Obama channeling Chamberlain appeasement shows a dangerous future

January 29, 2015

48 hours ago dignitaries and leaders from around the world gathered in southern Poland to remember when 70 years ago, on January 27, 1945 the Soviet Red Army liberated the Nazi concentration camp known as Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Joining the politicos, approximately 300 survivors of that horror of horrors giving living testament to the meaning behind the phrase: Never Again

Three months after the Auschwitz liberation elements of the American First Army would meet up with the Soviet Army at the river Elbe, three days after that Adolph Hitler would be dead, and on May 8th, 1945 Victory in Europe was at last achieved.

But while the world knew of the combat and civilian dead, it was only just beginning to learn the details of the network of concentration camps that by the time their gates were at last flung open and the ovens gone cold, over 11 million lives had been lost. – 6 million Jews and another 5 million whose only crime was to be caught up in Hitler’s master race delusion.

As the 70th anniversaries of the conflagration history records as World War II are coming to an end, the 75th anniversaries of its battles and milestones are just beginning.

And all have a single theme:  None of it ever had to happen.

The official start of the war may be the release of German Panzers and Stukas into Poland on September 1, 1939 but it was events years in the making that allowed the invasion in the first place.

It was not German brashness that started WWII, it was western cowardice.  Years of appeasement had made Hitler’s gamble on war a certainty.

When eleven months earlier, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain landed at Heston Aerodrome and boldly told the crowd gathered “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.” he had not a clue the price the world would soon pay for his naiveté.

Why the history lesson?

Because, as the years pass and the living from that time pass on, the lessons learned from the mistakes of that time are far too easily replaced with a recycled naiveté of our time.

Naiveté that says an American President can draw a red line one day, erase it the next and there is no consequence.

The naiveté that believes a Russian land grab in Crimea today is not taken straight from Hitler’s Sudetenland playbook of yesterday.

The absurdity of an administration that while it trades Taliban terrorists for a deserter and releases more to fulfill a campaign promise, it contorts itself into a pretzel to avoid saying the words “Islamic terrorists”.

And because, in the coming months, this country faces the very real possibility of our own Neville Chamberlain stepping off Air Force One and declaring that he has just signed a treaty with the Islamic Republic of Iran ensuring “peace for our time”.

And that piece of paper will be as effective today as Chamberlain’s scrap was then.

Only this time, the consequences won’t be Iranian tanks pouring across a border, it will be a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or New York.

Addressing a grieving nation following the Challenger disaster, President Ronal Reagan reminded us: “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

Whether the world can hang on until America’s Chamberlain leaves office is a future yet to be told.

We can only hope that by the time our future is told, history records rather than repeating one of its worst chapters, we learned from it instead.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the January 29, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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