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Ed Driscoll

Neville Again: With This, I Give You Deja Vu In Our Time

September 3rd, 2013 - 6:04 pm

We’re “On the Verge of Appeasement in Syria,” JournoList member Michael Hirsh writes in the National Journal, adding that “Obama’s ‘war weariness’ smacks of the 1930s. Are the lessons the same?”

World War II began 74 years ago Sunday when German troops invaded Poland. The invasion conclusively discredited the concept of “appeasement” as a foreign policy for, well, the next 74 years. But if the U.S. Congress opposes authorization of the military mission to Syria that President Obama has now handed off to it, and if Obama uses that as an excuse to back further away from enforcement of his “red line,” the “A” word will likely come to dominate the international debate once again.

And Barack Obama, who in his first term was known as the vanquisher of Osama bin Laden, could come out of his second looking more like Neville Chamberlain.

I don’t want to overstate things. Bashar al-Assad, a tinpot dictator who is fighting only for his own survival, is no Hitler. He’s not set to overrun an entire continent. And the “lessons of Munich” and the dangers of appeasement are generally overdrawn. But, after all, it was Secretary of State John Kerry who lumped Assad with the Fuehrer on the talk shows Sunday, saying that he “now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein [who] have used these weapons in time of war.” (Technically, Hitler’s only use of gas was not on the battlefield but to kill millions in extermination camps.)

These are also the clear implications of the president’s own words.

Not to mention it was the clear implication of the words that departing speechwriter Jon Favreau crafted for Obama’s second inauguration address this past January. As Joel Pollack wrote back then at Big Peace:

It was either an embarrassing slip, or a frightening revelation of the president’s true worldview. Either way, the words “peace in our time,” made infamous by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he promised an illusory peace with Adolf Hitler in 1938, should never have been in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. Yet they were, and went virtually unnoticed until caught by conservatives on social media.

The phrase appeared in a passage on foreign policy, in which the president pledged to defend the nation while resolving differences peacefully [emphasis added]:

And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice–not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

That’s Favreau on the left, appropriately enough:

The environment that he and Mr. Obama were steeped in before assuming power was remarkably similar to the intellectual culture that enabled Chamberlain’s appeasement in 1938. No one should be surprised that it’s producing similar results today.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Our policy objective in Syria, considering the nature of the opponents should be simple: Don't let it stop for lack of ammo on either side.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Hitler has fought against a religious extremist revolution after many years of hard rule over his country, then yes you could make this comparison stick. Assad is a brutal goon, but he's not Hitler by a long shot. Hitler had the backing of most his people. Assad is stuggling to maintain control over Syria.

You could make a better case for Sadam Hussein since he at least invaded and threatened his neighboring countries.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Favreau photo was taken long before the Missouri clown outrage! How far we have come! Today that photo of the Secretary of State might be considered misogynistic!
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Assad is Hitler analogy is horrible, in fact its the reverse of true. The Alawites and other religious minorities fear genocide and destruction of their culture at the hand of the US-supported al-Qaeda and other Islamist forces. As Kathy Shaidle says, the Islamists aren't the new Jews, they are the new Nazis (and now America has their back).
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The analogy is flawed. We knew who the bad guys were in 1939, and knew the opposite side was that of peace and freedom.

In Syria it's a bunch of mad dog terrorists fighting an insane dictator. Sell popcorn.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
No doubt Obama’s smack is the 1930s, but he struck me as show trials kinda guy, not Chamberlain.

Obama isn’t war-weary. Neither are the people of the United States: our enemies domestic are war-weary (and always are, be it the 1930s, 1960s, 1990s…), and friends domestic see no reason to intervene in an internal matter to Islam.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Obama is more like William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) rather than Neville Chamberlain.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know enough about Nevilles time to comment but the idea that Obama is incompetent MUST be discarded and replaced by the much more deadly realization that he intends this chaos.

“Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos, I’m an agent of chaos , and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”

I realize this is a radical thought but at this point there can be no other conclusion.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The environment that he and Mr. Obama were steeped in before assuming power was remarkably similar to the intellectual culture that enabled Chamberlain’s appeasement in 1938. No one should be surprised that it’s producing similar results today."

I see Obama as more of an LBJ, or Bush II.2, than Chamberlain.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I don’t want to overstate things. Bashar al-Assad, a tinpot dictator who is fighting only for his own survival, is no Hitler."

This Michael Hirsh says he doesn't want to overstate things but does it anyway and in the extreme. Is he allowed to run around loose?

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
He isn't Hitler. Hell, for that matter the eye doc wouldn't make it as a cook in Hitler's army.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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