The Ghost of Chamberlain

Of course the proximate issue is whether the prospective deal with Iran is 'another Munich'.

Now I'll leave aside some minor contemporary details like the fact that as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran is perfectly within its rights to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes in any way they see fit, and that Ayatollah Khameini "has also issued a fatwa saying the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons is forbidden under Islam.", and that Pakistan (Sunni) is a non-participant that openly has nuclear weapons and Israel (another non-participant) almost certainly has them but will not admit it, or that Saudi Arabia (participant) has stated that they will purchase them if they deem it desirable.

Let us think instead about Munich.

The logic (in so far as it can be called logic and not simply Islamophobic bigotry or resentment that a popular revolt replaced a US puppet regime of despots and torturers) of those who cry 'appeasement' is that it was clear by 1938 that Hitler was a monster who could only be stopped by War.

Well, duh.

That was clear from March 1936 when the Rhineland was re-militarized.

The two Western Allies, Britain and France, immediately launched crash re-armament programs that were none too popular with the war weary taxpayers. The recently consolidated Soviet Union was understandably deeply suspicious of them since they had just spent the last 10 years trying to roll back the Revolution and restore the Romanovs (or some other non-Communist regime). In any event its military was in no shape for offensive action against Germany and while it did start a re-armament program (partly for its economic effects) it was made even less effective by Stalin's paranoia and purges.

I would ask, what makes you think that military action by France and Britain in 1938 supporting an isolated 'Ally' a thousand miles away would have been any more effective than when it was actually attempted in 1939 in 'defense' of Poland?

May I remind you the result of that was the fall of all of Western Europe with the exception of Britain who barely survived?

Now it is true that several members of the German General Staff thought annexation of the Sudetenland was too ambitious and would result in defeat, but there was opposition in that quarter throughout the War to many of Hitler's more aggressive plans including the Invasion of France.

There is a body of evidence, not conclusive to be sure but not easily dismissed, that Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier understood the weakness of their militaries and the strategic difficulties of operating so far from their lines of supply. In any event they didn't (contrary to popular belief) simply throw Czechoslovakia under the bus. They got a commitment from Hitler to respect the border of the Czech and Slovak majority areas.

The fact that Hitler ignored it makes it seem worse in 20\/20 hindsight, however I once again ask- how could they have achieved better results in 1938 than they ultimately got in 1939?

So what is the position we are in today?

Even the most optimistic war hawks concede that should they decide to do so, conventional military action (and I'm talking full on ground assault and pounding their cities to dust) will prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear capability for at best 5 to 10 years after we end our occupation (Iran is roughly 4 times the size and twice the population of California and, if we sent every single member everywhere of our Armed Forces and Reserves including Generals, would only outnumber us 35 to 1).

But the truth is much, much worse than that. They will kick our ass.

The latest Russian and Chinese anti-ship missiles are no joke and Carriers are big targets that have no business in a confined space like the Straights of Hormuz. The Straights are literally carpeted in mines and our Mine Sweeping capability is a joke because no one good wants to Captain a Minesweeper and no Admiral wants to budget for it. While it might not have the commodity shock it once did it will only take a single hit to close the Straights to commercial traffic.

Should we somehow struggle ashore, how long could we stay? Hard to say, we're still in Iraq after all but then again Iraq is almost exactly the size and population density of California.

Nuke 'em from orbit? Admirable sentiments Ripley and effective against aliens on a planet far, far away. In the real world nuclear attacks of the level necessary to achieve "victory" would be globally environmentally damaging and probably not something the Russians and Chinese would let pass without some kind of response. I suspect that even Europe might be a tad upset and if you think the future of US Hegemony is to be found in an alliance with Sunni Muslims led by Saudi Arabia and Israel I might advise you to seek professional help for your delusions.

Creating your own reality is a symptom of severe mental illness you know.

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C'mon. It's always me. That's why I can't sock.

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NCTim's picture

The logic that draws the conclusion that war is preferable to a negotiated peace fails. Our political process has lost its way and fails to understand that any deal must benefit both sides. Whether it is Iran or corporations versus people.

The concept of intimidating other countries and asserting our will is false bravado from individuals who could use a good ass kicking (I'm looking at you Lindsey).

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

Didn't realize this

1. The founder of Reuters purchased Iran in 1872

circa 1865: German journalist and founder of the first news agency Paul Julius Reuter (1816 - 1899). (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)
Paul Julius Reuter (Getty)
Nasir al-Din Shah, Shah of Iran from 1848-1896, sold Baron Julius de Reuter the right to operate all of Iran’s railroads and canals, most of the mines, all of the government’s forests, and all future industries. The famous British statesman Lord Curzon called it “the most complete and extraordinary surrender of the entire industrial resources of a kingdom into foreign hands that has probably ever been dreamed of.” Iranians were so infuriated that the Shah had to rescind the sale the next year.

The political dialogue in the USA is totally sick and uninformed.

I don't know enough about the Munich issues you describe, but the absurdly of making Iran the devil is in support of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other failed policies in the Middle East.

The quotation above is from an article in The Intercept which has done a lot of excellent journalism recently.


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mimi's picture

against its neighbors since the 1950ies? I just read the Wiki entry for Iran's military history and just gave up after a couple of paragraphs. . Amazing what the US sold to Iran in weaponry, but even more ironic seems to me what they got from Israel. Ironically it says under the time period of the Pahlavi Era (1925 to 1979):

When the Carter administration turned down Iran's request for nuclear capable missiles, they turned to the Israelis. They were working on the Project Flower ballistic missiles with Israel, and had already begun purchasing 1 billion worth of Iraeli light arms as well as expressing interest in an upgraded Mirage V, the IAI Kfir and the Gabriel (missile). Other orders included radars, and electromagnetic warfare technology.

But then those revolutions of the evil muslims over there made it all worthwhile, right? I don't get it. I am sure I am a member of the 95% who have no clue and don't get it either.

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mimi's picture

... I guess severe mental illness is contagious these days and the epidemic of insanity will make any sort of strategic plans a thing of the past. May be we all will be happy to die. I feel for all those who have no historical knowledge to draw conclusions from and really don't care and just want to live a normal life without wars. I guess I need to read another book and I am sure I won't do it. Sigh.

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Roger Fox's picture

bought time for Britain. They had 2 poorly equipped army divisions that could have been sent to the continent in 1938. Britain had started rebuilding its navy in 1936, by 1938 those ships were not finished. The first production Spitfire flew in Aug 1938.

The Munich Pact was signed Sept 1938.

This author explains it quite well

From Slate:
Today the prime minister is generally portrayed as a foolish man who was wrong to try to "appease" Hitler—a cautionary tale for any leader silly enough to prefer negotiation to confrontation.

But among historians, that view changed in the late 1950s, when the British government began making Chamberlain-era records available to researchers. "The result of this was the discovery of all sorts of factors that narrowed the options of the British government in general and narrowed the options of Neville Chamberlain in particular," explains David Dutton, a British historian who wrote a recent biography of the prime minister. "The evidence was so overwhelming," he says, that many historians came to believe that Chamberlain "couldn't do anything other than what he did" at Munich.

By the summer of 1940 Britain had enough Spitfires and radar installations to go toe to toe with the Luftwaffe and come out on top. And Britain has Chamberlin to thank for that.

Today the US military has enough "stuff" to turn Iran into a parking lot. IMHO the comparisons fall flat on their asses.

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FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

the get the fuck out of the whole region camp.

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gulfgal98's picture

None of this would make any sense to the average American who is informed about what is really happening. The only sense it makes is in empire building for the corporate MIC/SIC. And then what? Millions of innocent people have been killed and will be killed for no reason while we continue to make the remaining people hate us even more and terrorism grows. It is a self perpetuating cycle that is being done on purpose.

A big part of my participation in our tiny Peace vigil is to try to educate people on why these wars are so bad. I have to explain in practical terms as trying to sell it on the grounds of morality does not work. However, the moral reason is my personal reason, but there are so many other practical reasons that should anger every American that this is happening under our names and with our money while we literally let people here in the US go hungry and die from lack of good shelter and medical care.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Big Al's picture

trust Obama and those in control of our government. They've never given us any reason to do otherwise. They go to war
when they feel it's best for the citizens of this country so if another war happens, we can rest assured that it's for our
own good.

(Had to get that out of my system)

We can analyze the separate geopolitical tactics and maneuvers, like in Yemen and Iran and Ukraine and Venezuela,
but in the end it's all one thing, imperialism for power and greed. The use of military weapons and war to advance
geopolitical goals has to be stopped by the people of the world.

We can safely assume that those in charge are fucking nuts.

Hi Ek.

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That's why every negotiation is Munich.
The START missle talks with the Soviet Union was Munich. Negotiations with Red China was Munich. And now talks with Iran is Munich.
Chamberlain = Hitler = Godwin

And as you point out above, if war was the only way to stop Hitler then we went there anyway. It doesn't matter if it was the Sudetenland or Poland. The allies of Western Europe were not more ready for war in 1938 than they were in 1939. And the United States certainly wasn't ready for war in 1938.

Bringing up the Ghost of Chamberlain is a pointless strawman that defies logic and facts, but they keep bringing it out anyway.

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Great to see you. DailyKos isn't the same without you.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

smiley7's picture

the morning crew.

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joe shikspack's picture

good to see you.

oh why, oh why can't every war be as satisfying as the big one, ww2, when men were men and everybody else was a neville chamberlain?

70 years of deeply dissatisfying wars later, we still have to listen to the old men who send young men off to their deaths wax rhapsodic about ww2.

makes one want to spit.

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shaharazade's picture

nice to read you here. Be back later to vent in this excellent hole. Maybe our asses need a good kicking, but the carnage and death involved is way too high a price. Interesting companion piece to the open threads Doug Coe and The Family subject matter. Killery thinks it's inevitable as she has been chosen by god to rule the world. See you later

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I am far from dead, despite what the butchers say, nor have I been hiding. As you know DocuDharma and The Stars Hollow Gazette keeps me fully occupied and all y'all are are of course invited to visit (or contribute, hint, hint).

I like you guys and am happy you've found this raft because the great orange titanic is sinking (and my information is not limited to a careful reading of jotter). Soon enough we will have to deal with the implications of that.

I'm happy to help where I can and I have two more recommendations for sites that may be of interest. One is Corrente (I've met Lambert and he's a nice guy, but it's a single hander and he has a job so persistence pays) and Voices on the Square (which BruceMcF has made seem a lot more threatening than it really is because they've had some spammers).

I can only hope that we'll all keep our heads above water and stay in touch during the coming maelstrom. My Magic 8 Ball says "Concentrate and ask again" no matter how many times I shake it.

I think it's broken.

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thanks for posting here and please do again and ask MomCat to stop by. Thanks for the inside info, it may get interesting indeed.

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lotlizard's picture

"[M]y name as you know comes from a Hebrew word. It comes from the word shomer, which means guardian. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov and I believe Hashem, actually [G~d], gave me name as one of my roles that is very important in the United States Senate to be a shomer for Israel and I will continue to be that with every bone in my body."

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