have ever been called upon to meet.It is my hope and my belief, that under the new system of guarantees, the new Czechoslovakia will find a greater security than she has ever enjoyed in the past."
On October 5, 1938 MP Winston Churchill spoke boldly in the House of Commons against the Munich Agreement, calling it "a total, unmitigated defeat."
"I will, therefore, begin by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing. I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which I must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat . we are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude which has befallen Great Britain and France. Do not let us blind ourselves to that...The system of alliances in Central Europe upon which France has relied for her safety has been swept away, and I can see no means by which it can be reconstituted. we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: `Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.' And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."
The majority of British public opinion at the time wanted to appease Hitler. They were prepared to abandon a democratic Czechoslovakia as the price for avoiding international conflict and destruction. The mainstream believed that protecting an ally was not worth risking a wider conflict. This is the essence of the Munich dynamic.
One of the main differences between those who supported the Munich Agreement and those who opposed it had to do with trust. Was Hitler a man of peace, a man whose word could be trusted? Was he bent on conquering Europe and establishing a totalitarian dictatorship there? Or was Hitler only interested in self-determination for his own people and in righting historic wrongs?
Would he be satisfied with the fruits of diplomacy, and then would he agree to disarm and agree to peaceful co-operation? Were his calls for destruction of the Jewish people merely politicking and meant only for `internal consumption'?
Only when the blitzkrieg against Poland began on September 1, 1939, did the unpalatable truth become unavoidably clear.
Churchill and his comrades - those once ridiculed as warmongers - were belatedly seen as prophets who had tried to mobilise a generation of soporific cowards.
On Friday October 5, 2001 Israeli PM Ariel Sharon gave an evening press conference where he said:
"We can rely only on ourselves.Today Israel suffered another murderous Palestinian terrorist attack which took a heavy toll. All of our efforts to reach a cease-fire have been torpedoed by the Palestinians. Fire did not cease, not even for one day. We are currently in the midst of a complex and difficult diplomatic campaign. I turn to the Western democracies, first and foremost the leader of the free world, the United States. Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when the enlightened democracies of Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for the sake of a temporary, convenient solution. Don't try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We will not accept this. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terror."
In a blunt response on October 6, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said: "The President believes that these remarks are unacceptable. Israel could have no better or stronger friend that the United States and no better friend that President Bush."
Why Sharon's strongly worded declaration? What were the events that shaped the immediate context of Sharon's words?
Point one - Barely a month before Sharon's statement, President George W. Bush decided to abandon traditional diplomatic positions vis-…-vis Israel due to Saudi Arabian pressure. His decision was to unilaterally push for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Point two - what weighed heavily on Sharon was the post- 9/11 White House's determination to block Israel from participating in a coalition of nations fighting terror - even though Israel had been and still is one of the main targets of jihadi Islamist attack.
Point three - was a spate of Palestinian terror attacks that occurred that very week. On Tuesday October 2 two Palestinian terrorists attacked Elei Sinai, a Jewish farming community in the Gaza Strip, killing two and wounding fifteen.
Sharon saw the writing on the wall. America was brushing off Israel as an embarrassment. It was trying to curry Arab favour by giving Israel the cold shoulder. All this would involve a sea-change in diplomatic Middle East strategies.
The majority of Western leaders in October 2001 sought appeasement with the Arab world and were prepared to turn a cold shoulder to Israel (their democratic ally) as the price for avoiding increasing Middle Eastern conflict.
This was truly a modern-day expression of the Munich Agreement dynamic.
The recent address by Hassan Rouhani (President of the Islamic Republic of Iran) at the United Nations has raised the spectre of Munich-style appeasement once again.
The representative of a radical jihadi Shi'ite Islamist dictatorship - which has publicly declared (as did Hitler) its intention to annihilate the Jewish state - greeted the world body with smiles, talked about inaugurating direct flights between Teheran and JFK, and spoke of peaceful nuclear intentions.
European leaders fell over each other with unconcealed enthusiasm, suggesting that the UN authorise continuing nuclear development in Iran "for peaceful purposes" while Western leaders insisted that they needed to "give peace a chance"; perhaps Rouhani was representing a newer, gentler Iran.
Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu also addressed the UN General Assembly a few days after Rouhani. At the conclusion of his address he emphasised a point that would have made Czechoslovakia and Ariel Sharon proud: "Ladies and gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map."
"Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself. I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others"
One day after PM Netanyahu warned the U.N. General Assembly on October 1 that Iran is only months away from having the capability to build nuclear weapons, the U.N. member states elected Iran on October 2 to serve as the rapporteur of the U.N. First Committee on Disarmament and Internal Security.
This puts Iran in charge of officially reporting on of all the committee's proceedings and actions. This committee is chaired by Libya, while Iran currently serves as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, the largest bloc of nations at the U.N.
Iran's website crows that "the UN General Assembly members .... chose Iran to prove ineffectiveness of the row stirred up by the Zionist prime minister . The recent vote.is a clear indicative of the world community trust in Iran's efforts in the course of disarmament and a practical response to the groundless allegations of the spurious Zionist regime" (ed. sic.; http://english.irib.ir/analysis/commentaries/item/118203-iran-appointed-as-r).
An appeaser, in the words of Churchill, is one who feeds the crocodile while hoping it will eat him last.
Chad Henderson Exposes The Media
Just another Leftist liar
There is no greater hatred than that born out of affection spurned and trust betrayed. Yesterday, the media loved Chad Henderson. Today, they hate him.
He, along with a handful of other individuals, were recently the subject of profiles in the press demonstrating both how navigable the exchange system is and how they are benefiting under the Affordable Care Act. It’s difficult to overstate how absurd the media coverage of Henderson’s reportedly successful effort to sign up to health care exchange has been.
Henderson’s story was particularly attractive. He was precisely what the media, and the White House, needed: a young, ostensibly healthy individual willing to pay a substantial portion of the meager income into the system so that it can support older, more chronically ill patients who will be partaking in health care services regularly.
In the media’s rush to make a star out of Henderson, they failed to vet him thoroughly. Most of the press missed the fact that Henderson is a current political activist and Organizing for America volunteer. Somewhat more egregiously, they also missed the fact that Henderson’s story was not true.
According to Henderson’s father, Bill Henderson, neither he nor his son have enrolled in any plan associated with the ACA. “As of yet, however, the pair had not picked a plan or completed enrollment,” reported Reason’s Peter Suderman. “ But he hoped they would shortly.”
Suderman goes on to note that the other details Henderson provided the press were “difficult to verify.”
"He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he got his coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the cheapest unsubsidized Bronze exchange plan at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s online Quick Quote system offers for a 21-year-old in Flintstone, Georgia is $225.09 a month.
Additionally, Chad could not have purchased a separate plan for his father from his own login to HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal exchanges. A customer assistance representative on HealthCare.gov’s LiveChat system told me that purchasing separate plans for a son and a father in Georgia would require two separate logins. Which means that Chad would have had to successfully create two different accounts, and complete enrollment twice, at a time when almost no one was able to get through on the system."
This is not say that Henderson is not still valuable to the press. On Thursday, his story provided Mediaite readers with entertainment after reading the comically absurd deluge of press interest he was exposed to for simply being able to complete the reportedly three hour process of signing up for a health care exchange. On Friday, Henderson provided the nation with another service: exposing the media’s interest in painting the ACA in a positive light regardless of the facts.
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Posted by JR at 1:38 AM