Part of what is so exasperating about this spectacle of stupidity is the sense of (as the philosopher Yogi Berra put) “déjà vu all over again.” Haven’t we played this hand before? And didn’t it turn out rather badly? I think, for example, of this passage from Michael Burleigh’s: Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II.
On the basis of these talks, Chamberlain reported to the cabinet that Hitler’s aims were “strictly limited.” There was more, for apparently Hitler was no longer a lunatic but someone whose opinion was to be valued. . . . Hitler had let it be known that he had like Chamberlain, whose own account of the Führer’s flattery was revealing: “I have had a conversation with a man, [Hitler] said, and one with whom I can do business and he liked the rapidity with which I grasped the essentials. In short, I had established a certain confidence, which was my aim, and 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.”
Depressing, isn’t it?