The West is Facing Another Munich Moment
On March 5, 1946 in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill delivered one of his most famous and memorable speeches. While often entitled the “Iron Curtain Speech,”, for his classic description of the Soviet Union’s occupation of Eastern Europe, he also said the following about World War II:
“There never was a war in all history easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated great areas of the globe.”
Between 1935 and 1939 there were numerous occasions when the democracies of Europe by forcefully confronting Hitler could have thwarted his megalomaniacal ambitions and prevented a global conflagration. Instead, the political and intellectual elites of Europe, naively convinced of their unique powers of persuasion and sincerity, believed they could “deal with Hitler.”
In their last chance to stop the Nazis, they negotiated an agreement with Hitler giving him virtual carte blanche to invade and occupy a chunk of Czechoslovakia, convinced that he had no other territorial ambitions. Neville Chamberlain foolishly declared this “Munich Agreement” “Peace in our time.”
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waves a copy of the agreement with Hitler as he addresses the British people following his reuturn from Munich
Fortified with the perceived reality that he would not be financially or militarily constrained, Hitler, within a year invaded Poland. The hubris and naiveté of the European leaders eventuated in a devastated continent and the deaths of over 40 million men, women and children and the displacement of nearly 65 million in Europe alone.
The world is yet again staring at the near inevitability of another global conflagration. The flashpoint is in the Middle East and the Hitler of our time: the Mullahs of Iran. The West, led by Barck Obama and Joe Biden, have chosen to follow in the footsteps of the self-absorbed European leaders of the 1930’s in dealing with Iran and their terrorist legions of Hamas, Hezb’allah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Ansar Allah (Houthis) among others.
The Obama/Biden policy in dealing with Iran has been to facilitate Iran in becoming a dominant player in the region in the naïve belief that if the West, and in particular the United States, treats the Mullahs of Iran as equals, they will evolve into non-belligerent leaders who can be trusted. Even if that means the acquisition of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles and sacrificing America’s only resolute ally in the region, Israel.
In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic, claimed that the Iranian revolution was just the start of the revolution within the world of Islam. He set in motion Iran’s underlying long-term goal: to inspire an Islamist revival, to evict the infidels and to impose a unified Islamic government on the Muslim world.
Despite four decades of a crippled economy and numerous domestic uprisings, the Iranian regime has and continues to divert untold billions of dollars into military procurement and support of their Islamist proxies. Terrorist groups who not only target the West and Israel, but foment revolutionary conflicts in other Muslim nations.
These intractable conflicts have changed the face of countries such as Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, who are now under de facto Iranian control. Nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan are increasingly under the influence of the Iranian Mullahs, and Saudi Arabia and Jordon are being targeted for instability by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Unless stopped in its tracks, Iranian hegemony over the Middle East is no longer matter of if but when.
American and Western foreign policy has consistently refused to understand the power of the ideology spawned by the Iranian Revolution. The Iranian worldview promotes repressive governance along religious lines combined with uncontrolled hostility to Israel and the West, as well as a deep-seated determination to unite, by force if necessary, the two major sects of Islam. It has been the driving force of instability and violence in the region for decades.
Western policy makers, with the exception of Donald Trump, have steadfastly underestimated the extent of Iran’s commitment to their revolutionary ideology. The West’s repeated overtures to Iran and unfathomable economic as well as financial cooperation and support has only increased their antipathy toward the West, in particular the United States and Israel -- the only nation in the region founded on Western values.
Thanks to the appeasement policies of Obama, Biden and much of the West, Iran today is stronger and more belligerent than ever. Iran can build a nuclear weapon within a matter of a few months and has sufficient fissionable material to build several more. Additionally, Iran is feverishly working on constructing intercontinental ballistic missiles that have the range to hit Europe or the United States. Iran could have them within a matter of months as it has recently launched its third military satellite into orbit.
The greenlighting of Hamas’s brutality in their invasion of Israel, a fully militarized Hezb’allah controlling Lebanon and threatening Israel, increasing involvement in Syria, and overt manipulation of the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia, is indicative of Iran’s confidence that they can be increasingly aggressive, and the West, in particular the United States under Biden, will do little or nothing to stop their determination to control the Middle East.
This mindset also encompasses the strategy that through terrorism and societal upheaval precipitated by massive Islamic immigration they, as the leader of this new caliphate, can undermine and eventually conquer the Western world.
Thus. the West is again at another Munich moment. Will they continue to turn a blind eye towards Iran’s intractable belligerency and persist in constraining Israel in the myopic hope that doing so would bring about “peace in our time”? If this is the course of action, then there will be a regional war that could quickly spiral out of control as Iran’s revolutionary religious fervor does not rule out the use of nuclear weapons; thus, an inevitable global conflagration.
Iran as presently constituted cannot be bargained with. The only possibility of avoiding the above scenario is for the West to: 1) unleash and abet Israel in destroying Hamas and Hezb’allah; 2) negotiate separate mutual defense pacts with Israel and Saudi Arabia; 3) reinstate, enforce and expand the Trump sanctions against Iran; 4) isolate the Mullahs; 5) actively support and promote regime change in Iran; and 6) destroy their nuclear program if they do not abandon it.
The Western world is at a crossroad. Will it once again hear the anguished voices of millions dead and displaced asking their self-serving leaders: why did you not prevent world war when you had the chance? Or will the West heed the lessons of World War II in dealing with an intractable and borderline deranged enemy in a world awash with nuclear weapons?