Cal Thomas: Obama’s Munich

2013-11-26T00:00:00Z Cal Thomas: Obama’s MunichBy Cal Thomas Syndicated columnist Winona Daily News
November 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Seeking to create an analogy with the deal the United States negotiated with Iran to supposedly limit further production of its centrifuges, Secretary of State John Kerry chose to recall disarmament agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union.

A better analogy would be the 1938 Munich Pact, which gave Hitler part of Czechoslovakia in the vain hope that war could be avoided. It is worth noting that several of the nations that were signatories in Munich, namely Germany, France and Britain, are also part of the current deal with Iran.

There is another flaw in Kerry’s analysis. Deal or no deal, Iran says it will never stop enriching uranium. According to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, it is Iran’s “inalienable right” to develop nuclear technology. This does not bode well for Israel, Iran’s sworn enemy. Just days before this deeply flawed agreement was announced, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described Israel as “the rabid dog of the region.” Did Kerry and his U.S. negotiators confront this recalcitrance before signing off? I doubt it. This is not an auspicious beginning.

The New York Times reported that Hilik Bar, a member of Knesset for the Israel Labor Party, secretary general of the Labor Party and deputy speaker of the Knesset, wrote a letter to Secretary Kerry and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, urging them to “stand up against the dark, racist statements and incitement.” Of course they did nothing of the kind, because reaching an agreement was apparently more important than confronting the reality of Iran’s hatred toward Israel, especially in light of President Obama’s falling approval numbers.

In exchange for Iran’s promise to halt progress in its nuclear program, the United States agrees to unfreeze some of Iran’s foreign assets and lift a few trade sanctions. The Washington Post quotes “officials” as saying Iran’s “concessions” will “make it virtually impossible for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon without being detected.” Anyone familiar with the history of the Middle East knows that subterfuge is a skill learned early.

Did the negotiators ask the Iranians if they’ve consulted Allah about this deal? If Iranian leaders claim to be doing the will of god, why would they tell infidel Western diplomats Iran intends to disobey Allah and not build nuclear weapons to be used against a nation — Israel — that Allah seemingly wants obliterated?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly labeled the deal “a historic mistake.” It isn’t enough to halt progress on Iran’s nuclear program. It must be dismantled. Israeli officials say they will spend the next six months — the duration of the interim agreement — trying to persuade the Obama administration and Israel’s friends (the two are not always synonymous) to negotiate a deal that will roll back Iran’s progress toward building a nuclear weapon.

The Anti-Defamation League has compiled a useful list of some of the anti-Semitic statements from Iran’s leaders. They are worth reading to understand the intent and motivation of the Iranian leadership. It’s more than just language. It is also about a political goal. Last May 24, Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and leading presidential candidate said during a campaign event in Tehran: “(The goal of Iran and its allies is to) uproot capitalism, Zionism and Communism, and promote the discourse of pure Islam in the world.”

How does any nation negotiate with that?

History can be a great teacher if the “students” pay attention. Many things in the world have changed since the disastrous Munich Pact, but human nature never does. Tyrants respect agreements only so long as it allows them to further their objectives. Munich only delayed the onset of World War II; it did not prevent it.

This latest agreement will similarly delay the inevitable need to confront Iran with force and will likely be seen by history as the Obama administration’s Munich.

Cal Thomas can be reached at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Leslie Hittner
    Report Abuse
    Leslie Hittner - November 26, 2013 10:23 pm
    In the Middle east, hatred is a two-way street.

  2. easy
    Report Abuse
    easy - November 26, 2013 11:30 am
    Leslie said:
    After all, it is the nuclear weapon in Israel that Iran is fearful of.
    * * * * *

    Do you think their motivation really is fear, or is it hatred of Israel? If they get the bomb, which is almost a sure thing, and both countries have it, which would be more likely to use it?

    It's also possible that Iran's leaders are loaded with hubris, which would be another reason to desire world power status.

    It is a sure thing that Israel offends the Arab/Persian/Muslim complex just by its existence, and they want them gone.

    Apropos of nothing, I've always thought it ironic and interesting that the boundaries of Israel looks like nothing more than a dagger, and a type of dagger often seen in the Middle East, and even more ironic when you consider the dagger looks like it was plunged into the Middle East heart, from the West. Like I said, apropos of nothing. But I'd bet they see it that way.
  3. Khansky
    Report Abuse
    Khansky - November 26, 2013 10:47 am
    Cal, makes a very telling comparison, one that is noted in the WSJ today, titles "Worse the Munich":
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303281504579219931479934854

    However a better reading might start with William Shirer's Berlin Diary, or the more detailed part in "Road to Munich" in his book Rise & Fall of the Third Riech.

    It calls to mind some interesting comparisons between little Israel & the Czech's, vs larger Iran & the Riech.

    It show the longer term consequences of the vacillating UK & French PM's, outwitted by Hitler. It also made Stalin so distrustful of w. Europe, he decided it would be better to go along with Hitler for the time being.

    Somehow Chamberlain's "Peace in our time" theme has a familiar but hollow ring.
  4. Leslie Hittner
    Report Abuse
    Leslie Hittner - November 26, 2013 5:32 am
    Cal says, "Anyone familiar with the history of the Middle East knows that subterfuge is a skill learned early." The snippet of the novel cited above seems to support Cal's position. Unfortunately this sort of subterfuge does not exist only in Muslim countries, such as Iran. It exists also in Israel, and has for decades.

    After all, it is the nuclear weapon in Israel that Iran is fearful of. If Israel wants to see Iran's nuclear program taken down, then perhaps it should open the doors to its own - secret - program.

    Trust has to start somewhere - if we as a species are ever going to move beyond war.

    The author of the Kindle thriller misses much if he/she assumes Israel is a true friend to the US.

    Indeed, we have already been "reminded" (USS Liberty) in the past. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
  5. Icansee4miles
    Report Abuse
    Icansee4miles - November 26, 2013 12:26 am
    The new Amazon Kindle Thriller, The Bahrain Protocol, continues to accurately predict a future that we are living in right now; read the snippet below of a cornered-and desperate-Prime Minister.
    DAY 1 – 1:00pm
    Tel Aviv, Israel – Council of War
    One thousand four hundred kilometers away from Riyadh, deliberations were taking place in Tel Aviv, in a bunker five stores deep under the city. Around a large oval mahogany table, a group of men sat, some in military uniforms, and others in suits. The Prime Minister sat at the head of the table, and behind him was a large screen with satellite pictures of Iran nuclear sites. “Iran now has advanced centrifuges, and they have just announced reaching 20% purity for uranium.” “Gentlemen, they have enough centrifuges to reach 90% purity for the uranium in six weeks, which is all that is needed for an atomic bomb; we cannot wait any longer!” the Prime Minister emphatically stated to his colleagues. Slamming his fist on the table, the Prime Minister growled, “This American President-and the Europeans-have gone soft with the idea that the new President of Iran will negotiate their nuclear technology away; or worse, have accepted the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons, and of somehow containing them”. “We however do not have the advantage of being on the other side of an ocean thousands of kilometers away.” If we do not act, Israel will be open to annihilation within minutes, 24 hours a day.”

    “Perhaps if you had not interfered in the last American elections, we would have a stronger friend in the White House.” The Prime Minister’s eyes reddened from this slight from a coalition minister. “What is done is done!” he retorted. “We still have many American friends, and the economic and military aid still comes.” “Yes, but for how long?” asked another minister. “Even the American conservatives have warned us that there is not an endless supply of aid.” “That is precisely why we must act now,” said the Prime Minister fiercely. America has forgotten who her true friends are.” “We must remind her!”
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