politics, history and the war on terror
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Appeasement Yesterday  

History: the 1930's
Prior to the German invasion of Poland, the official start of World War II, England and France had numerous opportunities to stop Nazi aggression in Europe. Germany was bound by the Treaty of Versailles, which it signed after its defeat in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles required Germany remove its military from the Rhineland, maintain an army of less than 100,000 men, restricted the size of the Wehrmacht officer corps, limited the size of the German navy and pay reparations to the Allies. It also created the League of Nations, the precursor of the UN. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Germany began to ignore its treaty obligations and increased the size of its armed forces. The League of Nations response was silence. Hitler sensed that the French & British had no appetite for confrontation, and he proceeded to reoccupy the Rhineland in 1936. The French and British militaries were far superior to the German military, yet no action was taken to stop them. Hitler proceeded with the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland (a region of Czechoslovakia) in 1938. The following year, the rump state of Czechoslovakia was seized in March 1939. Neville Chamberland, the British Prime Minister, declared "peace in our time" after he received assurances from Hitler that his thirst for territory had been quenched.

Poland was invaded by Germany & the USSR (after signing a secret pact) in September 1939. "Peace in our time" equaled six months. "Appeasement in our time" would have been more appropriate.

The Near Present: 1993 to 2001
Al Qaeda began a concerted effort to attack US interests in the early 1990's. Our response as a nation was one of law enforcement over serious military action. Here is a brief timeline of attacks on US interests:

1993 Somalia
The response: withdraw
1993 WTC first attack
The response: try the terrorist like common criminals
1996 Khobar Towers bombing kills 19 US Airmen
The response: none
1998 Declaration of war by al Qaeda
The response: none
1998 US embassies bombings in Kenya & Tanzania
The response: lob cruise missiles at empty training camps in Afghanistan and bomb a suspected
WMD factory in Sudan.
2000 USS Cole
The response: none

Like Hitler, al Qaeda's leadership of bin Laden & al-Zawahiri understood the language of appeasement. Each lack of a serious response led to bolder action, which culminated in the horrific attacks on Washington & New York. Some will argue that the law enforcement option was a legitimate response to terrorism. But in reality, it was the easy way out, a way to turn our backs on the threat we could see but chose not to address.

Next: Appeasement Today: You too can be intimidated by Islamic Terrorists! Spain, Europe and fascism, together again.

Posted by bill roggio @ 3:11 AM