Sellout to Iran at Geneva worse than sellout to Hitler at Munich

Thomas Lifson
It was startling enough to hear a comparison of the Geneva accord with Iran to the Munich accord with Hitler, widely blamed for paving the way for WW II. But there is a good argument to be made that Geneva was actually worse.  Mark Steyn in NRO:

In Geneva, the participants came to the talks with different goals: The Americans and Europeans wanted an agreement; the Iranians wanted nukes. Each party got what it came for. Before the deal, the mullahs' existing facilities were said to be within four to seven weeks of nuclear "breakout"; under the new constraints, they'll be eight to nine weeks from breakout. (snip)

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It's easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet's military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months' worth of hard currency - and they gave it everything it wanted.      

I would add two further points. First, the Munich Agreement's language is brutal and unsparing, all "shall"s and "will"s: Paragraph 1) "The evacuation will begin on 1 October"; Paragraph 4) "The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order." By contrast, the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, plus Germany) "Joint Plan of Action" barely reads like an international agreement at all. It's all conditional, a forest of "would"s: "There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step . . . " In the postmodern phase of Western resolve, it's an agreement to reach an agreement - supposedly within six months. But one gets the strong impression that, when that six-month deadline comes and goes, the temporary agreement will trundle along semi-permanently to the satisfaction of all parties.

Secondly, there are subtler concessions. Explaining that their "singular object" was to "ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon," John Kerry said that "Foreign Minister Zarif emphasized that they don't intend to do this, and the Supreme Leader has indicated there is a fatwa which forbids them to do this." "The Supreme Leader" is not Barack Obama but Ayatollah Khamenei. Why is America's secretary of state dignifying Khamenei as "the Supreme Leader"? In his own famous remarks upon his return from Munich, Neville Chamberlain referred only to "Herr Hitler." "Der Führer" means, in effect, "the Supreme Leader," but, unlike Kerry (and Obama), Chamberlain understood that it would be unseemly for the representative of a free people to confer respectability on such a designation. As for the Führer de nos jours, Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel a "rabid dog" and dismissed "the leaders of the Zionist regime, who look like beasts and cannot be called human." If "the Supreme Leader"'s words are to be taken at face value when it comes to these supposed constraints preventing Iran from going nuclear, why not also when he calls Jews sub-human?

George Santayana's famous dictum, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it," is chillingly apt now. Hitler's madness was far less evident in 1938 than the Ayatollah's madness today.

 

It was startling enough to hear a comparison of the Geneva accord with Iran to the Munich accord with Hitler, widely blamed for paving the way for WW II. But there is a good argument to be made that Geneva was actually worse.  Mark Steyn in NRO:

In Geneva, the participants came to the talks with different goals: The Americans and Europeans wanted an agreement; the Iranians wanted nukes. Each party got what it came for. Before the deal, the mullahs' existing facilities were said to be within four to seven weeks of nuclear "breakout"; under the new constraints, they'll be eight to nine weeks from breakout. (snip)

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It's easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet's military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months' worth of hard currency - and they gave it everything it wanted.      

I would add two further points. First, the Munich Agreement's language is brutal and unsparing, all "shall"s and "will"s: Paragraph 1) "The evacuation will begin on 1 October"; Paragraph 4) "The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order." By contrast, the P5+1 (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, plus Germany) "Joint Plan of Action" barely reads like an international agreement at all. It's all conditional, a forest of "would"s: "There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step . . . " In the postmodern phase of Western resolve, it's an agreement to reach an agreement - supposedly within six months. But one gets the strong impression that, when that six-month deadline comes and goes, the temporary agreement will trundle along semi-permanently to the satisfaction of all parties.

Secondly, there are subtler concessions. Explaining that their "singular object" was to "ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon," John Kerry said that "Foreign Minister Zarif emphasized that they don't intend to do this, and the Supreme Leader has indicated there is a fatwa which forbids them to do this." "The Supreme Leader" is not Barack Obama but Ayatollah Khamenei. Why is America's secretary of state dignifying Khamenei as "the Supreme Leader"? In his own famous remarks upon his return from Munich, Neville Chamberlain referred only to "Herr Hitler." "Der Führer" means, in effect, "the Supreme Leader," but, unlike Kerry (and Obama), Chamberlain understood that it would be unseemly for the representative of a free people to confer respectability on such a designation. As for the Führer de nos jours, Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel a "rabid dog" and dismissed "the leaders of the Zionist regime, who look like beasts and cannot be called human." If "the Supreme Leader"'s words are to be taken at face value when it comes to these supposed constraints preventing Iran from going nuclear, why not also when he calls Jews sub-human?

George Santayana's famous dictum, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it," is chillingly apt now. Hitler's madness was far less evident in 1938 than the Ayatollah's madness today.