The high cost of papered peace

August 13, 2017

On September 30, 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain would stand outside the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, declaring that he had “returned from Germany bringing peace with honour.” and uttered perhaps the most famous wrong words of the 20th century “I believe it is peace for our time.”

The price of Chamberlain’s “peace” was to appease Nazi Germany in exchange for Adolf Hitler’s signature promising to be a good little boy from then on.

In reality, Chamberlain’s “peace” had only given Hitler the precious last months he needed and on September 1st, 1939 German tanks crossed the Polish frontier, Stuka dive bombers screamed from the sky, and the most hellish conflict in the history of mankind was unleashed upon this Earth.

This past week marked the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet even after that complete devastation, on this date August 13th, in 1945, a full week after Hiroshima, the Japanese had yet to surrender. A stark reminder of just how dangerous fanaticism in any country of any religion can be.

By the time Germany and Japan were finally brought to their knees, the world population was 56 million less than Chamberlain’s paper peace had promised.

Ironically, it would also be the only man in history to authorize the use of atomic weapons in war, President Harry Truman who would then watch as the very democratic ideals that World War II was fought to protect, were crushed under the communism of Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-tung.

And even though President Truman had at his disposal the greatest firepower of the day it was not until the election of former Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower as President and his public hinting that the United States might use its overpowering nuclear might to end the diplomatic gridlock that the current armistice was signed July 27, 1953.

But as history so clearly tells, evil if not defeated at the time can be contained for only a limited time.

And so it came that on October 18, 1994 another world leader, this time an American President, one William Jefferson Clinton, went before his public, with another piece of paper and assured that public: “”This agreement will help achieve a longstanding and vital American objective — an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula,”

By October, 2006 North Korea had “the bomb” and took full advantage of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer botching the Iraq war that had left the Bush administration neutered for the rest of its term.

In 2008 America turned to an orator extraordinaire and placed its future in his promise of “hope and change”.  Unfortunately America foreign policy for the next eight years was just that: “hope” that our enemies would “change”.  Left in its wake, the global chaos and turmoil we live today.

And on that same Korean peninsula that saw freedom fight to a draw 64 years ago this summer, the most unhinged of the Kim dynasty with the most advanced weaponry of a Kim dynasty is closer to being able to hit the United States territory with nuclear warheads than any sane person should even think about tolerating.

In his American Crisis works of 1776 – 1778, Thomas Paine put it clearly: “Well give me peace in my day… If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my children may have peace.”

Only a fool seeks war, but only a bigger fool puts off the threat of the day in the “hope” that it will just go away.

Because as history clearly shows, whatever may come from stopping Kim Jon Ung now, is guaranteed to be far less damaging and far less murderous than what will befall our children if we here today once again wait until it’s too late.

Love or hate President Trump, this crisis of past appeasements is not of his making, nor his want.  This is not a time to bash and hate, this is a time to stay strong and stand firm.

The worst possible choice we could make today is to once again put North Korea off to our children’s tomorrow.

A tomorrow that would leave them at the mercy of an evil, paranoid, mad man whose goal in life is starving his own country and attacking ours.

That’s not America, that’s appeasement, and appeasement never wins.

PUBLISHER NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the August 13, 2017 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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